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

Capitol Report

December 29, 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.114 (Weinberg) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires staff members of adoption agencies to undergo criminal history record background and child abuse record information checks. (S-111)

P.L.2008, c. 111 (Love) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits a victim of domestic abuse to terminate a residential lease under certain circumstances; provides a procedure for the tenant to recover his or her security deposit. (A-2871)

P.L.2008, c. 109 (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 the membership of the corporation. (A-2232)

P.L.2008, c.107 (Burzichelli) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes Daniel Mackay's Law; requires certain information be given to next of kin of relatives killed or incapacitated in a motor vehicle accident; caps certain abandoned vehicle storage fees. (A-1498)

P.L.2008, c.102 (Codey) (Under review by the NJSBA) Increases the carryover period of a net operating loss deduction under the corporation business tax. (S-2130)

On The Governor's Desk

BUSINESS LAW

A-2881 (Vas) (NJSBA supports) Allows the director of a corporation to provide notice of resignation, which is only effective upon the occurrence of a certain event. On Dec. 15, A-2881 substituted for S-2284, passed in the Senate (37-0) and was sent to the governor.

A-2883 (DeAngelo) (NJSBA supports) Provides that corporate bylaws may allow a corporation to eliminate plurality voting for corporate directors. On Dec. 15, A-2883 substituted for S-2246, passed in the Senate (37-0) and was sent to the governor.

CRIMINAL LAW

S-1304 (Girgenti) (Under review by the NJSBA) Upgrades unlawful possession of a machine gun or assault firearm to a crime of the second degree. On Dec. 15, S-1304 substituted for A-3276, passed in the Assembly (51-17-6) and was sent to the governor.

GENERAL PRACTICE

A-3146 (Biondi) (NJSBA supports) Authorizes the creation of a non-lapsing attorney ID card program trust fund by counties. On Dec. 15, A-3146 substituted for S-2134, passed in the Senate (36-0) and was sent to the governor.

INSURANCE LAW

S-467 (Buono) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes Grace's Law; requires health insurers, the State Health Benefits Program and New Jersey FamilyCare to provide coverage for hearing aids for covered persons 15 and younger. On Dec. 15, S-467 substituted for A-1571, passed in the Assembly (72-3-1) and was sent to the governor.

MUNICIPAL COURT PRACTICE

S-180 (Bucco) (NJSBA opposes) Imposes conditions on drivers approaching stopped emergency vehicles, tow trucks or highway maintenance vehicles displaying flashing lights. On Dec. 15, S-180 substituted for A-1179, passed in the Assembly (76-0-1) and was sent to the governor.

REAL PROPERTY TRUST & ESTATE LAW

S-1599 (Rice) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Mortgage Stabilization and Relief Act. On Dec. 15, S-1599 substituted for A-3506, passed in the Assembly (49-28), passed in the Senate (27-8) and was sent to the governor.

TAXATION

S-1604 (Rice) (Under review by the NJSBA) Clarifies that certain sports and entertainment projects are an essential public and governmental use and purpose, and exempt from property taxation. On Dec. 15, A-2693 was substituted by S-1604, passed in the Assembly (42-31) and was sent to the governor.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

S-1918 (Sarlo) (NJSBA supports) Requires a insurance fraud prosecutor to establish a liaison with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and authorizes its investigation of cases of failure to provide workers' compensation coverage. On Dec. 15, S-1918 passed in the Assembly (77-0) and was sent to the governor.

Pending Legislation

CRIMINAL LAW

S-771/A-1771 (Rice/Watson Coleman) (NJSBA supports) Revises the eligibility for expungement of criminal and juvenile delinquency records. On Dec. 15, A-1771 passed in the Assembly (44-20-12), was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-1106/A-1563 (Buono/Greenstein) (NJSBA opposes) Amends the stalking law to broaden protections for victims. On Dec. 15, A-1563 substituted for S-1106 and passed in the Senate (37-0).

S-1693/A-3556 (Oroho/Angelini) (Under review by the NJSBA) Bars sex offenders from jobs that primarily consist of contact with children. On Dec. 15, A-3556 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

ELDER & DISABILITY LAW

S-2450/A-2791 (Kean/Amodeo) (NJSBA takes no position) Creates the New Jersey Senior Labor Task Force. On Dec. 15, S-2450 was introduced and referred to the Senate Labor Committee.

ELECTION LAW

A-2451 (Quigley) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Vote By Mail Law of 2008. On Dec. 15, A-2451 was amended on the Senate floor and is awaiting Senate vote.

HEALTH & HOSPITAL LAW

S-787/A-1933 (Codey/Conaway) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits practitioners to refer patients to certain surgical practices and ambulatory care facilities in which they have a financial interest; establishes the Practitioner Self-Referral Review Task Force. On Dec. 15, S-787 passed in the Senate (37-1) and A-1933 was substituted on the Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

S-1226/A-269 (Gill/Vandervalk) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires licensing of genetic counselors. On Dec. 15, A-269 substituted for S-1226 and passed in the Senate (38-0).

S-1863/A-3527 (Weinberg/Angelini) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires each hospital board of trustees to adopt a written policy governing conflicts of interest. On Dec. 15, A-3527 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

A-3536 (Vainieri Huttle) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Celebrity Image Protection Act. On Dec. 15, A-3536 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION

S-1420/A-2707 (Cardinale/Conners) (Under review by the NJSBA) Makes permanent the previously temporary authority of the administrative director of the courts to set certain fees for the service of process by mail. On Dec. 15, A-2707 passed in the Assembly (55-21) and the Senate concurred by amendment (29-5).

S-1981/A-2715 (Adler/Roberts) (NJSBA opposes) Provides that the New Jersey Supreme Court shall have the authority to administer juror challenges through its rulemaking process. On Dec. 15, S-1981 was on the Senate board list for review, but the bill was held and no action was taken.

SCR-18/ACR-211 (Allen/Carroll) (NJSBA opposes) Proposes a constitutional amendment to prohibit state courts from requiring that state government spend money. On Dec. 15, ACR-211 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

TAXATION

A-276 (Vandervalk) (Under review by the NJSBA) Increases the assessed value of real property permitted direct appeal to State Tax Court to more than $1.25 million. On Dec. 15, A-276 passed in the Assembly (77-0), was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

MUNICIPAL COURT PRACTICE

S-986/A-2178 (Sarlo/Pou) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits a surcharge of up to 25 percent to offset private collection fees for certain delinquent debts owed to courts, counties, and municipalities. On Dec. 15, S-986 was amended on the Senate floor and is awaiting Senate vote.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

S-668/A-2058 (Madden/Burzichelli) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides surviving spouses of certain fire and police personnel who die in the line of duty with workers' compensation for the entire period of survivorship. On Dec. 15, S-668 passed in the Senate (33-2).

Notice

Monday, Dec. 15 was the last session day for the New Jersey State Legislature for 2008. The Assembly has not yet announced dates for future sessions. The Senate is scheduled to hold a quorum on Tuesday, January 13, 2009.

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.