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

Capitol Report

September 15, 2008

By Valerie L. Brown and Tamika Wilson

This is a status report on recently passed and pending legislation and regulations, gubernatorial nominations and appointments of interest to lawyers. It is compiled by the legislative department of the New Jersey State Bar Association. Following each bill is the number, sponsor's name, NJSBA position, if any, bill description and status.

New Laws

P.L.2008, c.70 (McHose) Permits the parents of twins or higher order multiples enrolled in public school to select shared or separate classroom placement of their children. (A-1671)

P.L.2008, c.62 (Conners) Delays the expiration date of certain professional and occupational licenses and registrations for individuals with certain types of military services. (A-789)

P.L.2008, c.60 (Conaway) Prohibits hospitals from charging certain uninsured persons more than 15 percent greater than the applicable Medicare rate. (A-2609)

P.L.2008, c.58 (Gordon) Authorizes enhanced Department of Health and Senior Services monitoring of the financial performance of hospitals and intervention in management of identified distressed hospitals. (S-1796)

P.L.2008, c.57 (Whelan) Requires training for all trustees of general hospitals. (S-1795)

P.L.2008, c.54 (Greenstein) Authorizes municipal planning boards to adopt green buildings and an environmental sustainability municipal master plan element. (A-1559)

P.L.2008, c.50 (Codey) Establishes the Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. (S-754)

P.L.2008, c.48 (Codey) Establishes the New Jersey Hero Act; concerns organ and tissue donation. (S-755)

P.L.2008, c.46 (Roberts) Revises laws concerning the provision of affordable housing. (A-500)

P.L.2008, c.45 (Prieto) Allows certified public accountants licensed in other states to practice public accountancy and attest services in this state under certain circumstances. (A-2466)

P.L.2008, c.43 (Schaer) (NJSBA took no position) Provides that a nursing home resident has the right to receive food that meets his or her religious dietary requirements. (A-2183)

P.L.2008, c.42 (Lance) Expands the state law enforcement powers of the United States Park Police. (S-1493)

On The Governor's Desk

CRIMINAL LAW

S-367(Cohen) (NJSBA opposes) Upgrades penalties for tampering with witnesses and informants; upgrades hindering apprehension or prosecution under certain circumstances. On June 16, S-367 passed in the Assembly (80-0) and was sent to the governor.

ELDER & DISABILITY LAW

S-88 (Connors) Requires certification by a purchaser or grantee that federal law will not be violated by a sale in an age-restricted community. On June 23, S-88 passed in the Assembly (79-0) and was sent to the governor and signed.

INSURANCE LAW

S-1165 (Adler) Regulates certain credentialing and trade practices of insurance producers, and provides private cause of action for insurance producer violations. On June 23, S-1165 passed in the Assembly (79-0) and was sent to the governor.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW

A-2867 (Greenwald) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Permit Extension Act of 2008. On June 23, A-2867 passed in the Senate (30-3) and was sent to the governor.

MUNICIPAL COURT PRACTICES

A-1766 (Watson Coleman) (NJSBA supports) Establishes a compelling circumstances exception to mandatory driver's license suspension under the conditional discharge statute; allows the court to revoke the remainder of a suspension for compelling circumstances. On May 22, A-1766 passed in the Senate (21-16) and was sent to the governor.

REAL PROPERTY, TRUST & ESTATE LAW

A-2780 (Cohen) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides a period of extension for repayment of introductory rate mortgages on residential property under certain circumstances. On June 23, A-2780 passed in the Senate (39-0) and was sent to the governor.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

S-1913 (Sarlo) (NJSBA supports with amendments) Increases the power of judges of compensation to enforce workers' compensation law. On June 23, the bill passed in the Senate (39-0) and the Assembly (74-5) and was sent to the governor.

S-1914 (Sarlo) (NJSBA supports) Strengthens enforcement against employers for failure to provide workers' compensation coverage. On June 23, the bill passed in the Senate (39-0) and the Assembly (74-4-1) and was sent to the governor.

S-1915 (Sarlo) (NJSBA supports) Requires proof of workers' compensation coverage with certain legally required annual reports of employers. On June 23, the bill passed in the Senate (39-0) and the Assembly (77-2) and was sent to the governor.

S-1916 (Sarlo) (NJSBA supports) Concerns emergent medical care under workers' compensation. On June 23, the bill passed in the Senate (39-0) and the Assembly (748-1) and was sent to the governor.

S-1917 (Sarlo) (NJSBA supports) Revises membership of the Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau and clarifies its authority. On June 23, the bill was substituted for A-2969, passed in the Assembly (78-1) and was sent to the governor.

S-1918 (Sarlo) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires an insurance fraud prosecutor to establish a liaison with the Division of Labor and Workforce Development and authorizes its investigation of cases of failure to provide workers' compensation coverage. On June 23, the bill passed in the Senate (39-0) and the Assembly (79-0) and was sent to the governor.

Pending Legislation

CONSUMER PROTECTION LAW

S-1501/A-1255 (Kean/Moriarty) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits sending unsolicited advertising by text messaging, and requires companies offering text messaging services to allow their customers to block all incoming and outgoing text messages. On June 23, A-1255 passed in the Assembly (78-0-1).

A-1344 (Prieto) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for registration of mold inspectors and remediators. On June 23, the bill was transferred to the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee.

A-1432 (Fisher) (NJSBA takes no position) Revises the law concerning sales representatives to permit treble damages when a principal fails to pay earned commissions within 30 days of termination. On June 23, the bill was transferred to the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee.

CRIMINAL LAW

S-1774/A-339 (Cunningham/Quigley) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits individuals from purchasing more than one handgun in a calendar month. On June 23, A-339 passed in the Assembly (47-28-4).

S-1866/A-2762 (Lesniak/Watson Coleman) (Under review by the NJSBA) Authorizes the court to waive or reduce parole ineligibility or grant probation for drug-free school zone violations under certain circumstances. On June 23, A-2762 passed in the Assembly (49-27-3).

ELDER & DISABILITY LAW

S-1563/A-2355 (Weinberg/Gusciora) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits a cemetery company from charging an additional fee for rendering certain services on Sunday. On June 23, A-2355 was transferred to the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee.

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

S-1303/A-3062 (Smith/McKeon) (Under review by the NJSBA) Defines "inherently beneficial use" for purposes of zoning use variance and specifically includes facilities that supply electrical energy produced from wind, solar or photovoltaic technologies. On June 23, A-3062 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.

FAMILY LAW

S-1560/A-2617 (Turner/Oliver) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to assess a $25 annual fee for the collection of certain child support payments, and authorizes the DHS to increase child support pass through. On June 23, S-1560 passed in the Senate (38-0) and was referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

HEALTH & HOSPITAL LAW

A-1853 (Conaway) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for asset disregard for Medicaid recipients under long-term care insurance partnership. On June 23, the bill passed in the Assembly (79-0).

S-565/A-2029 (Sweeney/Watson Coleman) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits revised methods of treatment for chiropractors and establishes continuing education requirements. On June 23, A-2029 was transferred to the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee.

JUSICIAL ADMINISTRATION

S-1981/A-2715 (Roberts/Adler) (NJSBA opposes) Provides that the New Jersey Supreme Court shall have the authority to administer juror challenges through its rulemaking process. On June 23, S-1981 was substituted for A-2715.

SPECIAL CIVIL PART

S-1420/A2707 (Cardinale/Conners) (Under review by the NJSBA) Increases certain fees in the special civil part; increases certain fees paid to persons to serve process in the special civil part. On June 23, S-1420 passed in the Senate (25-14) and was referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

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.