All Public Sector Employees in New Jersey Will Have to Live In-State
By Melissa Maynard, Staff Writer
LIFE AND WORK: Governor Chris Christie signed a bill that will make New Jersey the first state in the country to require all public employees to live in-state. All public workers hired after September 1 will be required to live in New Jersey, with a year-long grace period for new hires to relocate. The law applies to everyone from professors at state universities to members of public commissions. "With this law we are simply saying that as a matter of policy, when it comes to providing public employment opportunities in New Jersey, we are looking to put our own residents first," state Senator Donald Norcross, one of the bill's sponsors, told The (Newark) Star-Ledger.
DROWNING IN DATA? A report from IBM's Institute for Business Value finds that some public sector organizations have more data than they know what to do with. While the amount of data available to government agencies has increased dramatically, most public organizations spend more time collecting and organizing it than they do analyzing it. "Governments are increasingly using analytics to consume, unlock and apply new insights from information, despite challenges with data," the report says. "Executives told us the "data paradox" — the dilemma presented by too much data, too little insight — is the biggest barrier to analytics adoption and use."
A HARD BARGAIN: Nevada state employees have never had the right to collective bargaining, and aren't about to get it, but that hasn't stopped labor relations from dominating the legislative session. According to the Las Vegas Sun , a current standoff pits Republican demands for changes to benefits and collective bargaining rights for county, city and school employees against Democratic demands for tax increases. Among the changes on the table is a Republican measure that would eliminate binding arbitration for these local workers and instead allow elected officials to vote to approve or reject contract provisions. Another GOP proposal would require labor contracts to reopen automatically if revenue in a locality falls by 5 percent or more for two years, and still another would prohibit supervisors from bargaining collectively.
WORKFORCE CUTS: If the budget bill passed by the Minnesota Senate this week were to become law, state government would shrink by 15 percent over the next four years, reports the Associated Press . The salaries of remaining state employees would be frozen. But the measure passed with Republican support only, and is expected to be vetoed by Governor Mark Dayton. The Republican legislature and Democratic governor are locked in a heated debate about whether additional revenue should be included in the budget to avoid further cuts to programs and services.
PRIVATIZATION: Michigan is considering outsourcing a range of government services to the private sector, reports the Lansing State Journal . Governor Rick Snyder has proposed privatizing prison food services, dairy farm and plant nursery inspections and resident care in two veterans homes, all in the hopes of saving money. Still, Snyder's approach to privatization has been far more targeted and less sweeping than the wave of outsourcing that took place under Michigan's most recent Republican governor, John Engler, the Journal notes. "I don't believe in simply privatizing things," Snyder said. "I believe in good open competition." The state Senate has also voted to privatize the processing of Medicaid and day care aid applications, which union officials say would lead to layoffs of several hundred workers in the Department of Human Services.