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

Capitol Report

October 20, 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.

On The Governor's Desk

FAMILY LAW

S-1119/A-2246 (Kean/Cryan) (NJSBA takes no position) Permits the parent of a stillborn child to request a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth directly from the state registrar. On Sept. 25, S-1119 passed in the Assembly (80-0) and was sent to the governor.

Pending Legislation

ANIMAL LAW

S-2172 /A-178 (Allen/Johnson) (NJSBA opposes) Requires a municipal court to hear certain violations of animal cruelty statutes within 14 days of the summons date. On Oct. 6, S-2172 was introduced and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

CHILDREN'S RIGHTS

S-1741/A-3288 (Cardinale/Cryan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires psychologists to video-record sessions conducted with children alleged to be abused or neglected. On Oct. 6. A-3288 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Human Services Committee.

CRIMINAL LAW

S-2138/A-641 (Haines/Lampitt) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits municipalities to enact ordinances regulating where sex offenders may reside. On Oct. 6, S-2138 was introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety and Veterans' Affairs Committee.

S-2166 (Sarlo) (Under review by the NJSBA) Concerns the issuance and forfeiture of bail bonds. On Oct. 6, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety and Veterans' Affairs Committee.

CIVIL TRIAL BAR

S-996/A-3296 (Scutari/Voss) (Under review by the NJSBA) Limits motor bus owner responsibility for no-fault medical expense benefits coverage for certain injured passengers. On Oct. 6, A-3296 was introduced and read in the Assembly without a committee reference, and is now awaiting Assembly vote.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

S-2173/A-1755 (Allen/Watson Coleman) (NJSBA supports) Allows identity theft victims to petition for judicial determination of factual innocence. On Oct. 6, S-2173 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A-2272 (Cruz-Perez) (Under review by the NJSBA) Includes security fraud as a violation of the Consumer Fraud Act. On Oct. 6, the bill was released from the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

ELDER AND DISABILITY LAW

S-2202/A-1239 (Madden/Wolfe) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides that an assisted-living resident's security deposit is refundable if the resident leaves the facility. On Oct. 6, S-2202 was introduced and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

A-843 (Chivukula) (NJSBA takes no position) Provides for equal opportunity for businesses to apply for certain energy-related incentives and funding. On Oct. 6, the bill was released from the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

S-1117/A-3234 (Smith/McKeon) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes financial incentives for certain energy providers to conduct energy audits. On Oct. 6, A-3234 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.

GENERAL PRACTICE

S-2134/A-3146 (Bateman/Biondi) (Under review by the NJSBA) Authorizes the creation of a non-lapsing attorney ID card program trust fund by counties. On Oct. 6, S-2134 was introduced and referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT

S-1312/A-3289 (Sweeney/ Chiusano) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits employment of unauthorized aliens. On Oct. 6, A-3289 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Labor Committee.

LAND USE

S-713/A-3239 (Smith/McKeon) (NJSBA takes no position) Establishes a forest stewardship and forest certification program in the Department of Environmental Protection; limits liability of certain landowners who allow sport or recreational activities on their lands for a fee. On Oct. 6, S-713 was released from the Senate Environment Committee with committee substitute, referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

S-2188/A-1642 (Van Drew/McKeon) (Under review by the NJSBA) Changes the riparian land grant and lease process and amends various parts of statutory law. On Oct. 6, S-2188 was introduced and referred to the Senate Environment Committee.

MUNICIPAL COURT PRACTICE

S-1832 (Madden) (Under review by the NJSBA) Decreases certain motor vehicle fines and lengthens the time to provide proof of insurance. On Oct. 6, the bill was released from the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

PUBLIC UTILITIES

S-1065/A-3238 (Smith McKeon) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits electric public utilities, electric power suppliers and basic generation service providers to enter into certain agreements with building owners for use of solar energy systems for such buildings. On Oct. 6, A-3238 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.

REAL PROPERTY TRUST AND ESTATE LAW

S-250/A-3269 (Adler/Wisniewski) (NJSBA supports) Provides a statute of limitations for residential mortgage foreclosures. On Oct. 6, A-3269 was released from the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

S-1265/A-281 (Turner/Schaer) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act. On Oct. 6, A-281 was released from the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee with committee amendments and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

A-2316 (Diegnan) (NJSBA supports) Requires a creditor to provide a mortgage payoff balance to a borrower within five business days after a request. On Oct. 6, the bill was released from the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

A-2496 (Holzapfel) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides a uniform procedure for sheriffs to provide certain surplus notices in mortgage foreclosure actions. On Oct. 6, the bill was released from the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

A-2517 (Watson Coleman) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the New Jersey Homeownership Preservation Act. On Oct. 6, the bill was released from the Assembly Budget Committee with committee amendments and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

Nominations

On Oct. 6, the following nominations were referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee:

ESSEX COUNTY BOARD OF TAXATION
Everett M. Johnson of Newark, NJSBA member

STATE COUNCIL ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
Elaine Buchsbaum of Stockton
Frank Caragher of Somerset
Todd Leroy Emmons of Voorhees
Russell Fried of Laurel Springs
Purnima Rathi Hernandez of Glen Rock
Andrew McGeady of Jackson
Christopher E. Miller of Neptune City
Myrta Rosa of Woodbridge
Elizabeth Smith of Montclair
Mary Kay Weber of Eatontown
Joseph B. Young of North Plainfield, NJSBA member

Law Revisions

On Oct. 16, the New Jersey Law Revision Commission met to discuss the following issues. Visit www.njlrc.org for details:

CONSTRUCTION LIEN LAW

Consideration of a revised draft tentative report on construction lien law and a memorandum summarizing the updates made since the submission of the first draft tentative report to the commission in September.

PEJORATIVE TERMS

Consideration of a memorandum containing updates and changes to the draft tentative report, submitted to the commission in September, revising statutory provisions that include pejorative terms.

POOR LAW

Consideration of a draft final report on the Public Assistance Law and a memorandum pertaining to the public response to the tentative report.

TITLE 39

Consideration of a memorandum providing a brief summary of the status of the project.

UNIFORM TRADE SECRETS

Staff will update the commission regarding comments received since the release of the tentative report.

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.