N.J. Lawmakers Approve Bill Banning State Pensions for Lobbyists

January 10, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A bill barring newly hired employees of lobbying organizations from receiving taxpayer-funded pension and health benefits was approved by the New Jersey Assembly.

The bill (A-2499) revises a 1954 law that allowed lobbyists to acquire state pension and health benefits, according to Bergen County’s The Record. The bill would eliminate eligibility for any state-administered retirement system for newly hired officers and employees of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, the New Jersey Association of Counties, the New Jersey School Boards Association, any school board insurance group, any county college joint insurance group, any county or municipal joint insurance fund and any corporation designated to manage a special improvement district established by municipal ordinance.  

In addition, the legislation would eliminate pension enrollment for employees of those organizations who have less than five years of service credit. It would eliminate within 18 months the eligibility of all such officers and employees for healthcare benefits coverage through the State Health Benefits Program or through any healthcare benefits plan provided by the state or a political subdivision of the state.  

The bill would also prohibit any officer or employee of an educational foundation created by or on behalf of a higher education institution in the state for the purpose of receiving donations from becoming a member of the pension system on the basis of that employment  

The Record reported that taxpayers are giving $1.3 million a year to 62 retirees of the League of Municipalities, the School Boards Association and the Association of Counties. None of the three associations are part of state government.