Legislation incorporating some of Gov. Chris Christie’s plans to combat opioid addiction will receive a final vote on Wednesday, bringing it one step closer to enactment. The Governor has also signed legislation making it easier for businesses and universities to form partnerships for research and development.
Here is a roundup of action on legislation NJBIA is following.
Expansion of Drug Treatment Coverage, A3/S-3
Assembly vote scheduled for Feb. 15
Legislation that would expand insurance coverage for opioid drug addiction is scheduled for an Assembly vote during a rare Wednesday session on Feb. 15. The session will make up for the one cancelled last Thursday because of the storm.
If approved, the bill would extend the length of in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation programs that insurance must pay for.
Clearly, drug addiction is a major problem in New Jersey, but so is the cost of health insurance. NJBIA has raised concerns about the cost of the expanded coverage, particularly the impact it will have on premiums and the ability of business owners to provide health benefits to their employees. To better understand the overall cost impact of the bill, NJBIA had requested that it be reviewed by the legislative budget committees.
Commission on Higher Education and Business Partnerships, A-1668
Signed by Gov. Chris Christie Feb. 10
NJBIA position: support
The commission will foster greater cooperation between business and academia through a new Commission on Higher Education and Business Partnerships. It will report annually on ways to stimulate academic-industrial collaboration in R&D and workforce development, and create an executive director to act as an ombudsman, assisting business and industry in making the appropriate contacts in higher education to foster partnerships. The law also stipulates that one of its members would be a representative of NJBIA.
UEZ Program Extension, A-4189
Conditional Veto Feb. 10
NJBIA position: Support
The conditional veto effectively eliminates a proposed two-year extension of the Urban Enterprise Zone designation for Newark, Camden, Plainfield, Trenton and Bridgeton, where the program had expired at the end of 2016. NJBIA supported a two-year extension. The elimination impacts budgets and plans that member companies had for 2017 and makes it harder for companies to plan effectively.
International Arbitration Act, S-602
Signed by Gov. Chris Christie Feb. 6
NJBIA position: support
The “New Jersey International Arbitration, Mediation, and Conciliation Act” simplifies the international arbitration process for businesses that set up shop in New Jersey by establishing international arbitration centers to resolve international business, trade, and commercial disputes. Having the statutory mechanism for international arbitration will help New Jersey attract more companies that do business overseas as well as bolster existing companies that export their products and services from here.