Back in November 2022, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law S-2426 which requires public and nonpublic schools to provide to local law enforcement authorities all critical incident mapping data.

The bill, which aimed to assist first responders in an emergency, required schools to provide in electronic or digital form: aerial images of schools; floor plans, including room and suite numbers; building access points; locations of hazardous materials and utility shut-offs; and any other relevant location information.

Importantly, this data would be "verified for accuracy through an annual walkthrough of school buildings and school grounds."

Governor Murphy also signed into law S-721 which requires places of worship capable of seating more than 500 people to annually prepare and maintain an emergency operations plan in coordination with the appropriate local fire, law enforcement, and emergency response agencies.

The emergency operations plan is required to include, but not be limited to, a copy of the building plans or building layout that identifies the internal and external access routes of the place of worship. Law enforcement is required to utilize the emergency operations plans to prepare and train for mass casualty and active shooter incidents at these venues.

Both of these bills were sponsored by Assemblyman Gary Schaer, (D-Bergen and Passaic).

Schaer now sponsors S-3179 / A-2941 which has cleared the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee and now heads to the full senate.

This bill would lower the threshold requirements from places of worship capable of seating more than 500 people to those capable of seating more than 300 people.

More Lakewood shuls will now be included.


Under the provisions of this bill, along with their emergency operations plan, applicable places of worship will be required to submit “emergency mapping data” which includes an aerial image of the building; a geospatially referenced floor plan or building schematic; site specific labeling of rooms, suite numbers, and key features; locations of hazardous material and utility shut-offs; and any other relevant information.

This information is to be verified for accuracy by a person and provided to public safety officials electronically and in a printable format.

Assemblyman Avi Schnall has not yet announced whether or not he intends to support the bill.

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Anonymous said...

Why were shuls excluded from having to follow the laws that other houses of worship had to follow? They are not anymore special then any other house of worship!!

Anonymous said...


Shuls per se were not excluded any differently than other houses of worship of the same size.

Rather, the 2022 law imposed a requirement on all places of worship - including shuls - capable of seating more than 500 people.

Shuls were not specifically excluded from this law.

However, the law simply didn't apply to most shuls as most shuls are not capable of seating more than 500 people.

The new proposed bill would lower the threshold for all places of worship capable of seating more than 300 people.

This new proposal would include more shuls which are capable of seating more than 300 people.

ab said...

According to the planning committee there are no shuls with 300 seats. According to their math, most seats don't count.