SENATE, No. 2857

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

220th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 14, 2022

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  VIN GOPAL

District 11 (Monmouth)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes "Sustainable New Jersey Fund" in DCA to support certain sustainability initiatives; appropriates $1 million.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning support for sustainability initiatives by municipalities, school districts, and other State and local government contracting agencies, supplementing Title 52 of the Revised Statutes, and making an appropriation.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    The Legislature finds and declares that:

     a.     Sustainability training and support programs offered to local governments, school districts, and other governmental entities have been shown to result in significant cost savings to those who adopt sustainability initiatives.

     b.    New Jersey institutions of higher education have successfully partnered with New Jersey nonprofit organizations to develop and offer support and assistance to local governments, school districts, and other governmental entities.

     c.     Encouraging New Jersey municipalities, schools, school districts, and other State and local government contracting agencies to function in a sustainable, environmentally responsible manner and to use resources efficiently is vital to ensure a sustainable future of New Jersey and its residents.

     d.    It is in the State's interest to ensure the general welfare of the State and its residents by encouraging, and provide a stable source of funding for, the development of such partnerships and programs.

 

     2.    a.  There is established in the Department of Community Affairs a special non-lapsing fund to be known as the "Sustainable New Jersey Fund."  The department shall annually distribute moneys in the fund to a public institution of higher education that has an existing contractual relationship with a qualified nonprofit organization that offers certifications and grants to municipalities and public schools across the State in support of efforts to realize environmental, economic, and social sustainability.  A public institution of higher education that receives moneys from the Sustainable New Jersey Fund shall distribute such funds to a qualified nonprofit organization to support the provision of such certification and grants.

     b.    As used in P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) "qualified nonprofit organization" means a nonprofit organization that:

     (1)   is organized under, and governed by, the laws of the State;

     (2)   has a board of trustees with representatives from State agencies and formal representation from local government officials;

     (3)   has a formal contractual affiliation with a public institution of higher education for the purpose of providing sustainability research, consulting, and program support to entities contracting with the affiliated public institution of higher education for such service or support, and has at least five years' of experience operating under similar agreements; and

     (4)   has experience collaborating with State agencies, including at least five years' of experience successfully implementing a total minimum of $5 million of State contracts and grant awards through a contractually affiliated public institution of higher education.

 

     3.    The Sustainable New Jersey Fund shall be annually credited with money appropriated by the Legislature, which moneys shall be disbursed to the public institution of higher education that is partnered with a qualified nonprofit organization.  The qualified nonprofit organization that receives the funds from the public institution of higher education pursuant to the provisions of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall not be required to comply with the public bidding requirements of the "Local Public Contracts Law," P.L.1971, c.198 (C.40A:11-1 et seq.) or the "Public School Contracts Law," N.J.S.18A:18A-1 et seq. when contracting with a municipality, school, school district, and other State or local government contracting agency related to any services, certification processes, support initiatives, or grants of the qualified nonprofit organization for efforts to realize environmental, economic, and social sustainability.

 

     4.    There is appropriated from the General Fund to the "Sustainable New Jersey Fund," established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the sum of $1 million for the purpose of enabling continued support to municipalities and public schools in their efforts to create a more sustainable New Jersey. 

 

     5.    This act shall take effect 30 days following the date of enactment, but the Commissioner of Community Affairs may take any anticipatory action in advance of that date as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes the "Sustainable New Jersey Fund" in the Department of Community Affairs ("DCA"), makes an appropriation of $1 million to the fund for the current fiscal year, and directs the Legislature to annually appropriate additional moneys to the fund.

     Under the bill, DCA is required to annually distribute money in the fund to a public institution of higher education that has an existing contractual relationship with a qualified nonprofit organization, as defined in the bill, that offers certifications and grants to municipalities and public schools across the State in support of efforts to realize environmental, economic, and social sustainability.  The public institution of higher education is required to distribute the funds to the qualified nonprofit organization to support the provision of such certification and grants.  Under the bill, the fund is required to be annually credited with money appropriated by the Legislature, which moneys are required to be disbursed to the public institution of higher education partnered with a qualified nonprofit organization.

     Under the bill, the qualified nonprofit organization that receives moneys pursuant to the provisions of the bill is not required to comply with the public biding requirements of the "Local Public Contracts Law," N.J.S.A.40A:11-1 et seq. or the "Public School Contracts Law," N.J.S.A.18A:18A-1 et seq., when contracting with a municipality, school, school district, and other State or local government contracting agency for services, certification processes, support initiatives, or grants under the bill.