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October 29, 2020
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  
There has been a lot of uneasiness around mailing in ballots in the news recently. If you plan on mailing in your ballot, did you know you can visit this site and track the status of your ballot to see if it's been received? Just follow the instructions below:
  1. Scroll down and click the green button that says "Set Up My Voter Record Account"
  2. If you registered in NJ AFTER January 2006, you can sign up with your Drivers License number
  3. If you registered in NJ BEFORE January 2006, you will likely need your Voter ID number
  4. Search voter registration records for your Voter ID number here: https://voter.svrs.nj.gov/registration-check
4. Once you've created your account and log in, click the blue button that says "Mail-In Ballot History." Then make sure your Ballot status says "Received."

I've done this myself and I can confidently report to you that it works. It shows the date the ballot was received and recorded. 

When you complete your ballot, make sure to closely follow the instructions on your ballot, and once you have completed it you can put it in the mail. In New Jersey the ballot only needs to be postmarked by Election Day, it does not need to be delivered by Election Day, as in other states. It does need to arrive at the County Clerk's Office by November 10th, however. Another option is to drop your ballot in a designated Ballot Drop Box, which are monitored by video and the ballots collected daily. You can find the nearest drop box at this website. 

You also have the option of dropping your ballot off at your local polling place on Election Day. Be aware that many traditional polling places will not be open this year, although every municipality is required to have at least one. If you show up to a polling place on Election Day and ask to vote, you will not be able to vote in a voting machine. You will be able to privately fill out a paper provisional ballot. This ballot will be marked as provisional and will not be opened until at least November 11th, in order to ensure that you did not also mail in your ballot in an attempt to vote twice. Only after November 11th, if a mail in ballot has not been received will provisional ballots be counted. I know many people want to vote in a voting machine on Election Day like always, but due to the current COVID crisis, and under the changes made by Governor Murphy and the Legislature, you will not be able to do so this year. There is a risk that unhappy voters showing up at a smaller number of polling places and demanding to vote on machines may make the lines longer than normal, especially since people will need to be social distancing. Both political parties in New Jersey are stressing that all voters should return their ballots via drop boxes as soon as possible, and not go to the polling place. 

Just as we were putting the finishing touches on this week's newsletter, Governor Murphy released Executive Order 192. The goal of this EO appears to be to put all of the state's COVID-19 mandates for the workplace into a single executive order to make it easier for them to enforce. You can read the full Executive Order HERE. The full provisions go into effect at 6am on Thursday, November 5th. The state Department of Labor will be setting up a way for employees to report employers who are not following the mandates and send inspectors out to ensure compliance. The DOL has also promised to provide more materials to further clarify how employers can stay in compliance, although it didn't have anything ready at the time of the announcement of this EO. 

Below is a summary of the requirements for your business. Most of these you should already be following. The new requirement though is that the employer is responsible for having conducted a daily health check for all employees prior to the start of their shift. Frustratingly, the EO is very vague on what exactly the employer needs to do to fulfill this requirement. Hopefully there will be more clarification, but in the meantime we prepared this basic form to use, based on a sample self-assessment screening created by the Washington State Department of Health in July. Make sure you keep these results private and do not allow other employees to see them. 
  • Effective 6am Thursday November 5. 
  • Employer must require that individuals at the worksite maintain at least six feet of distance from one another to the maximum extent possible
    • Where the nature of an employee's work or the work area does not allow for six feet of distance to be maintained at all times, employers shall ensure that each such employee wears a mask and shall install physical barriers between workstations wherever possible.
  • Employer must require everyone entering the business wear a facemask while on the premises
    • Employees 
      • May remove a mask if their workstation is 6 feet away from all other individuals (or alone in a walled office)
      • Employer must offer a face mask to all employees at no cost to the employee
      • Employers have the ability to deny entry to the worksite for an employee who refuses to wear a mask. If an employee claims they cannot wear a mask because of a disability, the employer is free to require the employee to provide a doctor's note saying so. 
    • Customers
      • Employers are able to deny entry to customers without a face mask, but if the customer claims they have a disability that prevents them from wearing one, the business cannot require them to provide proof. 
  • Provide Sanitization materials, such as hand sanitizer (60% alcohol or more) and/or sanitizing wipes to employees and customers at no cost.
  • Ensure that employees practice regular hand hygiene and provide them with access to hand washing facilities and the time to wash them on a regular basis. 
  • Routinely clean and disinfect all high-touch areas
  • Prior to each shift, conduct daily health checks of employees such as a self-assessment checklist, temperature screenings, or visual symptom checking
  • Immediately separate and send home employees who "appear to have symptoms" consistent with COVID-19, whether it is when they arrive at work or become sick during the day. 
    • Promptly notify all employees of any "known exposure" at the worksite 
    • Clean and disinfect the worksite
  • Enforcement
    • DOL will create a spot on their website for employees to complain about employers not following the rules and will send people out to investigate. 
    • They should develop a process that will give employers the opportunity to correct any noncompliance
    • DOL must develop compliance training for employers and employees as well as notices and informational materials.
    • Violation is a "disorderly persons offense", punishable by a fine of up to $1,000
I have said before that most laws in New Jersey were adopted from other state's bad ideas. Massachusetts is an exception and was the state that broke through the Right to Repair issue when the original legislation was put on the ballot for the voters to decide in 2012. You may remember that New Jersey played a significant role in the MOU being signed by the car manufacturers because we were the only state that had passed it through one half of the legislature twice. Once Massachusetts voters voted with an 80% margin that they wanted it, the car manufacturers knew it would happen in New Jersey and for fear of having fifty laws in fifty states, agreed to the Memorandum of Understanding. We are looking to the voters of Massachusetts once again; it appears as if the Right to Repair dealing with telematics will pass next week. Telematics is what enables the car manufacturers to contact motorists and direct them to a dealership when a problem is detected through the vehicle's computer system. This process of directing motorists to the dealerships will cut out small business repair shops. I expect we will be making this an issue again in New Jersey, and we will need the support of every shop owner in the state to make it happen. Stay tuned for more on this.
We recently learned of a crackdown from New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control on wholesale liquor and package goods storeowners colluding together to prevent fair competition. This news only further bolsters our case for creating fair competition in a state with antiquated liquor laws that favors big retailers. We are currently making sure that key legislators on our side are aware of this issue and are working on setting up conferences to see how we can capitalize on the news of the crackdown.
This is your final reminder for Phase 3 of the NJ Economic Development Authority (EDA) grant. The deadline for pre-registration was Tuesday Oct. 27 at 5pm, if you did not complete your pre-registration process, you will not be able to apply for Phase 3. If your business has five or fewer full time equivalent (FTE) employees, your application window opens Friday, Oct 30 at 9am. If you have between six and fifty FTEs, your window opens Monday November 2nd at 9am. We expect that the money they have allocated will all be taken within the first two hours or so, so make sure you are fully prepared and ready at 9am (there has only been enough funds allocated for about 5,000 businesses total). Thankfully, the EDA has published a sample of the application process online, which you can study and prepare all the answers for in advance. They also posted a video walkthrough of how to fill out that application, if you have more questions. You can find both on the main webpage for the grant

This is also the website to visit when the applications launch. 
Be Well -  
Sal Risalvato
Executive Director




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All classes held at NJGCA HQ -- 4900 Route 33 West, Wall Township, NJ 07753

Contact Nick De Palma at Nick@njgca.org to inquire on additional class dates



  News Around The State  

Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order to Protect New Jersey's Workforce During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The executive order will require both private and public sector employers to follow health and safety protocols that will serve to protect their in-person workforces.  The Order mandates that as of 6:00 a.m. on November 5th, all employers, at minimum, require individuals at the worksite to maintain at least six feet of distance from others to the maximum extent possible and require employees and visitors to wear masks when entering the worksite, subject to certain limited exceptions.

A Solution To Save Small Businesses From A Looming Tax Hike | Opinion
The huge amount of unemployment benefits paid out during the pandemic in New Jersey depleted the state's Unemployment Trust Fund at record speed. Our state and others are now borrowing from the U.S. Treasury so the unemployed can still receive checks. As a result, the Office of Legislative Services recently estimated that New Jersey's employer payroll taxes, which go up when the fund drops, would have to increase by almost a billion dollars next year. That office says the tax, which is a percentage of payroll, would rise from 0.7% to 1.1%. To better understand the impact of that tax increase on small businesses, we consulted an expert at Strategic Services on Unemployment and Workers' Compensation. The average cost of the per-employee tax will increase by about $280 a year. For example, if you own a New Jersey construction company with 60 employees, the yearly unemployment tax goes up by around $16,800. That is significant, especially now. And, when you consider restaurants that were shuttered for months and continue to face capacity limits, such a tax hike could be a killer.

Automakers Shift Hydrogen Focus From Cars to Semis
Automakers have spent decades developing hydrogen fuel cells as a sustainable alternative for use in cars. But now, they're turning their attention to semi-trucks, according to the Wall Street Journal. Fuel cells draw hydrogen gas from tanks on board the truck, mix it with oxygen and convert it to electricity, which drives the vehicle's motor. This process eliminates the need to store power in heavy stacks of batteries, and it releases only water vapor into the atmosphere. With the availability of hydrogen fuel, trucks could stay on the road for days, which would be a big advantage for trucks that travel long distances and need to refuel quickly.

'It's A Desperate Moment': Newark Mayor Imposes New COVID Restrictions As Cases Surge
New Jersey's largest city is starting to wind back the clock on its economic reopening, the clearest indication yet the Garden State's recovery from the pandemic's first wave is at risk of regressing. . . With coronavirus cases spiking statewide, Baraka on Monday morning ordered non-essential businesses and restaurants in Newark to close their doors at 8 p.m., effective Tuesday. Beauty salons, nail salons and barbershops will only be able to offer their services by appointment and gyms and health clubs have been ordered to close for at least 30 minutes each day for sanitization.

Bill Targets Sales of Gas-Powered Vehicles
This week, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) introduced the Zero-Emissions Vehicles Act of 2020 (ZEV), which seeks to eventually prohibit the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger vehicles by 2035, Oil Price Information Service reports. The legislation follows California Governor Gavin Newsom's executive order signed last month to ban sales of new cars and trucks powered by gasoline or diesel by 2035-all new vehicles sold in the state must be zero emission by that date. The Merkley-Levin bill would mandate 50% of new passenger vehicle sales be zero emission by 2025, with 5% increases each year after to hit 100% by 2035. To achieve compliance, the measure would generate a tradable credit market to give automobile manufacturers a credit per ZEV deliverable for sale in the U.S. Auto companies unable to meet ZEV targets could purchase credits from companies exceeding the percentages. Credit overages could be held for five years, but all would need to be used by 2035.

N.J. Businesses Face $919m Unemployment Tax Hike Next Year. Lawmakers May Soften The Blow
New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill to soften the blow of a massive unemployment payroll tax increase businesses will be hit with next year to replenish an unemployment trust fund drained during the pandemic. More than 1.7 million New Jersey workers have sought unemployment benefits since mid-March, when Gov. Phil Murphy effectively shut down the state to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The state's Unemployment Trust Fund has since paid out more than $5.4 billion to people out of work, even taking out a loan from the federal government.


  Energy Information Agency Weekly Retail Gasoline Prices  
Each week, the Energy Information Administration publishes a list of average gasoline prices for the previous three weeks. NJGCA will begin including this list with the Weekly Road Warrior. Remember, these prices are reflective of self-serve everywhere except NJ.


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