In Governor Murphy’s January 14, 2020 State of the State address, the first-term governor promised to propose, in the coming weeks, reforms to the State’s ethics laws, financial disclosures, and pay-to-play laws. The Governor highlighted that it has been more than a decade since the Executive and Legislative branches “undertook comprehensive ethics reform.”
In the case of New Jersey’s pay-to-play laws, which impose restrictions and requirements on the political contributions of government contractors, there has been no change at the state level for now well more than a decade. (Keep in mind, though, that more than 150 New Jersey counties and municipalities have adopted their own local pay-to-play ordinances that govern eligibility for local contracts, with amendments to these local ordinances coming seemingly by the week.) This lack of movement at the State level comes even as the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission has repeated calls for a re-thinking of the State pay-to-play laws to increase consistency across the State and to empower political parties in an age of increased independent spending.
While the State of the State address did not delve into specifics of the potentials reforms, businesses and individuals that do business or wish to do business with the government will want to stay tuned for a potential sea-change in New Jersey’s ethics and pay-to-play laws.