Governor Murphy signed a number of bills into law on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 to help mitigate various negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The selection below illustrates new laws that specifically seek to facilitate the running of certain business operations as well as help licensed professionals, which may be of interest to a wide array of health care providers.
- Remote Notarial Acts: In order to keep various business operations moving, the Governor signed A-3903/S-2336, which allows remote notarial acts during a public health emergency and state of emergency as declared by the Governor in Executive Order 103. There are certain exceptions relating to family law and documents governed by the Uniform Commercial Code. This law is effective immediately, but it will expire once Executive Order 103 is rescinded.
- Remote Operations for Non-Profits: In what many nonprofit organizations may see as a welcome move Governor Murphy signed S-2342/A-3915, which amends New Jersey’s nonprofit corporation law to allow nonprofits to conduct certain corporate meetings using remote communication during a state of emergency declared by the Governor. Specifically, a meeting by the members may occur to the extent the board of directors authorizes and adopts guidelines and procedures governing such a meeting. The law is effective as of signing, and may be a useful tool for nonprofit organizations during this pandemic.
- Reactivating Professional and Occupational Licenses: Included in the package of bills was A-3901/S-2334, which permits professional and occupational licensing boards to temporarily reactivate licensure of certain individuals. The provisions are limited to when Executive Order 103 (declaring a public health emergency and state of emergency) is in effect and the activation period will be for so long as it is deemed necessary. Eligible individuals include those who were in good standing at the time of retirement. This law is effective immediately and is retroactive to April 1, 2020.
- COVID-19 Civil and Criminal Immunity: The Governor signed S-2333/A-3910, which provides civil and criminal immunity for certain health care professionals and facilities treating patients during a public health emergency and state of emergency. The immunity extends to those health care professionals or facilities that take action in good faith to treat COVID-19 patients, but does not include acts or omissions including those that constitute a crime, gross negligence, or willful misconduct. The law also allows for the Commissioner of Health to issue provisional certifications for certain health related professions, such as EMTs. While the law was signed on April 14, 2020, certain portions of the law relating to limitation on liability are retroactive as of March 9, 2020.
The passage of these laws not only shows New Jersey’s attention to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the fast-paced nature of developments in legislation and rulemaking in response to it. As the current state of affairs is constantly changing, please consult with counsel to obtain the latest developments.