ACLU-NJ Legislative Efforts

The ACLU of New Jersey works year-round in Trenton and with local municipalities to support and promote legislation and policies that expand or protect our civil liberties and fights against bills that infringe on our freedoms. Listed below are some of the ACLU-NJ's legislative priorities.

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Bail System Reform

A1910 (Burzichelli)/S946 (Norcross)
Moves New Jersey’s bail system to a risk-based one and away from a wealth-based system that results in thousands of people facing long pre-trial jail sentences due to inability to afford bail. A system based on actual risk to the community—not ability to pay—better protects public safety, reduces jail overcrowding, keeps families together, and saves taxpayer resources.

Ban the Box

S2124 (Cunningham)/A1999 (Watson Coleman)
Prohibits large employers in most fields from conducting a criminal history inquiry of a job applicant until after a first interview

Breastfeeding Protections

S3189 (Weinberg)
Clarifies that New Jersey Law Against Discrimination includes protections for breastfeeding mothers and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for breastfeeding mothers.

Comprehensive Juvenile Justice Reform

S2003 (Pou)/A4299 (Sumter)
Raises the minimum age for waivers from 14 to 15; eliminates some less serious crimes from the list of offenses subject to waiver; creates presumption that waived juveniles remain housed with juveniles until age 21; provides right to counsel and enhances due process protections before juveniles can be transferred from juvenile detention centers to adult prisons; eliminates use of solitary confinement except to protect health, safety, or the operation of a facility; mandates data collection and public reporting regarding the use of waiver and solitary confinement.

Death with Dignity

A2270 (Burzichelli)/S382 (Scutari)
Affirms the right of terminally ill patients to self-administer physician-issued medication to end their lives in a dignified and medically-appropriate manner; contains safeguards to avoid coercion and ensure voluntariness and informed consent.

Democracy Act

S50 (Gill)/A4613 (Prieto)
Establishes Automatic Voter Registration through MVC; expands in-person early voting; modernizes electronic voter registration; expands vote-by-mail; expands voting access for military and overseas voters; enhances access to the polls for people with disabilities; enhances language access at polling places with significant population of non-English speakers.

DNA Collection for Low-Level Offenses

S393 (Sacco)/A428 (Jimenez)
Requires law enforcement to collect DNA samples from adults and juveniles convicted of certain non-criminal disorderly person offenses, including shoplifting and marijuana possession. This type of expansive collection will lead to massive government databases of New Jerseyans’ DNA, raising enormous privacy and due process concerns.

Drone Regulation

A1039 (Benson)/S2310 (Sacco)
Creates strong privacy protections for New Jerseyans regarding law enforcement agencies’ use of drones for surveillance purposes.

Earned Sick Days

A2354 (Lampitt)/S785 (Weinberg)
Requires each New Jersey employer to provide minimum earned sick leave to each in-state employee at an accrual rate of one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked; provides that earned sick leave may be used for diagnosis, care, treatment, or recovery from an employee’s or family member’s illness or injury.

Ending Overuse of Solitary Confinement

S2588 (Lesniak/Barnes)
Prohibits Department of Corrections from housing in solitary confinement people under 22, people with mental illnesses, people with developmental disabilities, and other vulnerable populations. Limits, except in emergency situations, the use of solitary confinement for other prisoners to 15 consecutive days or 20 days in any 60 day period. Mandates data collection regarding the use of solitary confinement.

Ending Prison-Based Gerrymandering

A659 (Cryan)/S480 (Cunningham)
Requires that the incarcerated persons be counted at their last known address before prison for political redistricting purposes, not the location where they are confined.

Expanding Access to Driver’s Licenses

A4425 (Quijano)/S2925 (Vitale)
Expands access to driver’s licenses to eligible undocumented drivers; expands list of documents needed to establish 6-point MVC identity and residency requirements for license; protects privacy of MVC data; limits use of card to non-federal purposes.

Exposure of Birth Parent Identities to Adoptees

S873 (Vitale)/A1259 (Prieto)
Grants adoptees and certain other persons access to original birth documents that would violate the confidentiality of the adoptee’s birth parents

Expungement Reform

A206 ACS (Green)/S2663 (Turner)
Reduces waiting period for eligibility for expungement of certain offenses; provides for automatic expungement of charges that did not result in conviction, as well as successful drug court graduates; expands eligibility of multiple offense expungement to one indictable offense and two disorderly persons offenses.

Financial Aid Equality

A3617 (Schaer)/S2359 (Ruiz)
Allows certain students, including undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria, to qualify for State student financial aid programs.

Government Funding of Religious Schools

A3055 (Vainieri Huttle)/S2042 (Weinberg)
Allows school districts to place special education students in religious schools.

Limits on Militarization of Police – AG Oversight and Reporting

S2365 (Gill)/A3754 (Johnson)
equires AG oversight of transfer of federal surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies; establishes review and reporting requirement.

Limits on Militarization of Police – Local Approval

S2364 (Gill)/A3901 (Johnson)
Requires local unit approval of applications for participation in federal 1033 program.

Marijuana Legalization

A3094 (Stender & Gusciora)/S1896 (Scutari)
Legalizes possession and personal use of small amounts of Marijuana for persons age 21 and over.

Medical Parole Expansion

A4337 (Schaer)/S3008 (Barnes)
Expands eligibility of medical parole to prisoners determined to be permanently incapable for performing basic daily functions of life and in need of 24-hour medical attention; creates presumption of release; requires medical parolees be provided assistance in applying for Medicaid upon release; requires Parole board to collect data on medical parole grants and denials.

Open Public Meetings Act Reform

S781 (Weinberg)/A2900 (Johnson)
Modernizes the Open Public Meetings Act

Open Public Records Act Reform

S782 (Weinberg)/A2763 (Johnson)
Modernizes the Open Public Records Act

Police Body-Worn Cameras

S2399 (Turner)/A3989 (Tucker)
Requires all law enforcement officers to wear body cameras; funds body cameras through civil asset forfeiture funds.

Port Authority of NY and NJ Transparency Reform - Open Meetings

S2181 (Gordon)/A3417 (Vainieri Huttle)
S2181 creates oversight and transparency rules for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, including the creation of an independent inspector general with subpoena authority, open meetings requirements, and other accountability measures.

Port Authority of NY and NJ Transparency Reform - OPRA

S2183 (Gordon)/A3350 (Vainieri Huttle)
S2183 extends open records laws to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Superstorm Sandy Transparency & Accountability

A2568 (Green)/S1306 (Sweeney)
Increases transparency and accountability in the Sandy rebuilding process by enhancing due process protections in recovery funds denial procedure; tracking grant allocations by race, ethnicity, and geography; providing for wider translation into Spanish and other languages of all recovery and rebuilding information and communications; allocating 60 percent of rebuilding funds to applicants of low or moderate income; granting access to the courts for wrongful denials.

Transgender Birth Certificate Discrimination

S1195 (Vitale)/A2659 (Vainieri Huttle)
Creates standards for amending the sex of a person on a birth certificate and eliminates the outdated and burdensome surgery requirement.

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