New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

Capitol Report

March 25, 2013

 

This is a status report provided by the New Jersey State Bar Association on recently passed and pending legislation, regulations, gubernatorial nominations and/or appointments of interest to lawyers, as well as the involvement of the NJSBA as amicus in appellate court matters. To learn more, visit njsba.com.

 

2013 ROBERT B. MEYNER AWARD HONOREES

 

The New Jersey State Bar Association last week recognized several legislators for their efforts in advancing legislation that supports the association’s mission. The recipients were:

 

The Honorable Christopher J. Connors for sponsorship and support of legislation that safeguards the rights of serviceperson parents who must periodically relinquish custody of their children to fulfill their military duties.

 

The Honorable Stephen M. Sweeney for sponsorship and support of legislation which would standardize the statute of limitations for professional malpractice in New Jersey and legislation which would modernize the New Jersey Judiciary with an E-Court.

 

The Honorable Peter J. Barnes, III for leadership in connection with legislation that would modernize the New Jersey Judiciary with an E-Court and provide funding for Legal Services of New Jersey.

 

The Honorable Jon M. Bramnick for leadership as Assembly Minority Leader and for making himself accessible with regard to legislation of concern to the NJSBA.

 

The Honorable John J. Burzichelli for sponsorship and support for legislation modernizing practices of administrative law judges and the Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act, which was recently enacted into law.

 

The Honorable Vincent Prieto for leadership in sponsoring NJSBA-drafted professional malpractice legislation.

 

The Honorable Annette Quijano for leadership in sponsoring spendthrift trust and unlawful practice of law legislation.

 

RECENT ACTION IN TRENTON

 

Animal Law

A-2379 (Johnson) Establishes crimes of dog fighting and leader of a dog fighting network; amends RICO to add leader of a dog fighting network.  On March 14, 2013, Animal Law Section chair, Dr. Nancy Halpern, testified in favor of the bill which released with amendments to address the NJSBA’s concerns. He bill is now awaiting Assembly vote.

 

The NJSBA Board of Trustees, Legislative Committee and Animal Law Section all voted to support this legislation with amendments because it will strengthen animal protection laws, provide additional means with which prosecutors may pursue perpetrators and assist attorneys who represent clients and animal organizations with the victims of animal cruelty.

 

The NJSBA suggests amending Section I, c, however, to broaden the definition of “bait” to include all animals, not exclusively dogs. Therefore, reference to the word “dog(s)” should be replaced with “animal(s)”.

 

The NJSBA believes that animal fighting or baiting is a serious criminal enterprise, rife with unfathomable violence and cruelty. The passage of A-2379 will be critical in providing the means with which to improve the welfare of both animals and humans affected by animal fighting and aid in severely punishing the perpetrators of this criminal enterprise. Animal fighting and baiting is closely connected to other crimes including illegal drugs and weapons, gambling, aggravated assaults and gang violence. This bill allows prosecutors to use the RICO Act [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act) to aid in pursuing additional charges to animal fighting and thus better protect the victims of these heinous criminal acts.

 

Family Law

S-1470 (Kean) Expands domestic violence protection for adoptive parents.  On March 11, 2013, the bill was released from the Senate Judiciary Committee, referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

 

The NJSBA Board of Trustees and Family Law Section voted to support this legislation because it expands domestic violence protection for adopted parents.

 

Higher Education

S-1517 (Turner) Provides State, county, municipal, and school district contracts for professional services will be awarded pursuant to competitive contracting process. On March 18, 2013, the bill was amended on the Senate floor (34-0) and is awaiting the Senate vote.