Brothers and Sisters,
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, and I wish you all a happy and healthy 2016. I am happy to report that we were successful in stopping the five-year residency bill. To our liking, the governor used his veto pen on this bill on the last day before it would have become law.
Another serious issue the NJ FOP is fighting for is the reinstatement of the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) into the PFRS pension system. We thought this court case would have been heard by the State Supreme Court this past fall, but it did not happen. All the written briefs are in; we are just waiting for the court to hear the oral arguments. We are hoping the case will be heard in the spring and that the final decision will be out by the end of the year. The removal of the COLA in 2011, to date, has greatly hurt the older retired members in our pension system. We are hoping to be successful in this court decision.
The public safety unions, along with the AFL/CIO public unions, are working together to put a constitutional amendment to fund our pensions on the November 2016 ballot. To get this constitutional amendment put on the ballot, it first has to be approved by both the outgoing Legislature and the newly elected Legislature. The outgoing Legislature passed Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 184 in the Senate 23-16, and passed Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 3 in the Assembly 43-27 on January 11, 2016, the last day of the outgoing Legislature. These are two major preliminary victories that we will have to repeat with the newly elected Legislature in the near future. This amendment, if passed by the people, would require the state to fully fund our pensions, similar to the funding plan that the governor agreed with under the Chapter 78 law. The state would also be mandated to pay its pension payment quarterly.
When we get this amendment approved by the newly elected Legislature, then it is our time to sell it to the general public. We will need everyone to help: Get registered, and make sure that all your family and friends are registered to vote as well. To check your registration status, download voter application forms for your county or find your voting location, visit the Secretary of State’s website at http://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/voting-information.html.
November is right around the corner; we will keep you updated.
Robert W. Fox