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  • NJ A4933
  • Establishes New Jersey Civic Information Consortium; transfers $20 million annually from New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority to consortium over five-year period.
In Committee
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/VetoedVeto Overridden
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill establishes the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium (consortium), which is to consist of the following member universities: Montclair State University; the New Jersey Institute of Technology; Rowan University; and Rutgers, The State University. The purpose of the consortium is to advance research and innovation in the field of media and technology to benefit the State's civic life and evolving information needs. The consortium is to be established as a nonprofit corporation that is an educational and charitable corporation incorporated, organized, and operated under section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code, and structured as a supporting organization to its member universities in a manner that the Internal Revenue Service would deem the consortium as a public charity. The consortium is to have a board of directors (board) that is to set strategic priorities and metrics to guide the consortium's grant‐making and other initiatives, as well as to approve grants. The board is to consist of 13 members as follows: two members appointed by the Governor; one member appointed by the President of the Senate; one member appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly; four members appointed by the president of each member university, each are to have background or experience in the field of journalism, media, or technology; and five members, appointed by a majority vote of the other eight appointed board members, of which one member is to represent the media sector, one member to represent the technology sector, one member to represent the nonprofit sector, and two members, not employed by the State or a member university at the time of their appointment, having demonstrated a record of commitment to public service and understanding the importance of media and technology to the State's future. The board is to appoint and employ an executive director who is to be the chief executive, administrative, and operational officer of the consortium and oversee the consortium's day-to-day operations, which includes working with the board to meet the consortium's goals and grant-making requirements, hiring and managing a limited number of program officers and administrative staff. The executive director is to employ who are to manage the grant-making process, which is to include soliciting, recommending, and processing grant proposals, working with grantees to ensure work on grant project ideas, and directing public engagement and evaluation efforts. To save on startup, operating, and ongoing administrative costs, one member university is to be responsible for housing the consortium and providing back-office support. The bill requires the consortium to be a collaborative effort among the member universities. Each member university is to focus its initiatives on one area of expertise and the board is to decide on each member university's focus of expertise in order to allow for greater collaboration among member universities, decrease competition for grants, and reduce redundancy of efforts. Member universities may collaborate on projects together, as well as seek out other academic institutions to partner with on seeking grants. A grant application is to contain certain criteria as stated in the bill. The consortium is to provide grants only for projects that achieve those goals expressed in the bill. A grant issued by the consortium is to be in the form of a grant agreement that is to include a provision establishing a set of metrics for assessing the goals contained in the agreement to ensure evaluation of a grantee project on how well those metrics are being met and any other relevant accountability measures. The bill requires the consortium to report annually to the Governor and the Legislature on the activities of the consortium and make the report available on the consortium's Internet website. The report is to include, but not be limited to: 1) a list of all grant applicants and approved grant applicants; 2) the grant amounts of approved grant applicants; 3) the amount of matching funds and types of in-kind contributions provided to approved grant applicants; and 4) a status report on the activities funded by an approved grant applicant. The consortium is to make available on its Internet website its grant-making criteria and other relevant documents. The bill requires the board, in conjunction with the executive director and program officers, to hold one public hearing annually in the northern, central, and southern regions of the State. The public hearings are to provide a forum for the board to report on how the public funds that the consortium receives is spent and to gather public input on what the consortium's mission should be and whether the consortium is meeting its mission. Public input is to be used to assess whether the consortium's grant-making metrics and process for issuing grants needs to be changed. The bill requires the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority (authority) to transfer $20,000,000 annually, over a period of five years to the consortium, from the proceeds derived from the authority's participation in the incentive auction of broadcast television spectrum conducted by the Federal Communications Commission, in order to provide start-up cost funding for consortium operations, grant-making, and otherwise carry out the purposes of the bill. The consortium is not to spend more than $20,000,000 per year of the $100,000,000 amount received from the authority.
Not specified
Introduced, Referred to Assembly Higher Education Committee  (on 6/5/2017)
Date Chamber Action Description
6/5/2017 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Higher Education Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified