Legislation requiring all future public employees to live in New Jersey received final approval by the full Senate. It now heads to the desk of Governor Chris Christie.
The “New Jersey First Act” would require all newly hired public employees to live in New Jersey or to move to the state within one year of taking a position. This means employees must establish their principal residence in the state. Current employees living over state lines would be exempt from the residency requirement.
The measure (S-1730) would cover all state, county and municipal employees as well as anyone working for political subdivisions of the state. Employees of public authorities, boards, agencies and commissions would also be subject to the measure. Additionally, the bill would apply to employees working within the educational system. However, it would provide some flexibility to institutions of higher education to ensure they are able to compete with similarly situated colleges and universities in other states.
Under the bill, public employees could apply to a three-member committee – with one person each appointed by the Governor, the Senate President and the Assembly Speaker – for an exemption from the residency requirement in cases involving extreme hardship or other unique circumstances.
The Assembly approved the bill last week by a vote of 68-5-1 The Senate approved it by a vote of 23-10.