ASSEMBLY, No. 444

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman† JERRY GREEN

District 22 (Middlesex, Somerset and Union)

Assemblyman† JON M. BRAMNICK

District 21 (Essex, Morris, Somerset and Union)

Assemblyman† JACK CONNERS

District 7 (Burlington and Camden)

Assemblyman† HERB CONAWAY, JR.

District 7 (Burlington and Camden)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblyman Scalera, Assemblywomen Tucker, Evans, Spencer, Assemblyman Chivukula, Assemblywoman Wagner, Assemblyman Diegnan, Assemblywomen Stender, Pou, N.Munoz, Assemblymen Coutinho, Giblin, Wisniewski, Assemblywoman Watson Coleman, Assemblyman Greenwald, Assemblywoman Vandervalk and Assemblyman Cryan

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Disqualifies member of board of education for conviction of certain crimes and requires member to undergo criminal history background investigation.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

††


An Act concerning the qualifications of a member of a board of education, and amending and supplementing various parts of the statutory law.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.† N.J.S.18A:12-1 is amended to read as follows:

†††† 18A:12-1.† Each member of any board of education shall be a citizen and resident of the district, or of such constituent district of a consolidated or regional district as may be required by law, and shall have been such for at least one year immediately preceding his appointment or election, he shall be able to read and write, shall be registered to vote in the district, and, notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:51-1 or any other law to the contrary, he is not disqualified as a voter pursuant to R.S.19:4-1 and has not been convicted of:

†††† any crime of the first or second degree;

†††† an offense as set forth in chapter 14 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, or as set forth in N.J.S.2C:24-4 and 2C:24-7, or as set forth in R.S.9:6-1 et seq., or as set forth in N.J.S.2C:29-2;

†††† an offense involving the manufacture, transportation, sale, possession, distribution or habitual use of a "controlled dangerous substance" as defined in the "Comprehensive Drug Reform Act of 1987," N.J.S.2C:35-1 et al. or "drug paraphernalia" as defined pursuant to N.J.S.2C:36-1 et seq.;

†††† a crime involving the use of force or the threat of force to or upon a person or property including, but not limited to, robbery, aggravated assault, stalking, kidnapping, arson, manslaughter and murder;

†††† a crime as set forth in chapter 39 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, a third degree crime as set forth in chapter 20 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, or a crime as listed below:

Recklessly endangering another person† ††††††††† †N.J.S.2C:12-2

Terroristic threats††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† N.J.S.2C:12-3

Criminal restraint†††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† N.J.S.2C:13-2

Luring, enticing child into motor vehicle,

structure or isolated area†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† P.L.1993, c.291

Causing or risking widespread injury

or damage††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† N.J.S.2C:17-2

Criminal mischief†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† N.J.S.2C:17-3

Burglary†††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† N.J.S.2C:18-2

Usury†† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† N.J.S.2C:21-19

Threats and other improper influence†††††††††††††††† N.J.S.2C:27-3 Perjury and false swearing†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††† N.J.S.2C:28-3

Resisting arrest†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† N.J.S.2C:29-2

Escape ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† N.J.S.2C:29-5;

 

†††† any crime of the fourth degree involving a victim who is a minor; or

†††† conspiracy to commit or an attempt to commit any of the aforesaid crimes.

†††† For the purposes of this section, a conviction exists if the individual has been convicted, at any time, under the laws of this State or under any similar statutes of the United States or any other state for a substantially equivalent crime or other offense.

(cf:† P.L.1987, c.328, s.1)

 

†††† 2.† N.J.S.18A:12-2.1 is amended to read as follows:

†††† 18A:12-2.1.† Each member of a board of education shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, take and subscribe:

†††† (1)† An oath that he possesses the qualifications of membership prescribed by law, including a specific declaration that he is not disqualified as a voter pursuant to R.S.19:4-1 and a specific declaration that he is not disqualified due to conviction of a crime or offense listed in N.J.S.18A:12-1, and that he will faithfully discharge the duties of this office, and also

†††† (2)† The oath prescribed by R.S.41:1-3 of the Revised Statutes.

†††† In the case of a Type I school district the oath shall be filed with the clerk of the municipality and in all other cases it shall be filed with the secretary of the board of education of the district.

(cf:† P.L.1987, c.328, s.2)

 

†††† 3.† Section 5 of P.L.1987, c.328 (C.18A:12-2.2) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 5.† Any member of a board of education who falsely affirms or declares that he is not disqualified as a voter pursuant to R.S.19:4-1, or that he is not disqualified from membership on the board due to conviction of a crime or offense listed in N.J.S.18A:12-1, is, in addition to immediate disqualification for office, guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

(cf:† P.L.2005, c.154, s.1)

 

†††† 4.† N.J.S.18A:12-3 is amended to read as follows:

†††† 18A:12-3.† Whenever a member of a local or regional board of education shall cease to be a bona fide resident of the district, or of any constituent district of a consolidated or regional district which he represents, or shall become mayor or a member of the governing body of a municipality, his membership in the board shall immediately cease; and, any member who fails to attend three consecutive meetings of the board without good cause may be removed by it.† Whenever a member of a county special service school district or a member of a county vocational school district shall cease to be a bona fide resident of the district, or shall hold office as a member of the governing body of a county, his membership on the board shall immediately cease.

†††† Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:51-1 or any other law to the contrary, whenever a member of a board of education is disqualified as a voter pursuant to R.S.19:4-1, or is convicted of [false swearing as provided in section 5 of P.L.1987, c.328 (C.18A:12-2.2)] a crime or offense listed in N.J.S.18A:12-1, his membership on the board shall immediately cease.

(cf:† P.L.1987, c.328, s.3)

 

†††† 5.† (New section)† a.† Each member of any board of education, within 30 days of election or appointment to that board, shall undergo a criminal history background investigation for the purpose of ensuring that the member is not disqualified from membership due to a conviction of a crime or offense listed in N.J.S.18A:12-1.

†††† b.† A member of a board of education shall submit to the Commissioner of Education his or her name, address and fingerprints taken in accordance with procedures established by the commissioner.† The Commissioner of Education is hereby authorized to exchange fingerprint data with and receive criminal history record information from the federal Bureau of Investigation and the Division of State Police for use in making the determinations required by this act. A member shall furnish his or her written consent to such a check as a condition of holding the office of school board member. The member shall bear the cost for the criminal history record check, including all costs for administering and processing the check, except that an elected member may use unexpended campaign funds to pay such costs.

†††† c.† The Commissioner of Education is authorized to:

†††† receive all criminal history data necessary to complete the criminal history records check as required pursuant to this section;

†††† receive all data in accordance with this section on charges pending against a member of a board of education who has previously undergone a criminal history records check; and

†††† adjust the fees set by the Department of Education for the criminal history records checks.

†††† d.† Upon receipt of the criminal history record information for a member of a board of education from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Division of State Police, the Commissioner of Education shall notify the member, in writing, of the memberís qualification or disqualification from holding the office of member of a board of education.† If the member is disqualified, the convictions which constitute the basis for the disqualification shall be identified in the written notice to the member. The member shall have 14 days from the date of the written notice of disqualification to challenge the accuracy of the criminal history record information. If no challenge is filed or if the† determination of the accuracy of the criminal history record information upholds the disqualification, the commissioner shall notify the memberís board of education that the member has been disqualified from membership on the board.

†††† e.† The commissioner is authorized to share all criminal history record information of a member received from the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the State Bureau of Identification with the appropriate court in order to obtain copies of the judgment of conviction and such other documents as the commissioner deems necessary to confirm the completeness and accuracy of the record.

†††† f.† Following qualification for membership on a board of education pursuant to this section, the State Bureau of Identification shall immediately forward to the Commissioner of Education any information which the bureau receives on a charge pending against a member. If the charge is for one of the crimes or offenses enumerated in N.J.S.18A:12-1, the commissioner shall notify the memberís board of education, and the board shall take appropriate action.† If the pending charge results in conviction, the member† shall be disqualified for continued membership.

†††† g.† The Commissioner of Education shall permanently maintain the criminal record and application documents on a member of a board of education.† All documents submitted by a candidate and all criminal history record information shall be maintained by the commissioner in a confidential manner.

 

†††† 6.† (New section)† Each member of a board of education holding office on the effective date of this act shall comply with the criminal history background investigation requirements of section 5 of P.L.†† , c.††† (C.††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) within 30 days of that effective date.

 

†††† 7.† This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill provides that any person elected or appointed to any board of education would be disqualified from service on the board because of a current or past conviction for any of the crimes that, under existing law, disqualify an individual from holding employment in a public school.† It provides that the oath of office taken by a member of a board of education prior to assuming office will contain a specific declaration that the member is not disqualified from holding that office due to conviction of one of those crimes or offenses.† A member who falsely swears or affirms that he is not disqualified due to a conviction would be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.†

†††† In addition, the bill requires each member of a board of education, within 30 days of election or appointment to that board, to undergo a criminal history background investigation for the purpose of ensuring that the member is not disqualified from membership due to a conviction of a crime or offense.† The State Bureau of Identification will immediately inform the Commissioner of Education of any new charges filed against any member who has previously undergone a background investigation.† The cost of the background investigation will be the responsibility of the school board member, but unexpended campaign funds may be used for this purpose.† A board member holding office on the billís effective date must undergo a background investigation within 30 days.† †††† Under existing law, a candidate for election to a board of education, when filing a nominating petition, must certify that the candidate is legally qualified to hold that office. †Making a false statement made in connection with a nominating petition is a crime of the fourth degree.