Senate Passes Oroho Bill to Amend Price-Gouging Protections to Safeguard Consumers, Support Businesses
Legislation would put price-gouging protections in place for 30 days after a declaration of state of emergency, unless extended by the governor
The New Jersey Senate has passed legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho to protect consumers from price gouging during a natural disaster and support small businesses following a state of emergency declaration.
“The protections we put in place will deter businesses from taking advantage of consumers during a natural disaster by spiking prices for necessities, such as gasoline and groceries,” Senator Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) said. “However, many reputable small businesses have been negatively impacted because of the inflexibility of the 30-day time period. This bill will ensure business have the ability to be competitive following the end of an emergency declaration, while still protecting consumers from price gouging tactics that threaten their welfare and safety.”
The legislation, S-2321, amends existing law to provide that it would be unlawful for any person to sell any product at an excessive price for a 30-day period following the declaration of a state of emergency. It also allows for the Governor to extend the period during which the price gouging prohibition remains in force.
Under current law, excessive price increases are prohibited for a period that extends to 30 days after the termination of a state of emergency. An “excessive price” is defined as more than 10 percent above the price of the item or service as offered immediately before the state of emergency.
“This measure allows for greater flexibility because it lets the Governor tailor the price control period to specifically fit each emergency,” Senator Oroho said. “I think this will help us strike a balance between protecting consumers during a natural disaster and supporting businesses once the emergency is over.”