November 16, 2012
NJSBA TRUSTEES REPORT
The following is a summary of actions taken at the Nov. 16, 2012 meeting of the New Jersey State Bar Association Board of Trustees at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick. This summary does not constitute official minutes.
Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts: The members of the governing body of the New Jersey State Bar Association volunteered to provide at least two free hours of legal help to residents with legal issues stemming from Hurricane Sandy through the Association’s Mass Disaster Response Program. The board members also said they would urge others in the legal community to provide assistance to members of the public with legal questions through a free public helpline the state bar association established. Since it opened, the helpline has been receiving over 50 calls a day from residents with questions about insurance claims, Federal Emergency Management Administration efforts and other issues related to the storm.
Anyone who wishes to volunteer can complete the form here: http://www.njsba.com/images/content/1/0/1006187.pdf.
To learn more about the Mass Disaster Response program, visit: http://www.njsba.com/mass-disaster/index.html.
Government affairs: On the legislative front, the trustees reviewed a number of issues, ranging from health care to wedding ceremonies. The trustees:
- Opposed S-1588, which would strengthen various statutory provisions for civil union couples. The trustees’ opposition to the measure is consistent with the association’s position in favor of full marriage equality.
- Opposed S-1881, a measure that sought to facilitate the making of health-care decisions for patients in a hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility who cannot make their own decisions. The bill was opposed out of concern that the legislation violates due process and is unconstitutional.
- Supported A-225, a measure that would exempt Holocaust reparations payment and money from estate recoveries under Medicaid from the legal process, except child support payments.
- Opposed A-2609, which would amend and supplement the New Jersey Parentage Act to provide relief from judgment and modification of child support orders under certain circumstances and requires paternity testing of all infants at birth. The trustees opposed it because the legislation would take away judicial discretion in paternity testing, which is often a fact-sensitive determination based on what represents the best interest of the child.
- Supported with high priority legislation the association drafted, that has not yet been filed, a bill that would clarify and streamline the process for succession and the removal of fiduciaries where the governing instrument provides a specific mechanism for doing so and there is no other opposition.
- Opposed S-1157, S-2155 and A-2201, a measure that would allow celebrants to solemnize marriages. The board members felt the legislation would allow the deregulation of the performance of marriages.
Member benefits: The trustees approved a new member benefit called Delete Me that helps prevent people from being tracked during online sessions. State bar association members can receive a discounted subscription for the service that scrubs address, age, political and religious views and other data from the Internet.
Municipal Court Practice: The trustees endorsed a resolution urging the state’s municipal courts to adopt statewide standards that would grant prosecutors the discretion to amend disorderly person charges to allow people to plead guilty to municipal ordinance violations that cover identical conduct of the disorderly persons charge. The association’s Municipal Court Practice Section put the resolution forward.