National Governors Association (NGA) Chair Governor Phil Murphy and Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox this week attended the 115th National Governors Association Winter Meeting. In Washington, D.C., Governor Murphy and Governor Cox joined governors, federal officials and leaders from business, academia and philanthropy for solutions-driven conversations around the top issues in states and territories.
“As Governors, we have to solve problems that affect each and every one of our states," said Governor Murphy. "There aren’t Democratic problems or Republican problems, but issues that affect real people—the residents of our states. When Governors get around a table to talk about pressing issues. we can find consensus because our residents depend on us to do just that. We’ve worked to address our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, offered best practices on keeping our schools and communities safer, and collaborated on critical priorities like public health and economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19. The NGA Winter Meeting offers another opportunity for all of us to share best practices and work together to solve the problems our states are facing.”
“For Governors, there is nothing more useful than being in the room with other Governors and learning together," said Governor Spencer Cox. "Governors care less about where the ideas come from than how well they work. The NGA meeting also offers really valuable opportunities for governors to engage with federal officials, both to leverage the collective influence of governors and to help federal officials cloistered in D.C. understand the real-world impact of federal policies.”READ MORE
Governor Phil Murphy announced that his upcoming budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2024 will include $10 million in funding to expand the ARRIVE Together program to the entire state, creating the first statewide law enforcement and mental health co-responder collaboration in the country.
Governor Murphy, joined by Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin, also announced the upcoming expansion of the program, which connects mental health professionals with law enforcement officers to more effectively respond to mental-health-crisis calls, set to take place this year. Utilizing $2 million in funds set aside by the Governor and state lawmakers in the current FY2023 state budget, over two dozen municipalities in 10 different counties will be joining ARRIVE Together starting in May 2023.
“The ARRIVE Together program is a game changer, and I am incredibly pleased by the success the program has had during its pilot stages in connecting those experiencing behavioral health crises with a certified mental health professional,” said Governor Murphy. “This proposed investment and the expansion of the program will help our efforts to enhance law enforcement’s servicing of neighborhoods and will strengthen the bonds between our officers and the communities they serve. Attorney General Platkin, Colonel Callahan, and I will continue to work with our state’s law enforcement and mental health professionals to ensure these crises are de-escalated safely, fairly, and efficiently to protect individuals in mental distress.”
“ARRIVE Together began as a State Police pilot program, and through partnerships forged between law enforcement and mental health providers we are building it into a statewide program,” said Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. “It has been a transformative and powerful model, consistently de-escalating situations that could have had far worse outcomes for everyone involved. With the support and vision of Governor Murphy, I am committed to continuing to grow this program and improve services for our most vulnerable residents.”
With households throughout America set to receive as low as $23 in monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits when the federal government’s emergency allotments come to an end next month, Governor Phil Murphy signed bill (A-5086) to ensure every SNAP household in New Jersey will receive at least $95 in monthly benefits going forward. This nation-leading legislation represents New Jersey’s ongoing commitment to combating food insecurity throughout the state.
The federal government began providing emergency allotments to SNAP households in March 2020 to offer a temporary boost in food assistance benefits to individuals and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With these additional payments ending as of February 28, 2023, this legislation will raise the minimum SNAP benefit in New Jersey to $95 starting March 1. This represents a $45 increase over the initial State minimum benefit of $50 put into place for SNAP recipients when Governor Murphy and the NJ Legislature established the State SNAP Minimum Benefit Program last year.
“As the federal government’s temporary boost to SNAP benefits comes to an end, we cannot ignore the significant impact this will have on households and communities throughout our state,” said Governor Murphy. “No one should ever have to wonder where their next meal will come from. By implementing a minimum monthly SNAP benefit of $95 for all beneficiaries, New Jersey is leading the nation in ensuring families have the support they need to keep putting food on the table. While we may be the first state to do this, it is my hope we will not be the last to put these critical protections into effect.”
In a significant step for vulnerable workers in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy signed A1474/S511, commonly referred to as the "Temporary Workers' Bill of Rights." This legislation significantly expands the rights and protections afforded to temporary workers, and was sent to the Governor's desk after the Legislature concurred with changes recommended by the Governor last September.
“Our temporary workers, regardless of their race or status, are key contributors to the workforce in our state,” said Governor Murphy. “Signing the Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights establishes necessary guidelines for temporary help service firms and third-party clients to ensure that these workers are afforded basic protections and treated with the dignity they deserve. I am especially grateful to Senator Joe Cryan, Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez, and the many workers' rights advocates for their leadership and tireless efforts on this issue.”
In partnership with the Office of Governor Phil Murphy, the Office of Innovation and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) have teamed up to fund a two-year pilot program to provide job-coaching, training, and employment support to jobless and chronically underemployed residents who do not have college degrees or workplace credentials.
The novel Lifelong Learning Accounts (LiLA) program – part of Governor Murphy’s Future of Work initiative – is built on the idea of empowering participants to drive their own career development, helping them secure the training and supportive services they need to find and keep sustainable employment. The LiLA Grant program, managed by NJDOL, will provide funding to organizations who will recruit and deliver services to LiLA participants.
“The barriers to family-sustaining employment are well known, but here in New Jersey -- with this grant and other forward-thinking initiatives -- we are creating life-changing opportunities for underserved residents,” said Governor Murphy. “This is what it means to build a stronger, fairer economy for all.”
The $10 million program was conceived to promote equitable opportunities, upward mobility, and economic fairness. It is designed to help participants overcome barriers to gainful, permanent employment in part by making stipends for wrap-around services such as child care and transportation available to those who need them in order to complete a training course or succeed at work. The integration of career coaching, professional mentoring, and up-to-date information on labor market trends provide critical support to participants as they advance their careers. Participants’ career plans will be tailored to their individual goals and needs.