(First Reprint)



To the General Assembly:

     Pursuant to Article V, Section I, Paragraph 14 of the New Jersey Constitution, I am returning Assembly Bill No. 4342 (First Reprint) with my recommendations for reconsideration.

This bill would require every school district to develop and implement a policy that requires its students to carry a school identification card issued by the district while the student is at any school-sponsored, off-campus activity.  Under the bill, such activities would include field trips and interscholastic sports programs, but a student would not be required to carry the card while actually participating in an athletic contest or competition, or an activity involving fine arts or performing arts, or any other activity that the Commissioner of Education determines does not require the ongoing physical possession of the school identification card.  The bill would require the Commissioner of Education to develop guidelines concerning the information to be included on the identification card, including the student’s name, an “up-to-date” photograph, and the current school year.  Additionally, the bill would require each school district to develop and implement a policy requiring the compilation and filing of a list of the names of all students being transported by a school bus to a school-sponsored activity including, as noted, field trips or interscholastic sports programs.  Under the bill, this list would be required to be submitted to the school principal or her designee and maintained for use in the case of an emergency.

I am extremely proud that the Fiscal Year 2019 budget I signed this summer included the largest amount of financial support for public education in New Jersey’s history.  No investment is more important than educating our children.  As a father of four, I applaud the sponsors for prioritizing a supportive and, above all, safe environment in which to provide a first-class education.  I am advised by the Attorney General, however, that the broad and mandatory nature of the provisions of this bill could be subject to a successful unfunded mandate challenge because the legislation does not authorize resources to offset the additional direct expenditures for affected school districts to implement its detailed provisions concerning issuance of school identification cards.  Here, there is no cost estimate accompanying this bill, nor have any resources been provided to pay for the initial and annual costs associated with the various policies and requirements set forth in the bill.

     Therefore, I herewith return Assembly Bill No. 4342 (First Reprint) and recommend that it be amended as follows:

Page 2, Section 1, Line_7:           Delete “shall” and insert “may”


Page 2, Section 1, Line_18:          After “on” delete “the” and insert “an”


Page 2, Section 1, Line_19:          Delete “required” and insert “authorized”


Page 2, Section 1, Line_22:          Delete “The” and insert “A”


Page 2, Section 1, Line 22:          After “card” insert “issued in accordance with this section”


Page 2, Section 2, Line_27:          Delete “shall” and insert “may”


Page 2, Section 2, Line_31:          Delete “The” and insert “A”


Page 2, Section 2, Line 31:          After “bus” insert “compiled under a policy developed pursuant to this section”


Page 2, Section 3, Line_36:          After “enactment” insert “, but the Commissioner of Education may take any anticipatory administrative action in advance as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act”


[seal]                       Respectfully,


                                     /s/ Philip D. Murphy








/s/ Matthew J. Platkin


Chief Counsel to the Governor