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

Capitol Report

August 8, 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.

REORGANIZATION PLANS

The governor filed the following reorganization plans with the secretary of state on June 29. These plans will become effective 60 days from the filing date, unless both the Senate and the Assembly disapprove by passing a concurrent resolution stating in substance that the Legislature does not favor the reorganization plan. Otherwise, this plan will have the force and effect of law:

Reorganization Plan No. 001-2011 Eliminates the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH), transferring its functions and duties to the Department of Community Affairs. The move implements recommendations of the Red Tape Review Group created by Executive Order No. 3, reducing costs and promoting more efficient operations of the regulatory agency. The elimination of COAH is also consistent with the recommendations of the Housing Opportunity Task Force created by Executive Order No.12.

Reorganization Plan No. 002-2011 Transfers the State Planning Commission and the Office of Smart Growth from the Department of Community Affairs to the Department of State. The shift will promote greater efficiency and effectiveness of planning for economic growth and coordination responsibilities of these state planning entities.

Reorganization Plan No. 003-2011 Moves the Business Retention and Attraction Division of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to the Department of State. The transfer will promote more efficient operations while streamlining the management and implementation of important business-related priorities to create jobs in New Jersey.

Reorganization Plan No. 004-2011 Relocates the Amistad Commission from the Department of State to the Department of Education. Since the commission is charged with assisting educators in implementing a history curriculum about the African slave trade and slavery in America and New Jersey, this move will improve efficiency and quality in the performance of its responsibilities.

Reorganization Plan No. 005-2011 Eliminates the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and transfers the powers, functions and duties of the commission to the secretary of higher education. The plan furthers the recommendations of the New Jersey Higher Education Task Force created by Executive Order No. 26, chaired by Governor Thomas H. Kean. In its December 2010 report, the task force specifically noted the immediate need for reform of the state’s higher education governance structure to improve coordination, effectiveness, and accountability in service of New Jersey’s students and residents. Governor Chris Christie appointed Rochelle Hendricks secretary of higher education on May 12, 2011. The secretary of higher education is supported by the governor’s Higher Education Council, created by Executive Order No. 52.

Regulatory Matters

Below please find proposed regulations with a deadline for comment of Sept. 30, unless otherwise noted:

BANKING LAW

N.J.A.C. 3:5 Proposes readoption and amendments to Department of Banking and Insurance rules governing fees and annual reports. The department also proposes to amend references to various licenses and licensees in response to the enactment of the New Jersey Residential Mortgage Lending Act in P.L. 2009, c. 53.

CHILDREN’S RIGHTS

N.J.A.C. 13:90A Proposes new Juvenile Justice Commission rules to formalize procedures for creating and administering juvenile and facility accounts; reporting losses of funds; reimbursing juveniles for lost, damaged or destroyed property; and administering proposed gifts to the commission.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

N.J.A.C. 13:45C-2 and 3 Proposes new Division of Consumer Affairs rules regarding uniform regulations, which authorizes the division, all boards, committees and units within the division, and the Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission to waive specific regulatory requirements for reasons of undue hardship, economic or otherwise, at the request of their licensees, applicants and regulated persons and businesses, so long as the waiver is consistent with the underlying purposes of the agency's laws and rules and sought in a timely manner.

CRIMINAL LAW

N.J.A.C. 13:98 Proposes new Juvenile Justice Commission rules to establish procedures for suicide prevention at all commission facilities, including provisions for staff training, facility-specific suicide prevention plans, annual reviews of those plans, housing standards, transportation of potentially suicidal or suicidal juveniles and required notifications and debriefings.

INSURANCE LAW

N.J.A.C. 11:3-4.7A, 4.7B, 29.5 and 11:3-29 Appendix, Exhibits 1 through 6 Proposes new rules and amendments to Department of Banking and Insurance, Office of Property Casualty, rules regarding personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, dispute resolution, and medial fee schedules.

N.J.A.C. 11:15-7 Proposes new Department of Banking and Insurance, Office of Solvency Regulation, rules regarding state college risk management groups.

N.J.A.C. 11:17B-3.2 Proposes amendments to Department of Banking and Insurance, Office of Consumer Protection Services, rules regarding insurance producer standards of conduct and service fees.

REAL PROPERTY TRUST AND ESTATE LAW

N.J.A.C. 11:5-1.1, 1.3, 1.5, 2, 3, 4.1, 4.4, 4.5, 5.5, 6.1, 6.8, 7.1, 7.2, 7.4, 8.2 and 9.6 Proposes changes to Department of Banking and Insurance, Division of the New Jersey Real Estate Commission, rules to assure that individuals licensed as referral agents have a basic knowledge of brokerage practices and applicable laws and rules, and are subject to the regulatory oversight of the commission with respect to their advertising and referral activity.

N.J.A.C. 13:40A-7.1 Proposes amendments to Division of Consumer Affairs, State Board of Real Estate Appraisers, rules regarding modification of the annual registry fee. On Oct. 13, 2010, the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council approved a modification of the annual national registry fee from $25 to $ 40 under the authority of the Dodd-Frank Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

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, which set forth the procedures to petition for a rule; the rules regarding debarment, suspension and disqualification from department contracting; and rules regarding extension of 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.