Order Code RS21793
March 31, 2004
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
New Jersey Emergency Management and
Homeland Security Authorities Summarized
Specialist in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
L. Cheryl Runyon and Kae M. Warnock
Government and Finance Division
The Emergency Services Act of 1972 sets out policy and procedures for the use of
the state’s emergency services to respond to natural and other catastrophes. The
governor’s Advisory Council for Emergency Services provides oversight of the state
emergency management plan, approves funding for disaster response, and recommends
changes to compacts to the legislature. The Municipal Natural Disaster Relief program
provides assistance to property owners who have no other means to repair property
following a disaster and return the property to tax rolls. The statute includes
radiological emergency preparedness statutory requirements. The continuity of
government provisions provide for interim successors for governor and the relocation
of the capital if needed.
This report is one of a series that profiles emergency management and homeland
security statutory authorities of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,
American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each profile identifies the more
significant elements of state statutes, generally as codified. Congressional readers may
wish to conduct further searches for related provisions using the Internet link presented
in the last section of this report. The National Conference of State Legislatures provided
primary research assistance in the development of these profiles under contract to the
Congressional Research Service (CRS). Summary information on all of the profiles is
presented in CRS Report RL32287. This report will be updated as developments
Entities with Key Responsibilities
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Governor: The governor is authorized to serve as commander-in-chief of the state
militia (N.J. Rev. Stat. §38A:2-1) and is authorized to assume control of “all emergency
management operations,” to be in command of an actual or imminent disaster or
catastrophe, and to delegate authority. The governor’s judgment in these matters is
considered conclusive (N.J. Rev. Stat. App.A:9-48; 9-51).
Governor’s Advisory Council for Emergency Services: The council consists of the
attorney general, adjutant general, commissioners of community affairs, environmental
protection and transportation, the president of the Board of Public Utilities, and the
executive director of state Public Broadcasting Authority. The council meets pursuant to
the statutory requirements, or the governor may convene the council when he issues a
declaration of emergency. The council reviews and recommends to the legislature
changes in compacts between the state and the federal government, or among the state and
other states; reviews and recommends changes in emergency master plans; encourages
and coordinates private intercommunity comprehensive services; authorizes spending
money from the fund for emergency relief or the reimbursement of municipalities and
counties for damages, including excessive costs resulting from the emergency or to
reimburse the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority for the cost of emergency
broadcasts; and uses manpower, facilities, and materials from state departments during
an emergency (N.J. Rev. Stat. §§52:14E-4,7, 8).
The Department of Environmental Protection and the Division of State Police are
required to adopt a state radiation emergency response plan to respond to a radiation
accident at a nuclear facility or during transportation of radiological material; establish
training programs and emergency operations centers; inventory the supply of temporary
housing; develop communications systems; prepare a public emergency response plan to
be updated bi-annually; and coordinate with other states (N.J. Rev. Stat. §26:2D-40).
Every municipality with a nuclear facility must prepare and submit to the county
government in which it is located a local radiological emergency response plan; local
plans must be reviewed at least every 18 months (N.J. Rev. Stat. §26:2D-41).
A county with a nuclear facility must prepare a radiological emergency response plan
that must be reviewed every 18 months (N.J. Rev. Stat. §26:2D-42).
The governor, in case of a natural disaster or imminent danger to public safety, may
order to active duty any or all of the state militia and maintain the forces on active duty
until the emergency has passed (N.J. Rev. Stat. §38A:2-4).
The commissioner of environmental protection, in coordination with the Office of
Emergency Management (OEM), must develop an early warning system for floods. The
OEM shall notify county emergency management organizations, police, and municipal
emergency management organizations of early flood warnings. When a decision is made
to evacuate, the OEM is to request broadcasts by local news media every 15 minutes (N.J.
Rev. Stat. §§58:16A-100, 101).
The governor is authorized to proclaim an emergency if a catastrophe exceeds the
capabilities of local authorities. When, in the governor’s opinion, the emergency period
has passed, he or she must issue a proclamation declaring the end of the emergency and
suspending emergency powers (N.J. Rev. Stat. App.A:9-51).
Types of Assistance
When declaring a state of emergency the governor is authorized to issue a “Notice
of Rent Protection Emergency” to restrict rent increases if “unconscionable rental
practices” are determined to be likely to occur (N.J. Rev. Stat. §2A:18-61.62).
In certain circumstances municipalities may need to supplement federal and state
disaster relief programs for residents with property damaged by floods, hurricanes, or
other catastrophes. Municipalities are permitted to provide limited grants to persons to
supplement insurance or federal or state loan programs to keep them in the community
and return the property to the tax rolls. The Department of Community Affairs is required
to develop rules and regulations for the municipal natural disaster relief grant program.
Under the program, a municipality is authorized to give grants (up to $5,000 maximum
per grant) to persons who own property and have no insurance to adequately cover
damages, and, for whom, repayment of low-interest loans would be an extreme hardship,
based on income and other financial circumstances. Grants may be used for repairs and
reconstruction of damaged property. A municipality must submit a grant program plan
to the Department of Community Affairs (N.J. Rev. Stat. §40:48-9.15).
The statute authorizes the governor to execute the Emergency Management
Assistance Compact (N.J. Rev. Stat. §38A:20-4 et seq.).
The governor is authorized to enter into agreements with the governors of bordering
states for protection in the event of an emergency affecting bridges, tunnels, ferries, and
communications facilities (N.J. Rev. Stat. §38A:17-1). The governor is authorized to
enter into agreements and compacts with other states for mutual military aid in an
emergency (N.J. Rev. Stat. §38A:18-2).
Compacts between New Jersey and other states may include provisions for a range
of activities, including joint military action against a common enemy; protection of
bridges, tunnels, ferries, communications facilities; support of civil defense; pursuit of
persons acting in the interest of an enemy government or seeking the overthrow of the
U.S. or state government; and immunity provisions and costs of response (N.J. Rev. Stat.
The Interstate Compact for Mutual Military Aid in an Emergency is codified (N.J.
Rev. Stat. §38A: 20-2).
The Interstate Civil Defense and Disaster Compact is codified (N.J. Rev. Stat. §38A:
Two or more municipalities may, by reciprocal ordinances, enter into agreements to
provide mutual police or firefighting aid in case of an emergency. An agreement may
provide for reimbursement, the selection of officers during a joint meeting, and
acquisition of land for a central office. A municipality may enter into agreement with any
authority created pursuant to an interstate compact for mutual police or fire aid (N.J. Rev.
Stat. §40A: 14-156.1). Officers responding outside their home municipalities have the
same powers, authority and immunity (N.J. Rev. Stat. §40A:14-156.2).
County emergency management coordinators may suspend mutual aid statutes upon
declaration of an emergency (N.J. Rev. Stat. §40A:14-156.4).
The statute established the emergency services fund that consists of appropriations
and additional funds from public or private grants and donations, plus income from
investments. The fund is administered by the state treasurer who makes payments from
fund (N.J. Rev. Stat. §§42:14E-5,6,9).
The statute authorizes municipalities to adopt bond ordinances, under specified
conditions, to meet an expenditure resulting from a disaster (N.J. Rev. Stat. §40A:2-7).
The tax collector of each local taxing district must advise property owners if their
property is eligible for federal flood insurance. If the owner has failed to purchase this
insurance, federal disaster assistance would not be available to cover such losses (N.J.
Rev. Stat. §54:4-64.1).
Continuity of Government Operations
Whenever, due to an emergency resulting from an enemy attack or a threatened
attack, it is impossible to conduct state government at the normal location in the city of
Trenton, the governor shall, by proclamation, declare an emergency temporary location
for the seat of government, within or without the state, and shall issue orders for the
orderly transition of the state government to the temporary location. The temporary
location remains the seat of government until the legislature establishes a new location
or locations, or until the governor declares that the emergency has ended and the seat of
government returns to its normal location (N.J. Rev. Stat. §52:1-1.1). All acts performed
at the temporary location, including the convening and meeting of the legislature in
regular, extraordinary or emergency session, are valid and binding (N.J. Rev. Stat. §52:
The Emergency Interim Executive Session Act provides for additional officers to
discharge the governor’s duties and the interim succession of governmental officers if
incumbents are unavailable. Emergency interim successors must take an oath of office
when necessary and may exercise powers and discharge duties only after an attack has
occurred; the successor continues in office until the elected and lawful incumbent returns.
The legislature, by concurrent resolution, may terminate the authority of emergency
interim successors. Persons on the list of interim successors can be removed or replaced
on the list by the designating authority, with or without cause. Any dispute is adjudicated
by governor, whose decision is final (N.J. Rev. Stat. §52:14A-1 et seq.).
The Commissioner of Banking and Insurance must review conditions in a disaster
area promptly in light of standards for financial institutions established by law. If, in the
commissioner’s determination, the emergency powers delegated in the statute must be
exercised, those powers will be exercised with regard to mortgage loan transactions for
the period of the emergency (N.J. Rev. Stat. §17:2A-4).
The statute provides that paid leave is provided for state employees to work for the
American Red Cross to a maximum period of 10 days per year, and for unpaid leave to
be granted for a maximum of 10 additional days per year. Disaster services must be
performed in the state for either a presidential or gubernatorial declared disaster (N.J. Rev.
Stat. § 11A: 6-11.1).
The governor’s council must reimburse the state Public Broadcasting Authority for
the costs of emergency broadcasts (N.J. Rev. Stat. §52:14E-8.1).
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Terms Defined in New Jersey Statutes, with Citations
N.J. Rev. Stat. §52:14A-3 (a)
N.J. Rev. Stat. §§38A:17-2, 38A:18-1,
Emergency interim successor
N.J. Rev. Stat. §52:14A-3 (b)
For Further Research
The citations noted above and other elements of the state code for New Jersey may
be searched at: [http://lis.njleg.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/om_isapi.dll?clientID=504130