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

Capitol Report

August 22, 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.90 (Codey) Appropriates $84,495,199 from the 2009 Green Acres Fund and the Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust Fund for local government open space acquisition and park development projects. On Aug. 3, S-2857 was signed by the governor.

P.L.2011, c.91 (Greenstein) Appropriates $14,818,787 from the 2009 Green Acres Fund and the Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust Fund for grants to certain nonprofit entities to acquire or develop lands for recreation and conservation purposes. On Aug. 3, S-2858 was signed by the governor.

P.L.2011, c.92 (Gordon) Appropriates $45 million from the 2009 Green Acres Fund and $12 million from the 2009 Blue Acres Fund for state acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, including Blue Acres projects. On Aug. 3, S-2859 was signed by the governor.

P.L.2011, c.93 (Benson) Appropriates funds to the Department of Environmental Protection for environmental infrastructure projects for fiscal year 2012. On Aug. 4, A-4055 was signed by the governor.

P.L.2011, c.94 (Mainor) Makes certain changes to the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust Financing Program. On Aug. 4, A-4056 was signed by the governor.

P.L.2011, c.95 (Albano) Authorizes the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust to expend certain sums to make loans for environmental infrastructure projects for fiscal year 2012. On Aug. 4, A-4057 was signed by the governor.

P.L.2011, c.96 (Dancer) Allows the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority to jointly run racetracks; conforms standard-bred racing days to off-track and account wagering law; decreases thoroughbred racing days at Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands to 71, with horsemen's consent. On Aug. 5, A-3710 was signed by the governor.

P.L.2011, c.97 (Gordon D38) Appropriates $10,250,780 from the 2009 Historic Preservation Fund and the 2007 Historic Preservation Fund to provide grants for certain historic preservation projects, and appropriates $600,000 from the 2009 Historic Preservation Fund for associated administrative expenses. On Aug. 15, S-2898 was signed by the governor.

Pending Legislation

The following is a list of bills near the governor’s desk. These are bills that have passed both house and are pending final vote in one house, or bills that have been vetoed by the governor and returned to the Legislature to make the governor’s suggested changes.

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

A-2722 (Burzichelli) (NJSBA supports) Modifies the process for contested case hearings by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL), with regard to telephone and video conferences, delegation of final decision authority, oral decisions, checklist decisions, electronic filings, and settlements. On March 10, the bill was released from the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

ANIMAL LAW

S-241 (Bateman) (Under review by the NJSBA) Creates the crime of threatening the life of certain animals. On March 7, the bill was released from the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote. 

S-1643 (Sweeney) Requires sterilization of all cats and dogs released for adoption from various facilities; updates the law concerning impoundment. On May 21, the governor’s conditional veto was received in the Senate.

S-1797 (Norcross) Allows students with disabilities to bring service animals to school. On June 23, the bill was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

A-3766 (Cryan) Creates the Market Competition and Consumer Choice Act, alters state regulation of competitive services provided by telecommunications and cable television companies. On Feb. 17, the bill was received in the Senate without a committee reference and is awaiting Senate vote.

CRIMINAL LAW

A-973 (Johnson) Creates the Juvenile Transfer Task Force to study, evaluate, and develop recommendations concerning the transfer of juveniles from the juvenile justice system to the adult criminal justice system. On Sept. 13, 2010, the governor’s absolute veto was received in the Assembly.

FAMILY LAW

S-799 (Vitale) (NJSBA supports as amended) Permits adoptees and certain others access to an adoptee's original birth certificate and other related information. On June 23, the governor’s conditional veto was received in the Senate.

LOCAL GOVRNMENT LAW

S-1248 (Rice) Requires a local unit or authority to provide the director of the Division of Local Government Services with a report concerning lawsuits to which it is a party before a budget is approved. On Feb. 12, the governor’s conditional veto passed in the Senate (36-1) and was received in the Assembly to concur with the governor’s recommendations.

MILITARY LAW AND VETERAN’S AFFAIRS

S-309 (Allen) Provides unemployment benefits for certain spouses of National Guard members. On Oct. 12, 2010, the bill was released from the Assembly Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

S-1358 (Oroho) Establishes a task force to study thr treatment of veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in judicial proceedings. On Dec. 13, 2010, the bill was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

REGULATED PROFESSIONS

A-1050 (Quijano) (NJSBA supports) Upgrades offenses of engaging in unauthorized practice of law; creates civil action; provides that persons convicted of the offenses are barred from appointment as a notary public. On March 10, the bill was released from the Senate Judiciary Committee and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

RENEWABLE ENERGY, CLEANTECH AND CLIMATE CHANGE COMMITTEE

S-463 (Smith) Authorizes creation of local renewable energy collaboratives and central renewable energy generation systems, and provides for sale of renewable power generation. On Sept. 13, 2010, the bill was released from the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

S-2126 (Whelan) Permits development of solar and wind facilities and structures on landfills and resource extraction operations under certain circumstances. On May 5, the bill was received in the Assembly to concur with the governor’s recommendations. 

A-2529 (Chivukula) Concerns energy efficiency and renewable energy requirements. On March 2, the governor’s conditional veto was received in the Assembly.

TAXATION

S-1124 (Van Drew) Prohibits the imposition of corporation business tax on certain foreign corporations carrying passengers into and out of state in a motor vehicle or motorbus. On June 13, the bill was released from the Assembly Tourism and the Arts Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

S-1540 (Buono) Consolidates certain business-related categories of gross income and provides a 20-year carry forward of certain net losses under the gross income tax. On Feb. 22, the governor’s absolute veto was received in the Senate.

S-2232 (Van Drew) Permits a chief financial officer to recommend reduced appropriation for reserve for uncollected taxes in certain circumstances. On Feb. 2, the bill was released from the Assembly Appropriations Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

SCHOOL LAW

S-834 (Codey) Establishes measures to deter steroid use among students. On Sept. 16, 2010, the bill was released from the Assembly Education Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

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.