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

Capitol Report

August 15, 2011

This is a status report on recently passed and pending legislation, regulations, gubernatorial nominations and/or appointments of interest to lawyers. The report may also include information about appearances of NJSBA representatives before legislative committees, and the involvement of the NJSBA as amicus in appellate court matters. The government affairs department of the New Jersey State Bar Association prepared the information. Following each bill number is the sponsor's name, the NJSBA position, if any, bill description and status. Full and previous versions of the Capitol Report with links to related text are available online at www.njsba.com.

New Laws

P.L.2011, c.89 (Lesniak) Makes various changes to the urban transit hub tax credit program concerning mixed use projects, in-state job relocation, tax credit and investment criteria, and affordable housing; makes certain New Jersey Meadowlands area properties eligible for incentive grants. On July 26, S-2972 was signed by the governor.

On the Governor’s Desk

ANIMAL LAW

S-2923 (Sweeney) Establishes a pilot program concerning sterilization of cats and dogs released for adoption from various facilities, and updates the law concerning impoundment. On June 29, the bill passed in the Assembly (69-8-1) and was sent to the governor.

CRIMINAL LAW

S-737 (Sacco) Expands the DNA database to include samples from certain violent arrestees. On June 29, the bill passed in the Assembly (66-3-9) and was sent to the governor.

S-972 (Allen) Clarifies that sexual assault victims are not responsible for any costs of forensic sexual assault examinations or related services. On June 23, the bill passed in the Assembly (78-0) and was sent to the governor.

S-2829 (Girgenti) Establishes Pamela's Law; criminalizes the possession and sale of mephedrone and methylenedioxpyrovalerone, commonly known as MDPV or ‘bath salts.’ On June 29, the bill passed in the Assembly (75-2) and was sent to the governor.

A-1561 (Lampitt) Permits a diversionary program for juveniles who are criminally charged for sexting or posting sexual images. On June 29, the bill passed in the Assembly (78-0) and was sent to the governor.

ELDER AND DISABILITY LAW

S-2197 (Ruiz) (NJSBA supports) Creates the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Act; provides for the use of physician orders for life-sustaining treatment forms and requires physicians and advanced practice nurses to pursue continuing education in end-of-life care. On June 29, the bill passed in the Assembly (60-6-0) and was sent to the governor.

S-2199 (Ruiz) Establishes the New Jersey Advisory Council on End-of-Life Care in the Department of Health and Senior Services. On June 29, the bill passed in the Senate (36-0) and was sent to the governor.

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

S-1815 (Smith) Establishes the Ocean County Stormwater Management System Demonstration Act. On June 27, the bill passed in the Senate (22-16) and was sent to the governor.

FAMILY LAW

A-1748 (Watson Coleman) Expands the membership of the Domestic Violence Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board. On June 29, the bill passed in the Senate (39-0) and was sent to the governor.

PUBLIC UTILITIES

A-906 (Chivukula) (NJSBA takes no position) Provides for equal opportunity for prospective business applicants from all areas of the state to apply for and receive incentives or funding under programs the Board of Public Utilities determines shall be funded by the societal benefits charge imposed pursuant to Section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60). On June 29, the bill passed in the Senate (37-0) and was sent to the governor.

REAL PROPERTY TRUST AND ESTATE LAW

A-359 (Schaer) Creates the Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act; requires foreclosure consultants and distressed property purchasers, who contract with owners of residential properties in financial distress, to adhere to certain practices in providing foreclosure prevention services to owners. On June 29, the bill passed in the Assembly (77-0) and was sent to the governor.

REGULATED PROFESSIONS

S-2164 (Sweeney) Makes various changes to several laws that affect the regulation and business operations of employee leasing companies, or professional employer organizations (PEOs). On June 29, the bill passed in the Senate (38-0) and was sent to the governor.

SCHOOL LAW

A-3399 (Wagner) Allows the parent of a public school pupil eligible for transportation services to waive the pupil's right to those services for the school year. On June 29, the bill passed in the Senate (39-0) and was sent to the governor.

TAXATION

A-2286 (Johnson) Provides for voluntary contributions by taxpayers on gross income tax returns for New Jersey National Guard members and their families in need of assistance. On June 29, the bill passed in the Senate (38-0) and was sent to the governor.

WOMEN IN THE PROFESSION

S-2665 (Weinberg) (NJSBA supports) Repeals obsolete statutes concerning the status of women. On June 29, the bill passed in the Assembly (78-0) and was sent to the governor.

Regulatory Matters

The following rules were recently adopted:

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

N.J.A.C. 1:12 and 1:12A Readopts (with amendments) Office of Administrative Law, Labor and Workforce Development, rules regarding special hearings to provide parties with procedures and standards to follow in unemployment compensation, state plan family leave insurance, and state plan temporary disability insurance appeals before the Board of Review and the appeal tribunals, and in private plan temporary disability insurance and private plan family leave insurance appeals before a hearing officer. The appeal procedures provide parties with an equitable, uniform and needed opportunity to pursue their cases as required by federal and state unemployment and temporary disability laws.

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

N.J.A.C. 7:1D Readopts (with amendments) Department of Environmental Protection rules that set forth the procedures to petition for a rule; the rules regarding debarment, suspension and disqualification from department contracting; and rules regarding extension of the comment period and public hearings on proposals and quarterly rulemaking calendar.

Note: "Under review by the NJSBA" means that the bill is currently being examined by NJSBA sections, committees and/or Board of Trustees and a final position has not yet been reached on the measure.