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

Capitol Report

October 13, 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.97 (Sarlo) (NJSBA supports) Expands the membership of the Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau. (S-1917)

P.L.2008, c.96 (Sarlo) (NJSBA supports) Concerns emergent medical care under workers' compensation. (S-1916)

P.L.2008, c.95 (Sarlo) (NJSBA supports) Concerns workers' compensation coverage and certain licenses, certificates, permits and registrations. (S-1915)

P.L.2008, c.94 (Sarlo) (NJSBA supports) Strengthens enforcement against employers for failure to provide workers' compensation coverage. (S-1914)

P.L.2008, c.93 (Sarlo) (NJSBA supports with amendments) Increases the power of judges of compensation to enforce workers' compensation law. (S-1913)

On The Governor's Desk

S-1918 (Sarlo) (Under review by the NJSBA) Makes failure to provide workers' compensation coverage a violation of the New Jersey Insurance Fraud Prevention Act, and a crime of insurance fraud. On Oct. 2, the governor's conditional veto was received in the Senate.

Pending Legislation

BUSINESS LAW

S-2050/A-2879 (Adler/Diegnan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Allows certain corporate notices to be provided via electronic transmission. On Oct. 2, A-2879 was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

A-2880 (Diegnan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Eliminates 10-day advance notification of proposed effective date of certain shareholder action. On Oct. 2, A-2880 was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

A-2881 (Vas) (Under review by the NJSBA) Allows the director of a corporation to provide notice of resignation, which is only effective upon occurrence of a certain event. On Oct. 2, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

S-2049/A-2882 (Adler/Diegnan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides one-hour and two-hour service options for expedited over-the-counter corporate service requests. On Oct. 2, A-2882 was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

A-2883 (DeAngelo) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides that corporate bylaws may allow a corporation to eliminate plurality voting for corporate directors. On Oct. 2, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

A-2884 (Albano) (Under review by the NJSBA) Expands the scope of unincorporated entities permitted to merge or consolidate with domestic corporations. On Oct. 2, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

A-2885 (Milam) (Under review by the NJSBA) Allows officers of a corporation to grant employees and officers of the corporation shares of stock, rights or options. On Oct. 2, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

CIVIL TRIAL BAR

S-2116 (Lesniak) (Under review by the NJSBA) Limits the amount of appeal bond in civil actions to the total value of the monetary judgment or $50 million, whichever is less. On Oct. 2, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-2120/A-1101 (Bucco/Cryan) (NJSBA opposes) Authorizes a motion to dismiss in a cause of action (a SLAPP suit) arising from a defendant's valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech. On Oct. 2, S-2120 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

CONSTRUCTION LAW

S-1449 (Rice) (Under review by the NJSBA) Strengthens the state construction code. On Oct. 2, the bill was released from the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee with committee amendments, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

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 Oct. 2, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Economic Growth 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 Oct. 2, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety and Veterans' Affairs Committee.

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 Oct. 2, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-2119/A-2218 (Van Drew/Moriarty) (NJSBA takes no position) Directs the attorney general to develop guidelines for positive identification of suspects before their release. On Oct. 2, S-2119 was introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety and Veterans' Affairs Committee.

ELDER AND DISABILITY LAW

S-2103 (Baroni) (Under review by the NJSBA) Allows a gross income tax deduction for taxpayers who provide support for an elderly or disabled relative living in their home. On Oct. 2, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

ELECTION LAW

S-2084 (Baroni) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides that certain absentee ballots will be counted if received within 10 days of an election. On Oct. 2, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate State Government Committee.

S-2108 (Baroni) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits elected officials from holding more than one elective office. On Oct. 2, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate State Government Committee.

S-2109 (Baroni) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires all elected officials and candidates, and certain other public officials, to file a financial disclosure statement. On Oct. 2, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate State Government Committee.

ENTERTAINMENT, ARTS AND SPORTS LAW

S-1768/A-2232 (Sarlo/Cryan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits siting of the New Jersey Hall of Fame project anywhere in the state; clarifies the responsibility of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority to establish a corporation to operate the project and specifies membership of the corporation. On Oct. 2, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.

FAMILY LAW

S-2091 (Scutari) (NJSBA opposes) Prohibits the enforcement of "palimony" agreements, unless such agreements are in writing. On Oct. 2, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HEALTH AND HOSPITAL LAW

A-1853 (Conaway) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for asset disregard for Medicaid recipients under long-term care insurance partnership. On Oct. 2, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

HIGHER EDUCATION

A-2911 (Cryan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the New Jersey College Student and Parent Consumer Information Act; requires each four-year public institution of higher education to provide on its website certain information regarding its costs, faculty, and graduation rates. On Oct. 2, the bill was received in Senate and referred to Senate Education Committee

MUNICIPAL COURT PRACTICE

S-2126/A-3020 (Haines/Addiego) (NJSBA opposes) Requires permanent driver's license suspension for a third drunk driving offense. On Oct. 2, S-2126 was introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety and Veterans' Affairs Committee.

PUBLIC UTILITIES

A-265 (Pou) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires certain public utilities to notify an appropriate law enforcement officer of service shutoffs to multi-family housing unit customers or any other residential customers under certain circumstances. On Oct. 2, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

S-605/A-3209 (Baroni/Webber) (Under review by the NJSBA) Caps noneconomic damages in medical malpractice actions at $250,000. On Sept. 25, A-3209 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.

REAL PROPERTY TRUST AND ESTATE LAW

S-1450 (Rice) (Under review by the NJSBA) Enhances protections afforded to purchasers in planned real estate developments. On Oct. 2, the bill was released from the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee with committee amendments, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

S-1894/A-2871 (Madden/Love) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits a victim of domestic abuse to terminate a residential lease under certain circumstances; provides a procedure for a tenant to recover a security deposit. On Oct. 2, S-1894 was released from the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee with committee amendments, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

NOMINATIONS

On Oct. 2, the following nominations were referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee:

JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT
Martin Cronin, of Westfield
James Farber, of Lafayette
Ronald Hoffman, of Island Heights
Susan Maven, of Absecon
Thomas McCormack, of Roseland
Steven Perskie, of Margate
Ronald Lee Reisner, of Oceanport, NJSBA member
Thomas Scully, of Fair Haven

WORKERS' COMPENSATION JUDGE
Dolores McNamee, of Medford
Carmine J. Taglialatella, of Smithville

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE
Elia A. Pelios, of Somerville

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.