License Law Update
On January 18, 2022, Governor Murphy signed the most sweeping changes to the Electrical Contractors Licensing Act of 1962 since Governor Hughes first signed it into law in 1962. Although more than two years have passed, the NJ Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors has yet to publish the proposed regulations in the New Jersey Register. Proposed regulations must be published in the New Jersey Register, so the public has an opportunity to comment on the proposal before regulations are adopted. The Board finished their part of proposing the regulations in late 2022/early 2023.
NJ-IEC’s lobbyist, Eric DeGesero, EDGE Consulting, appeared at the January 10, 2024, NJ Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors virtual meeting to inquire as to the status of the regulations. The Board advised that they were finished with their part of proposing the regulations and had no further information as to when the rules might be published. NJ-IEC will continue to update members as to the status of the proposed regulations.
One of the primary objectives of the sponsor of the 2022 change in the law, Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Mercer), Assistant Business Manager/President/Delegate to International Convention, IBEW Local 269, was to remove the NJ Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors from under the jurisdiction of the NJ Attorney General and move it to the NJ Department of Labor. NJ-IEC was steadfastly opposed to this provision.
The 2022 changes in the law gave Governor Murphy until January 18, 2024, to remove the Board from under the jurisdiction of the Attorney General if he so chose to.
Governor Murphy did not exercise this authority and the NJ Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors remains under the auspices of the NJ Attorney General, when it has been since 1962, and where it belongs.
Changes to Public Works Contractor Registration and Payroll Certification Enacted
Governor Murphy has signed into law Senate Bill 1442 which requires all public works contractors (PWC) to register and renew their PWC registration on-line as well submit all PWC certified payroll information on-line to the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOLWD) in addition to the governmental entity that awarded the contract.
Certified payroll records must be submitted within 10 days of the worker being paid. The NJDOLWD will also post the certified payroll on-line redacting the workers’ social security number and address.
The law takes effect August 16, 2024.
Unions Can File Wage Claims on Behalf of Non-Union Employees
During his first term in office Governor Murphy signed legislation that allowed the NJ Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development or a joint labor-management cooperation committee, to file wage claims on behalf of any worker, regardless of their union affiliation. These claims can be for any aspect of wage and hour law, minimum wage, sick leave, prevailing wage, overtime, misclassification, etc.
On January 8, 2024 Governor Murphy signed Senate Bill 1438 which expanded the law by allowing a union or other third party to file a wage claim on behalf of a worker, whether or not the worker is a union member, provided the worker consents to such representation.
In a statement issued when he signed the bill Governor Murphy stated:
“In New Jersey, we promote fairness, fight against discrimination, and work to end unfair labor practices. I am proud to stand with all of our workers, both union and non-union, as we strive to create a stronger and fairer economy and eradicate practices that disadvantage honest companies and hurt working families. The enforcement of wage and hour laws is a top priority of my Administration. It is our expectation that empowering labor unions to pursue actions in court on behalf of construction workers, whether they belong to the union or to no union at all, will inure to the benefit of all workers in this industry and their families.”
The new law is effective January 8, 2024.
Other Trenton Happenings
Sprinklers in New Townhomes:
Newly constructed townhomes will require automatic sprinklers under legislation signed by Governor Murphy on January 16, 2024. The requirement is effective August 1, 2024. However, upon signing the bill the Governor issued a statement that he would like a one-year phase-in followed by a six-month grace period. His statement indicated he had spoken with the sponsors of the bill who are amenable to a new bill to amend the phase-in date so projects in the pipeline wouldn’t be delayed.
Single Family Home Solar Disclosure:
Upon the sale of an existing single-family home with solar panels installed on the home or property, the seller must disclose to the purchaser the name and contact information of the company which installed the panels, as well as the same for the company that owns the panels, if any, and any details about power purchase agreements, warranties, guarantees, etc., if any, under a law signed by Governor Murphy on January 16, 2024. Failure to comply will cost the seller $1,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater, along with buyer’s attorney fees. The act takes effect immediately, but enforcement is stayed until such time as the NJ Real Estate Commission, within the Department of Banking and Insurance, posts on its website information regarding the new law.
Home Improvement Contractor License:
On January 8, 2024, Governor Murphy signed legislation requiring all home improvement contractors and home elevation contractors be licensed. Under current law these contractors are only registered. And registration consists of the ability to demonstrate a clean criminal background, proof of $500,000 in liability insurance, and payment of a fee. Home improvement contractors consistently rank as one of the largest sources of complaints to the Division of Consumer Affairs. According to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Paul Moriarty (D-Gloucester), “Home contractors are largely unregulated in New Jersey – they don’t even need to prove they know how to pound a nail. Our state has far more regulations on the people who paint nails than for people that pound nails.” The new law establishes a Board which is to establish a licensing exam, work supervision rules, scope of practice, regulations, CEUs, and other aspects that come with a licensing regime. Individuals with five years’ experience or more will be grandfathered. There is a bonding requirement for home improvement contractors depending on the type(s) of home improvements they are engaged in and some different requirements for home improvement versus home elevation contractors. The new law is effective immediately but won’t be fully operative for the next two years while the Board gets organized and regulations in place to implement the law and grandfathering requirement.
Beneficial Ownership Information Disclosure Required
To combat money laundering, terrorism, and other threats, Congress passed the Corporate Transparency Act of 2021. One of the requirements of the CTA is that corporations, limited liability companies, and any other entities created by the filing of a document with a secretary of state or any similar office in the United States, must report who the owner(s) of the entity is to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the US Department of Treasury.
Companies formed before January 1, 2024, have until January 1, 2025, to report.
Companies formed after January 1, 2024, and before January 1, 2025, have 90 days to report.
Companies formed after January1, 2025, have 30 days to report.
The report only needs to be filed once but needs to be amended whenever there is a change in ownership.