New laws that could soon affect you

A  recent report listed a series of bills that could be heading to the desk of Gov. Phil Murphy. Some are boring, others are quite intriguing. But all of them will have a direct impact on the communities that we at The Observer serve.
Here is a look at a few I thought would have the most benefit to West Hudson, South Bergen and Eastern Essex counties.
Narcan at schools
This bill, if signed into law, would require Narcan or a generic form of Narcan to be in every New Jersey school. It would also have to be present at any school-sponsored function. Nurses would likely be responsible for the administration of the drug if, God forbid, itís ever needed.
Given the series we’re in the midst of here at The Observer on the opioid and mental-health crisis in America, whilst it may seem a stretch for the opioid to be in schools, we’ve seen far too often that this epidemic has no boundaries or limits at all. This is a good thing and I, for one, hope the governor signs the bill into law.
Municipal payroll taxes
Though this only affects municipalities of 200,000 residents or more (for now, that’s you, Jersey City), if you work there, this bill would permit the city to impose a local payroll tax. So if you work in Jersey City, get ready. Your paycheck could soon be even smaller than it already is.
Daily recess at school
Under the proposed law, students in kindergarten through fifth-grade would be required to have 20 minutes of recess each school day. Honestly didn’t realize kids didn’t get recess anymore. Yours truly had it every school day through 12th grade.
Panic alarms at schools
While a bill of this nature begs for a worst-case scenario, we’ve seen countless instances of violence in schools. Isn’t it better to be safe than sorry? Panic alarms, which would be used for active-shooter situations, or lockdown situations, would allow for instant notification to local police departments that something is or may be wrong at every school in the state.
So often, we hear on the news at school shootings, that police response time is critical. Panic alarms would almost certainly guarantee minimal response times.
The only potential downside to such alarms might be that they’re used in instances where it might not be necessary to inform police. Still, I’d rather see a mistake made in setting off such an alarm over not having one at all should one be necessary.
Your support has been great
The response from the community to our multiple-part series about the opioid and mental health crisis in America has been overwhelming. Lisa Feorenzo and I have been collaborating behind the scenes to bring you the best possible stories in the series. While some of the stories have involved people who don’t live in our readership area, we still welcome stories and insights from you, our regular readers. If you’d like to share stories with us, please send an email to and we’ll be in touch with you. There is much more to come, so please stay tuned both in print and online.
That is all for now. Stay cool if you can this week. Stay safe. And see you back here in a couple of weeks.
The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Observer is management. Feedback is welcome and encouraged. Send an email message to Kevin Canessa at

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.