Steven Corodemus Authors Article on Governor Christie Vetoing Bill A-1578, "A Victory For Jobs And Consumers In New Jersey"
September 10, 2013
September 10, 2013 - As a former State Assemblyman, I was the prime sponsor of hundreds of bills that were signed into law. I also toiled on hundreds of other bills that never made it through the legislative process. For legislators, it is not a joyous occasion to have the Governor veto one of your bills. It takes a lot of time and energy to shepherd a bill through the legislative process to become law.
Yesterday, however, was a day to celebrate when Governor Christie vetoed A-1578. The Governor’s veto was a win for New Jersey jobs, consumers, and the State’s trucking industry, not to mention our robust air and seaport cargo industry.
The New Jersey Department of Labor currently has the power under existing laws to audit and penalize violators that corrupt the characterization of employees as independent contractors (IC) to evade the responsibility of providing employee benefits and protections. Employees are entitled to protection by various laws.
A-1578 was one of those “you are guilty until proven innocent” bills. It would have imposed severe civil penalties and possibly criminal sanctions on businesses and commercial drivers in New Jersey accused of misclassifying employees as ICs. This bill targeted the trucking industry.
In the trucking and delivery industry, the use of ICs is historic and pervasive. Many IC delivery services work for multiple companies. ICs can accept or refuse assignments. ICs negotiate costs for their services with the suppliers. ICs determine when and how the goods will be shipped. These are a few examples of the distinction between ICs and employees.
The messenger and delivery companies are the services that rush medication to your local pharmacies on short notice to fill your prescriptions, deliver and set up the big screen TV’s in your home or deliver your online purchases. Had this bill become law, it would have driven successful ICs out of business and raised the delivery service fees that we all pay directly or indirectly. Had the Governor’s action been otherwise, out of state businesses would have swooped in to fill the void thereby adding to New Jersey’s unemployment woes.
The Government Affairs Department of this law firm represented interested stakeholders in the defeat of this bill. To achieve success, it was important to learn about our clients’ industry. We had to work with our clients to craft a clear and meaningful message why they were opposed to A-1578. It was incumbent upon us to communicate this message to the Governor and his advisors for the protection of jobs and consumers in New Jersey. Furthermore it was important to be a team player and to ally our clients with others that were also dissatisfied with the bill to amplify the volume of opposition.
A-1578 and other proposed legislation and regulations are being tracked by the Government Affairs Department of this law firm for its clients, the business community and interested parties in the State of New Jersey.