ASSEMBLY REGULATORY OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
"Testimony concerning the management and operations of the Department of Law and Public
Safety, Division of Consumer Affairs, Office of Weights and Measures;
and testimony concerning State-issued emergency management directives"
ASSEMBLY BILL No. 3749
Committee Room 8 State House Annex Trenton, New Jersey
June 9, 2003
MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE PRESENT:
Assemblyman William D. Payne, Chairman
Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, Vice-Chairman
Assemblywoman Nilsa Cruz-Perez
Assemblywoman Connie Myers
Assemblyman John E. Rooney
James F. Vari
|John M. Leyman||Jennifer J. Rasch|
|Office of Legislative Services||Assembly Majority||Assembly Republican|
|Committee Aide||Committee Aide||Committee Aide|
Meeting Recorded and
The Office of Legislative Services, Public Information Office,
Hearing Unit, State House Annex, PO 068, Trenton, New Jersey
ASSEMBLYMAN WILLIAM D. PAYNE (Chairman): Good
Weíre here today to continue the formal process of reviewing New
Jerseyís State departmentsí regulatory policies.
Before that, Iíd like to take the roll call.
MR. VARI (Committee Aide): Assemblyman Rooney.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: Here.
MR. VARI: Vice-Chairman Cryan.
ASSEMBLYMAN CRYAN: Here.
MR. VARI: Chairman Payne.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Here.
We do expect the other members of our Committee. Theyíre on
As I say, this morning, we are going to continue the formal process
that weíve been conducting and reviewing -- New Jersey State departmentsí
regulatory policies. During these several months, my staff met with many of our
Stateís businesses, environmental and local government organizations to take
inventory of their regulatory concerns and their recommendations on how best
to effectuate changes to these regulations.
It is my hope that, by continuing this review, our Committee will
be able to work with the departments to institute changes where necessary,
clarify existing practices when appropriate, and provide an on-going forum for
addressing future regulatory concerns.
Based on our review, we identified key regulatory issues and their
related departments. To best address these issues, this Committee will continue
to hear from the departments, one-by-one. Today, we have with us
representatives from the Department of Law and Public Safety.
Now, let me start by thanking the department representatives,
business leaders, and local government organizations for your appearance. We
appreciate your interest in being here today.
First, weíre going to call upon representatives from the Attorney
Generalís Office, Division of Consumer Affairs.
Please come forward and identify yourself.
They will be talking about two issues, today. Initially, uniform
enforcement and modification of commodity product listing regulations. And
then theyíll come back later for the third hearing.
D P T Y. A T T. G E N E R A L F R A N K D O M I N G U E Z: Good
My name is Frank Dominguez. Iím with the Attorney Generalís
office. And I have with me here, today, Bob Campanelli, from the Division of
Consumer Affairs, to address issues that the Committee asked us to take a look
into: specifically, two issues on weights and measures. One, dealing with the
direct oversight, or general oversight, of the county weights and measures office;
and the other dealing with the commodity listing forms.
Bob, would you like to--
R O B E R T J. C A M P A N E L L I: Okay.
Chairman Payne, members of the Committee, thank you for--
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Youíre now on the record.
MR. CAMPANELLI: I am -- now I am, yes.
Thank you for this opportunity.
The Division of Consumer Affairs, as you know, has regulatory --
has oversight over the Office of Weights and Measures. And we have always
taken the position that we would like to ensure a uniformity of enforcement and
procedures throughout the state.
To that effect, some time ago, in the í80s, an amendment was
added to the weights and measure statute, which permits the State
Superintendent to have, what we call,general oversight. And we have,
periodically, used that authority in order to develop protocols, so that we have
uniform enforcement throughout the 21 counties and those municipalities which
have weights and measures offices.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Do any members of the Committee
have any questions for the representatives? (no response)
If not, Iíd like to call, from the New Jersey Food Council, Jim
Please take a seat, here.
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL DOMINGUEZ: Would you
like us to stay?
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Yes, stand by.
Let Jim come forward, and be here to answer any questions if we
J A M E S C. M O R F O R D: Thank you.
Mr. Campanelli, youíre welcome to stay. I didnít mean to--
Good morning. Iím Jim Morford. Iím President of the New Jersey
Iíd like to take this opportunity to introduce Rick Wright, who is
about to become my successor. Iím retiring from the Food Council on the first
of July. Our board has selected Rick Wright to be my replacement. So Iím
delighted to introduce him to this Committee.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And congratulations to all of the
survivors of last weekís exciting elections.
I appreciate the opportunity to talk with you a little bit about some
of our -- I thinkconcerns may even be a stronger word than necessary -- some of
our interests in what we would like to see develop in the Office of Weights and
Measures. Weíve worked long -- many, many years -- with Mr. Campanelli,
whoís been a very, very effective representative of the Attorney General and the
office of Consumer Affairs.
Weíve enjoyed a very cordial relationship, because the industry that
I represent, the food retailers and their suppliers, feel very, very strongly that we
need and want, in New Jersey, always, to have strong, effective weights and
measures laws and regulations.
Keeping that playing field level is extremely important in our highly
competitive industry. So do not make any mistake by thinking that we would
like to see a weights and measures law weakened, or diminished, or anything
like that. If anything, we want to see them strengthened.
The statute under which weights and measures governs us is a
statute passed in 1911. It was, as moments ago was suggested, modified a little
bit in the mid-1980s, and tinkered again, a little bit, in the 1990s. But this is
a nearly century-old statute.
The Federal government has the National Institute of Standards
and Testing, NIST, which governs a lot of the area that weights and measures
addresses. They change their handbook and guidance books almost every year,
sometimes even more frequently. Not by way of illustration -- just to suggest
that we really need to consider mechanisms to take a very careful look and
review of our State weights and measures law, and bring it into the 21st century.
Certainly, marketing methods, conditions in technologies have
changed dramatically since 1911. The New Jersey Food Council has
recommended to Director Erdos, of the Division of Consumer Affairs, that,
perhaps under her auspices, a panel, if you will, of stakeholders could be called
to the table to address this 1911 statute, with its periodic modifications, and
come up with a recommendation to the Legislature for changes that would
modify and bring the statute into this century.
We know that there is great concern among some of our counties.
Some countiesí offices, and theyíre independent offices, address weights and
measures issues much more vigorously than others. I think our goal is to
achieve a standardization. Whether you have county offices or not, if they are
all applying the law with a degree of certainty and standardization-- My
members, Pathmark, ShopRite, Acme, Stop & Shop -- they have stores in many,
many counties. And itís, kind of, difficult for their management teams to have
to feel that they are being held to varying standards and varying levels of
aggressive, or less, accountability for those standards. We want to be held to
the same act of standards up and down the state.
So without trying to make any recommendations for how a
structure should look, I think it is important that this Committee either endorses
or recommends that we do seek to have some mechanism that would produce
some recommendations for the Legislature to consider. Two examples I might
point out -- in my earlier years with becoming a government affairs
representative for business-- When I joined the State Chamber of Commerce
staff, probably more than 20 years ago, now, they were in the midst of looking
at the workersí compensation law. And that was done by business and labor
coming together, working out their concerns, and taking a proposal to the
Legislature, which then fine-tuned it and made it a law that has been the envy
of the nation, modeled -- many states have modeled their workersí
compensation laws after New Jerseyís, and it has stood the test of time.
A similar thing happened with unemployment compensation, where
significant reforms were made back in the Kean administration, when business
and labor came together, studied the problems, and offered recommendations
to the Legislature, which then, in itís judgement, made whatever modifications
necessary and enacted a reform that stands today.
So, simply, the suggestion of the New Jersey Food Council would
be to encourage, whether itís done by the Legislature or whether itís done
through Consumer Affairs-- Iíve also called this matter to the attention of
Secretary Watley (phonetic spelling) -- that we need a process where all the
stakeholders -- and I mean the government officials, the State Office of Weights
and Measures, the county offices of weights and measures-- Because we have
found, when we sit down with those county offices, we come to areas of
understanding and agreement.
I think itís important that we do this, that we have subgroups that
work on fuel issues, and work on dump-truck gravel issues, and work on food
issues, and work on general merchandise issues. Itís a big job, and it wonít be
done quickly, but we ought to begin doing it real soon.
If there are no questions, I thank you for the opportunity.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Thank you.
We do have-- Vice Chairman Cryan has a question.
ASSEMBLYMAN CRYAN: Jim, whether itís you or Mr.
Campanelli, or Mr. Dominguez-- How about-- Can you give me an example
of where non-standardization is, actually, an issue in the Food Council?
By the way, first and foremost, congratulations to you, and my
sympathies to Mr. Wright. (laughter)
But, can you give me-- Do you have any idea? I mean, we talked
about workmensí comp and all this.
MR. MORFORD: As far as weights and measures?
MR. CAMPANELLI: Weights and measures? Well, right now,
weíre looking at the issue of wet and dry tare.
ASSEMBLYMAN CRYAN: What is it?
MR. CAMPANELLI: Wet and dry tare.
ASSEMBLYMAN CRYAN: Oh, go ahead. Tell me. (laughter)
What is wet and dry tare?
MR. CAMPANELLI: Basically, when you go to a supermarket, the
packaging that you get, letís say, chicken or meat-- The boat, and what we call
thediaper, is what we call the tare. And there are different ways of measuring
the tare in consideration of the price. And there is a series of tolerances that are
used. And there are different standards established by NIST. Itís not that
theyíre tremendously complicated, but they vary from place to place. And weíre
trying to institute uniformity consistent with the NIST standards. And weíve
been dealing with -- right now -- with the Food Council on this issue, now, for
what, about six or seven months? And we think weíre fairly close to a
ASSEMBLYMAN CRYAN: So when it varies from place to place,
weíre talking county to county?
MR. CAMPANELLI: Well, the procedure that is utilized-- For
example, thereís some misunderstanding as to whether or not you can use a
standard which is calledused dry tare. Wet tare would mean the napkin in the
boat saturated with the liquid run-off. Anyway, these are the kinds of issues
that we deal with.
ASSEMBLYMAN CRYAN: Can I ask one on the weight?
MR. CAMPANELLI: Sure.
ASSEMBLYMAN CRYAN: Are there any particular areas for the
Food Council, or for you guys -- just because Jim is in front of us talking -- that
we should be aware of, as a Committee, that are affecting consumers as a result
of -- that need regulatory reform?
MR. MORFORD: If I could respond to that, Assemblyman, I donít
think so much that that is the issue. Iíll give you one example of -- that we felt
was assertive enforcement, where stores that have locations in multiple counties
-- stores in one county in particular were being cited by the weights and
measures office for selling baked goods that were slightly overweight. Now, you
know, underweight is, usually, the concern -- that the customer is, somehow,
being cheated because itís underweight. But slightly overweight -- because a
strict technical reading of the law could suggest that it wasnít the exact weight,
therefore you could extract a fine.
It seems absurd, but there was a -- I think it took the Attorney
General to step in and, finally, call that back. I think thatís the kind of thing
weíre looking for in relative stability of enforcement.
ASSEMBLYMAN CRYAN: Overweight is okay, right, or else Iím
in trouble? (laughter)
MR. MORFORD: I mean, if I got fined for being overweight, Iíd
really be in trouble.
Again, these are very marginal, very slight differences.
Now, we have magnitudes of allowable variation, tare-- Some of
these terms are deadening, almost, in their explanation. But we have, in the
statute now, an interesting thing on tare.
The way the law was amended, about a year and a half ago, two
years ago -- the Bennett bill -- on gravel in trucks. The law was amended in
such a way that the only definition of tare in the statute today applies to gravel
in trucks. Now, common sense has permitted the progress to go-- But thatís the
kind of thing that needs cleaning up. Thatís a minor thing, but it needs cleaning
up. And we hope that we can find the mechanism to do that.
ASSEMBLYMAN CRYAN: Thanks.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Thank you.
Do we have any--
Would Rick Wright like--
Do you have anything to add?
MR. MORFORD: I think heís declining.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: Before they go, I have one last
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Sure.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: Just looking at this -- and your
duties-- Just, out of curiosity, what is the time thatís allowed on a car wash
MR. CAMPANELLI: There is no law governing--
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: Iím just wondering, because I see
thatís one of the things you regulate. Somebody better check my car wash,
because I canít very well get it on $1.
MR. CAMPANELLI: Where itís stated, we would check.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: I donít think itís stated. It just says
a buck -- four quarters only, and thatís it.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Thank you, Assemblyman.
I would like Mr. John Donnadio, the New Jersey Association of
Counties, to please come forward.
And as soon as Rich Santoro finishes, Iíd like to have you--
R I C H A R D S A N T O R O: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members
of the Committee.
My name is Richard Santoro, from the New Jersey Retail Merchants
Association, and I certainly have the daunting task of following up to what Mr.
Morford has already put forth. And we certainly echo and agree with everything
he says, as we always do.
But if I could just, maybe, give two more examples from a retailerís
perspective of how having such an antiquated weights and measures regulation
makes compliance extremely difficult for retailers. One of which is a law that
stipulates the zip code of a manufacturer must appear on every product box.
However, with the increasing use of global markets, and many U.S. companies
utilizing manufacturers that are located overseas, in China, or wherever they
may be -- areas that actually do not utilize zip codes-- And companies have
actually been fined, because zip codes from these manufactures do not appear
on the product boxes. But, in theory, these companies are being fined for a
foreign procedure and for a situation where they -- theyíre in a catch-22.
Another example is a requirement, a regulation, that stipulates the
number of items in a box must be printed on every product box. And, again,
while in theory this regulation would seem to improve customer education, the
regulation has been so strictly enforced that certain municipalities have fined
computer companies for not writing the letter -- excuse me, the number one on
a computer box. You get your computer-- And, in fact, CompUSA entered
litigation to fight a fine for not complying with this regulation, and won. And
CompUSA actually set a president going forward that exempted computer boxes
from this law.
So, what Iím trying to prove by these examples is that, while
companies can, certainly, set legal precedence in court to bring New Jerseyís
weights and measures laws and regulations in line with 21st century commerce,
litigation is, certainly, expensive, time consuming, and not the best way to
change the laws and regs that are on the books. So, hopefully, that supports
some additional reasons why we should, hopefully, change the law.
Also, just one last thing. I know something that we had worked
with Bob Campanelli on is, until we have an opportunity -- because I know itís
going to take some time to rewrite the weights and measures act -- is a change
to the weights and measures form, and what happens when an inspector goes
into a store. They have a certain form that they fill out if thereís some type of
violation. And most companies are using UPC labels, uniform product labels.
And we were just asking that the sheet would change, or they would add the
columns so that the UPC number would actually be on the form, because itís
very difficult, currently, to try to find the violation, when theyíre just writing
down a description of the product. And, you know, there are so many products
out there, and if you have a very large store, itís difficult to find that. So that
would, certainly, be helpful. And we would appreciate that.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Weíre going to have a response. I see
the Attorney Generalís -- is chafing at the bit to come up and have a comment
to say about this.
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL DOMINGUEZ: Mr. Chairman,
I just wanted to say that the Division of Consumer Affairs has discussed the
issue with the Retail Merchants and have agreed to work on the form and make
it so that the UPC is on the form.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Very good. That resolves that, at least.
MR. SANTORO: If only it were always that easy.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Thank you.
J O H N G. D O N N A D I O, ESQ.: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My name is John Donnadio. Iím with the New Jersey Association
of Counties. I had hoped to have with me, today, a county superintendent of
weights and measures, but unfortunately, thatís not the case.
I did, however, spend a day weighing and learning about tare and
the dry, with the Burlington County Superintendent, and they offered me a parttime
summer job, so I think Iím qualified to testify today. (laughter)
Basically, what Iíd like to say, Mr. Chairman, is that the
Association-- First of all, the county superintendents of weights and measures
do the majority of field inspections in this state, as far as going into the
supermarkets and weighing the cakes, and weighing the scales, and calibrating
the scales -- and with regard to the gas stations, as well. And itís not that our
Association opposes, of course, the uniform regulations or guidelines. We just
want to make sure that, because we do do the majority of the work, that we are
involved and have input in any potential changes to the regulations.
It is true that there are more county superintendents -- some county
superintendents of weights and measures are more aggressive than others. I
think thatís the case with any quasi-law enforcement or rule enforcement. Itís
just the nature of it.
But, again, weíd just like to be involved with the process and
welcome the opportunity to work with the New Jersey Food Council, the Retail
Merchants Association, and continue working with the Division of Consumer
Affairs in the Attorney Generalís Office.
I thank you, and will be willing to answer any questions, if I can.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Assemblyman Cryan.
ASSEMBLYMAN CRYAN: Thanks.
Do you-- Besides the tare issue, are there any other issues that your
county superintendents have voiced to you that are of particular concern?
Theyíre looking for standardization.
MR. DONNADIO: Well, I think they just welcome the
opportunity. I have to be honest, this is not-- One of the concerns that they did
express to me, was they were concerned about how much supervision the State
Superintendent of Weights and Measures would have over the counties. I think
the current statute reads that the Superintendent -- and I think the Attorney
Generalís office eluded to this -- that they have general supervision over the
counties, and they think that thatís sufficient for the time being, and they donít
want to see more supervision, because although we welcome the opportunity to
discuss general guidelines, I think the counties still like the autonomy that they
have in regulating weights and measures.
Other than that, Iím not aware of any other concerns, with regard
to the regulations, that we havenít already worked out with the Attorney
Generalís office in the past two or three years.
ASSEMBLYMAN CRYAN: Whatís your view of the CompUSA
MR. DONNADIO: I donít have a view. I will bring it back, but
I will say, Mr. Chairman -- Mr. Assemblyman, I will bring it back to our weights
and measures people. And I donít think itís a big deal if itís just a change to the
format. I donít see what would be the big deal. And if it would help, itís
something that we would be willing to sit down--
ASSEMBLYMAN CRYAN: Well, I mean, just in the example I
heard, the guy had to go to court. Is that right?
MR. SANTORO: Yes.
ASSEMBLYMAN CRYAN: To put a one on a box-- I mean, I
would hope there would be some peer enforcement. Itís one example, so letís
not go overboard with it.
Still, the company got caught, it cost money. They went into court
and did all-- And I just wonder how much selective -- not selective, but more
aggressive enforcement there is, as opposed to less. I hope thereís some
uniformity. If you could pass that along, Iíd appreciate it.
MR. DONNADIO: Thank you. Okay, I will. Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Thank you very much.
MR. DONNADIO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: I do have concerns. I wonder whether
or not the representative from -- Campanelli or Dominguez would return to the
table, because I do have a question or two.
Enforcement, I suppose-- One of the concerns I hear is that,
number one, the lawís archaic -- initially 1911 -- and had some minor
adjustments over the years. But weíre still not where we should be, perhaps. So,
number one, I suggest -- and Iím not sure that youíre the people to answer this--
But, it seems to me, a very sensible, kind of, suggestion: Establish a panel that
would be able to have input from various stakeholders in this area. Thatís
certainly something that should be looked at very seriously.
The question I have is enforcement. If we have, throughout the
state, various counties, with varying degrees of monitoring, etc.-- It would make
sense, it seems to me, that if we would have a State standard by which all of the
counties could adhere to-- Whatís your opinion of that? What seems to be the
reason why we havenít moved in that direction? Is it part of the Legislature?
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL DOMINGUEZ: Well, I think,
as weíve mentioned, Mr. Chairman, the statute does provide that itís just
general -- the State Superintendent of Weights and Measures has general
oversight of the county weights and measures offices. So we have a limited
capacity to oversee their enforcement of the regulations.
I know that the State Superintendent issues directives and orders to
the counties, but then it really is -- it lays at the county level to enforce them
and to implement those directives.
MR. CAMPANELLI: Essentially, theyíre independent operations
that function under the same State law. To the extent that we have general
supervision, we can provide that guidance on enforcement. But, again, theyíre
individual government entities who are, really, responsible for the actions of that
particular local weights and measures.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: It was earlier testified that some of the
members of the Association have stores in every county, or various counties, etc.
And then thereís -- the same stores stay in business, same chain, etc. But thereís
varying degrees of enforcement, or what have you. And thatís, obviously,
something that should be taken up. It doesnít make an awful lot of sense to me
to have that kind of irregularity or lack of uniformity in the enforcement of this.
And I think itís something that we, certainly, need to look into strengthening --
The last thing, before we move on to the other ones-- Who enforces
the date stamps, for instance: use before, sell by? Who has responsibility for
seeing to it that those are on--
MR. CAMPANELLI: Mostly, those would be Federal.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Iím sorry?
MR. CAMPANELLI: We donít have sell-by dates, per se, here in
New Jersey. We do have some laws that govern some sell-by dates if you exceed
them, but itís extremely limited. It really depends on what the Federal standards
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: The dates that are stamped on--
MR. CAMPANELLI: Yes, for the most part, they are not-- Itís very
strange. It says sell by, but thereís really no magic attached to that, as far as
whether or not the product is any good or not. For example, if youíll notice, as
far -- for milk, letís say, for example, New York state has a different date than
New Jersey. And itís, sort of, like, not arbitrary, but itís fixed to some formula,
which is not familiar to me. But if youíll notice, they do vary. And, again, we
have limited -- very, very limited authority over products that exceed that,
although we do have some.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Mr. Morford would like to say
something on that.
MR. CAMPANELLI: Yes, he--
MR. MORFORD: Mr. Chairman, I guess I need to be near a
MR. CAMPANELLI: You want to sit here?
MR. MORFORD: Very briefly, many of the so-called sell-by dates
are put on by either manufacturers, processors, or even the stores themselves, as
an internal guide, because they do not like to have their merchandise go beyond
a certain time frame on the shelf. So theyíre not necessarily governed by, as Bob
said, Federal law -- a few things are -- but theyíre mostly for internal control.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: That applies to eggs, produce, etc.?
MR. MORFORD: Yes.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: One thing I have noticed is that some
of the -- they vary. For instance, from neighborhood to neighborhood, as a
matter of fact. There are times when the sell-by date is almost totally ignored
in certain areas. It seems as though they move the product out to other stores --
undesirable stores -- and bring in fresher products. I donít know whether thatís--
MR. MORFORD: I donít know about that practice, but I do know
that Assemblyman -- doctor--
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Munoz?
MR. MORFORD: No, from Burlington County.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Oh, Conaway.
MR. MORFORD: Conaway, Iím sorry.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Some days--
MR. MORFORD: Isnít it time to retire when you forget important
names like that?
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Sometimes he goes as a lawyer,
sometimes he goes as a doctor. So itís, kind of, hard to keep up with him.
MR. MORFORD: Thatís right.
He did have legislation on that, that we worked with him on last
session, I believe. And it does address re-dating, and is important in that regard.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Thank you.
Weíd like to hear, now, from the Department, on the Office of
Emergency Management -- the issuance of directives, and the relationship to
counties and municipalities.
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL DOMINGUEZ: Mr. Chairman,
I have Nick DiRocco, from the Attorney Generalís office, that will be able to
speak to that issue.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Just identify yourself again, please.
D P T Y. A T T . G E N E R A L D O M I N I C K D i R O C C O:
Iím Nick DiRocco. Iím with the Attorney Generalís office.
I didnít, really, have prepared testimony, but I did want to make
one quick note to the Committee, sort of, for the benefit of you, while you go
through these proceedings.
Currently, the Legislature is in the process of completely revamping
and overhauling the Disaster Control Act, which is a law under which these
OEM directives are promulgated. Right now, weíre working closely with
Assemblywoman Quigley on that legislation, and we hope to have a completed
product soon. I just tell you that so that you know, during these proceedings,
thatís, sort of, an overarching issue that you may want to keep in mind -- that
the entire law is going to be revamped at some point.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Do we have any--
Let me-- Again, from the New Jersey Association of Counties, we
have testimony regarding the emergency management--
L O R E N W I Z M A N: Good morning, Mr. Chairman.
Iím Loren Wizman, from the New Jersey Association of Counties.
And with me, I have Vince Jones, whoís the Legislative Chairman of the New
Jersey County Emergency Management Coordinatorsí Association, who would
like to address a couple issues.
V I N C E N T J. J O N E S: Good morning, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for
the opportunity to come and speak to you on the emergency management
As stated, the Emergency Management Act in New Jersey -- which
governs the State, county, and municipal emergency management officials -- is
currently being revamped, rewritten to update it, bring it more into tune with
whatís happening on the Federal and State level around the country.
One of the important things that we wanted to see happen was--
A lot of the State Office of Emergency Management-issued directives, which
basically give us our, kind of, day-to-day duties, responsibilities at the county
level, at the municipal level, in regards to our day-to-day functions -- our
planning functions, local emergency planning committees, again, which are all
outlined in these directives.
Weíre hoping that these directives are looked at, some of the more
important ones -- theyíre all important -- but some of the ones that really need
to be taken a look at, and also brought into play into that Emergency
Management Act, to include a little bit more teeth, if you will, for these
directives. These are State-issued directives. Sometimes, it lends some problems
where you would go out in an attempt to work with the municipality or a
county office of emergency management. Some of these mandates, through
these directives-- You want to try to get them to do their planning, and their
response, and the coordination. You, kind of, run into a wall sometimes, where
theyíre not really law, and you could-- It hasnít happened. Weíve worked
through it. But, in essence, you could have a municipality or county say, "We
donít have to follow these. Weíre not going to do this," because theyíre really
not law. And weíre hoping that these directives are included and, really, looked
at, because they do give us our day-to-day guidance.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Thank you.
Ms. Wizman, do you have anything?
MS. WIZMAN: No, thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Do we have any questions or
comments from the Committee members relative to the Office of Emergency
Management? (no response)
If not, we will ask the representatives from the Attorney Generalís
office to please come up and give their perspective on this area.
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL DiROCCO: I guess our basic
thoughts are this: once the Disaster Control Act is revamped, it is our plan to
take a look at the OEM directives, and to reduce them to administrative rule
and regulation to the extent that we need to do that. Some of these issues will
be addressed through the statutory rewrite. If thereís any other ambiguous issues
still outstanding at that time, weíll use the administrative process to, sort of, tie
those directives in.
We certainly feel that, right now, we do have the authority to issue
directives in that. The directives do subject the counties and locals to the OEM
directorís authority. However, like I said, the entire law is being rewritten
anyway, and weíre going to address many of these issues through the
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: You say Assemblywoman Quigley has
a piece of legislation to address this?
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL DiROCCO: Correct. I think
itís Assembly Bill 3350 -- I believe is the number. And weíre working with her
office on the rewrite of that bill.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Do we have any other comments? (no
If not, thank you for your presence here today.
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL DiROCCO: Thank you, Mr.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Thank you.
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL DOMINGUEZ: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Iíd like to welcome Assemblywoman
ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ-PEREZ: My apologies.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: And also Assemblywoman Myers has
And I would like to recognize and welcome Assemblyman Joseph
Doria, who will, in fact, testify -- present testimony and background
information on A-3749, which is a legislation that requires a-- Itís the EMAP
legislation, which requires -- revise the requirements of DEP, checklist on
technical manuals -- the EMAP legislation, as itís called.
Mr. Doria, thank you very much, and welcome.
A S S E M B L Y M A N J O S E P H V. D O R I A JR.: Thank you, Mr.
Chairman. Itís a pleasure to be here and to have the opportunity to sponsor this
piece of legislation with you.
A-3749 is an update of the Environmental Management and
Accountability Program. This was a package of bills, which were passed in
1991-92, which dealt with the Department of Environmental Protection. It
established guidelines for the Department, in working with the applicants, to
make sure that the process was much more efficient; and that the process could
be effectively followed by those who applied, as well as the Department, as well
as interested outside parties.
The piece of legislation that we have here today, which you are
prime sponsor of -- Iím co-prime -- basically allows for some changes. The first
change is just a result of the fact that, with the advancements in the area of
technology, we can use electronic transfers of information, and allow for
electronic application forms and the provision of information over the
computers, rather than necessarily by paper. And so what weíre doing here is
advancing the process by, actually, making it quicker, by using electronic
transfers and the computers to not only make application, but also provide
checklists for those items that might be missing -- that would be of concern to
those applicants -- so that they can complete their application. Because unless
an application is deemed completed, you donít begin the time line for the
Department to take action. So thatís the first part of the bill.
The second part of the bill deals with the Pesticides Control Act,
and deletes some of the requirements of the registration program, again to try to
expedite processes that had previously existed. Itís been determined that there
is no longer as great a need for the process that existed in registration as there
had in the past.
So those are the two elements of this legislation that have been
introduced, that, hopefully, will help to improve and expedite the Environmental
Management and Accountability Program. These bills have been done on a bipartisan
basis, when I was Speaker, and have been helpful to all parties
concerned in meeting the requirements of the Department of Environmental
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Thank you very, very much,
We do have an expression of support from DEP, a letter from the
Commissioner expressing support for this legislation. And weíll make sure thatís
in the record.
Also, Iíd like to call, now, Michael Egenton, from the New Jersey
State Chamber of Commerce.
M I C H A E L E G E N T O N: Thank you, Chairman.
Just briefly, I wanted to acknowledge the work of the Committee;
you, Chairman; and Assemblyman Doria on this piece of legislation.
As it stands now-- The Chamber had some concerns, but as
amended -- with the current version of the bill, which I saw here this morning --
I can pretty much say that the Chamberís in support, and want to acknowledge
the history that Assemblyman Doria has behind this bill. And Iím glad to
support it, here, today.
So, thank you, Chairman.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Thank you very much.
Sara Bluhm, NJBIA.
S A R A B L U H M: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Also echoing what Michael had said--
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Why donít you identify yourself for the
MS. BLUHM: Sara Bluhm, New Jersey Business and Industry
Weíve also appreciated the hard work that this Committee has
taken up in recognizing some of the problems and hurdles that businesses have
to face with the Department. And I know Assemblyman Doria was there for us
with the initial drafting of this legislation.
And we appreciate updating and modernizing this as we go. As
many of the permits are going on-line, weíd like those checklists, as well, to be
there and make it more efficient, because itís quickly become an expensive and
drawn-out process for businesses.
So thank you for putting in this bill and for, hopefully, releasing
this today. We support this, as well.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Thank you very much.
I canít believe that you were there when Mr. Doria first introduced
Hal Bozarth, Chemistry Council of New Jersey.
H A L B O Z A R T H: Iím happy to say I was there, Mr. Chairman.
I just wanted to take a few seconds and remind everybody why itís
so important for Assemblyman Doria to have started this process, again.
In í91, the EMAP process was the first and, to my recollection, only
time the Legislature has used its powers to try to reformulate a process that has
been broke for the 20 years that I have been around, and I testified to that point
Just to bring you up-to-date, itís our understanding that, right now,
in the Department, there are over 1,000 permits backlogged in the air program,
1,000 permits backlogged in the water program, and over 4,000 companies
waiting for the finalization of their site remediation process. In other words,
backlogged. Clearly, a situation that knows no partisanship -- itís a systemic
problem. Thatís why the EMAP process was originally put in place, to try to
solve those problems.
What the Assemblyman is doing here, in the updating format, is
most welcome, and I commend him, once again.
I must tell you, when it comes to the technical manuals that the bill
talks about, Iím looking forward to working with Speaker Doria to develop
another bill, which will help even more in that area.
One of the problems that happens with people in the permit process
is they start; they get down the line six months, eight months; all their
paperwork is in; theyíve looked at the regulations; theyíve figured out how to do
it; and the Department will say, "Well, now we want you to do something
different." And when questioned, they say, "Well, itís a policy. Itís a
departmental directive. Itís not in the regulations, but we want you to do it
anyway, because thatís what we want you to do."
In many cases, that just prolongs the process, makes the permittee
start, in effect, over. In some cases, within our membership, weíve found people
who have already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for upgraded
equipment, got halfway through the permitting process, and had been told that
they need new things on the equipment that theyíve already bought, thatís
already on their site.
The theory behind Assemblyman Doriaís original technical manuals
bill was so that every piece of information would be in the hands of the
permittee before he started the process. What the Department has done is
continue to ignore that.
Weíll strongly suggest to the Assemblyman that his next attempt of
legislation be, to say that if information is not in the technical manual, or not
in the regulations, then the Department canít deny your permit when theyíve
changed the rules in the game, halfway through the process.
But for this moment, Assemblyman, thank you very much for your
continued help in this area.
I would like to point out that many of the manuals that were
supposed to have been completed by the Department still are not done after all
these years. Some of them are willfully out of date, and many of them need
additional work. What weíre saying is, we donít want to give people more work
to do. Weíre just saying do this work so that all of us can get through the
process quicker, and we donít have the thousands of permits that are
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Doria.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Thank you.
The areas of concern -- issues that you have discussed, obviously,
will be taken care -- are being taken care of in additional bills, etc. So weíre sure
that this will be satisfactory in the final analysis.
David Pringle. David Pringle, once; David Pringle, twice. David
Pringle does not seem to be here.
All right, we will give him a moment or two. He doesnít show up.
We will now have comments from the members on this legislation
that weíre considering this morning. (no response)
Do we have a motion?
ASSEMBLYMAN CRYAN: Make a motion to move it.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ-PEREZ: Second.
MR. VARI: On the motion to -- on Assembly Bill 3749,
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: Yes.
MR. VARI: Assemblywoman Myers.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN MYERS: Yes.
MR. VARI: Assemblywoman Cruz-Perez.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ-PEREZ: Yes.
MR. VARI: Vice-Chairman Cryan.
ASSEMBLYMAN CRYAN: Yes.
MR. VARI: And Chairman Payne.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Yes.
MR. VARI: Mr. Chairman, the motion caries. The bill is released.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you
for being the prime sponsor.
ASSEMBLYMAN PAYNE: Thank you, Mr. Doria, for all the
contributions youíve made in this area.
Thank you very, very much.
This meeting is adjourned.