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This Week In New Jersey: April 14th, 2023


Governor Murphy Announces Statewide, Bipartisan Coalition of "Mayors for Liquor License Reform"

Speaking at the New Jersey Conference of Mayors 58th Annual Spring Conference in Atlantic City this week, Governor Phil Murphy announced the formation of a bipartisan coalition of mayors from across New Jersey who support the Murphy Administration’s comprehensive plan to reform and modernize New Jersey’s antiquated, Prohibition-era liquor license laws.

The coalition – “Mayors for Liquor License Reform” – includes 90 charter members who represent urban, suburban, and rural towns across a vast swath of New Jersey, all of which would benefit from the economic development generated by modernizing the State’s liquor license laws to make them more affordable, equitable, and accessible. 

“These mayors come from counties across the state. They represent more than one million residents of historic small towns, growing townships, and mid-sized cities,” said Governor Murphy. “But most important, they represent hundreds of small restaurants whose owners are being left out – and whose investments in their establishments are being left at-risk – because they do not have access to the liquor license that can allow them to better compete and stay in business. They understand the patent unfairness of our current liquor law regime and the significant local economic benefits that our proposed reforms would bring.”

In lending their support and advocating for reform, all 90 charter members of the mayors’ coalition signed an open letter noting, “Given the exorbitant costs for a license, coupled with the lack of availability and the existing population cap for municipalities, the present system favors the economically advantaged while hampering mom-and-pop businesses and town with smaller populations.”


New Jersey Scores Credit Rating Hat Trick

S&P Global Ratings this week upgraded its rating on New Jersey’s general obligation bonds to ‘A’ from ‘A-‘, the state’s third credit rating upgrade in less than a week.

The latest announcement from S&P follows an upgrade from Fitch Ratings announced late Monday and a boost from Moody’s on Thursday, and is the State’s sixth credit rating upgrade in the past 13 months.

“This week's upgrade from S&P is welcome news coming as it does on the heels of the announcements from Fitch and Moody’s and is just more evidence that New Jersey is on the right fiscal path,” said Governor Phil Murphy.  “We’ve worked hard since day one to change the narrative in Trenton from one of financial distress to one of fiscal responsibility and that work shows in these upgrades.”

“When we talk about fiscal responsibility, it’s not just lip service, it’s something we constantly strive for,” said Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio. “We owe it to the taxpayers of New Jersey to be good stewards of their money and with these upgrades it shows we’re doing just that.”


Governor Murphy and Governor Shapiro Announce Partnership to Strengthen Labor Law Enforcement, Protect Workers' Rights

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro visited the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 21 training facility in Philadelphia to tour the innovative center and announce their intention to form an interstate task force to address wage theft and worker misclassification in the two states. The interstate task force will work to better foster the collaborative enforcement of each state’s labor laws, which include robust worker protections, while enabling healthy business competition between good actors.  

“I am thrilled to join Governor Shapiro to reaffirm our commitment to strengthen labor law enforcement and to announce this new partnership between our states,” said Governor Murphy. “Every day hard-working New Jerseyans and Pennsylvanians deserve to live without fear that their employers are taking advantage of their rights. With the formation of an interstate task force, our message will be clear - workers’ rights are to be respected, defended, and upheld.”

“We need to give students like those here at FTI the opportunity to chart their own course in life. That's why my budget includes comprehensive investments in career and technical education and apprenticeships,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “But our work can’t stop at increasing opportunity – we also need to protect workers’ rights once they’re on the job. I’m proud to join Governor Murphy to announce that Pennsylvania and New Jersey will strengthen our partnership to stop wage theft and worker misclassification. Pennsylvanians and New Jerseyans work hard, and we will not let them be cheated out of the benefits they’ve earned.”


Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order to Prioritize Work Experience and Skills Training Over Four-year Degrees for Certain State Employment Opportunities

Building on his vision for the Next New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy, joined by New Jersey Civil Service Commission (CSC) Acting Chair and CEO Allison Chris Myers,  signed Executive Order No. 327 expanding job opportunities for New Jerseyans by prioritizing skills and work experience over college degree requirements for certain State employment opportunities. The Order directs CSC to identify the job classifications that require college degrees and determine which are appropriate to revise in the State’s classification plan, prioritizing the practical skills and experiences needed to effectively serve the public over strict educational requirements.

“Every American should have the ability to attain a good job with growth opportunities and secure their place in the middle class, regardless of whether or not they have a college degree,” said Governor Murphy. “Employment qualifications for good-paying jobs in our state workforce should not exclude individuals with qualifying experience, unique skillsets, and diverse backgrounds. Today, we open the door to that opportunity for applicants across our state, and urge other states, as well as private sector employers, to remove barriers to opportunity.”


DCA Awards $25 Million in Local Recreation Improvement Grants to 352 Local Governments Across the State

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Local Government Services (DLGS)  announced the award of $25 million in Local Recreation Improvement Grants to counties, municipalities, and school districts across New Jersey to ensure public access to quality outdoor space and recreational facilities. The grants were awarded to 352 local governments after a competitive application process.

"This Administration is committed to putting New Jerseyans first in everything we do. This announcement by the Department of Community Affairs shows that we are delivering on that promise," said Governor Murphy. "With $25 million in awards to communities across the state, we are investing in the amenities that matter most to our residents - from biking and hiking trails to playgrounds and outdoor facilities - without putting the burden on taxpayers. This is a win for our communities and a testament to the power of partnership in achieving our shared goals."

“Ensuring public access to recreational opportunities is imperative for people’s mental and physical health,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “For this reason, the Local Recreation Improvement Grant program aims to provide grants to communities in need to help them strengthen and improve their recreational spaces and programs.”