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

Capitol Report

January 26, 2009

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.

Pending Legislation

ANIMAL LAW

S-2489 (Turner) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes cruel restraint of a dog as an animal cruelty offense. On Jan. 13, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

BANKING LAW

A-1874 (Conners) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits a hold or block on debit card accounts unless it is disclosed to and authorized by consumer. On Jan. 24, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.

CRIMINAL LAW

A-3615 (Johnson) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires preservation of certain biological evidence. On Jan. 15, the bill was released from the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

A-3617 (Rudder) (Under review by the NJSBA) Expands the list of crimes that may not be expunged. On Jan. 13, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

S-2175/A-3666 (Allen/Love) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires restitution in identity theft cases. On Jan. 15, A-3666 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-2230 (Albano) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes Chloe and Samantha's Law; requires notice to consumers of availability of products to prevent tip-over accidents involving certain furniture or televisions. On Jan. 15, A-2230 was released from the Assembly Consumer Affairs with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

ELECTION LAW

S-2395/A-3604 (Kean/Angelini) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires that the attorney general seize campaign funds of convicted candidates; prohibits convicted criminal offenders from making contributions to candidates and committees. On Jan. 13, A-3604 was introduced and referred to the Assembly State Government Committee.

A-3599 (Vainieri Huttle) (Under review by the NJSBA) Presumes a motor vehicle registrant wants to register to vote at the time of registration, unless the person specifically declines. On Jan. 13, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly State Government Committee.

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

A-3654 (Wagner) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides an exception to the local cap law for purchases of fuel-efficient vehicles, and permits loans by the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust for those purchases. On Jan. 15, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

FAMILY LAW

A-1563 (Greenstein) (NJSBA opposes) Amends the stalking law to broaden protections for victims. On Jan. 13, the bill was received in the Assembly, and is awaiting Assembly vote to concur with Senate amendments.

HEALTH & HOSPITAL LAW

A-3659 (Casagrande) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires disclosure to certain prison guards of AIDS status of inmates. On Jan. 15, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.

HIGHER EDUCATION

S-1609/A-3245 (Lesniak/Diegnan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for improved structure, financing, and fiscal management of higher education in New Jersey. On Jan. 15 A-3245 was released from the Assembly Higher Education Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

INSURANCE LAW

A-318 (Quigley) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires insurers to inform insureds whether certain coverages extend to rental automobiles. On Jan. 15, the bill was released from the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION

S-1420 (Cardinale) (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 Jan. 13, the bill was received in the Assembly, and is awaiting Assembly vote to concur with Senate amendments.

A-3467 (Johnson) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires the Palisades Interstate Park Commission to effect improvements at the Court of Palisades Interstate Park. On Jan. 15, the bill was released from the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee with a substitute and referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

S-2341/A-3479 (Singer/Prieto) (Under review by the NJSBA) Concerns regulation of court reporting agencies. On Jan. 15, A-3479 was released from the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

MILITARY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS

A-770 (Conners) (Under review by the NJSBA) Extends payment of accidental death benefit in the Police and Firemen's Retirement System (PFRS), State Police Retirement System (SPRS), Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) and Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) to survivors of certain members of a reserve component of the Armed Forces and National Guard. On Jan. 13, the bill was received in the Assembly, and is awaiting Assembly vote to concur with Senate amendments.

A-3607 (Cruz-Perez) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes a procedure to insure inmates with military service receive all the veteran benefits to which they are entitled upon release. On Jan. 13, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

MUNICIPAL COURT PRACTICE

S-1082/A-1775 (Ciesla /Ramos) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits a municipality to determine the permissible parking distance from an intersection, crosswalk or stop sign. On Jan.15, S-1082 was released from the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee and referred to the Assembly Transportation and Public Works Committee.

A-3652 (Rumpf) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for immediate driver's license suspension under certain circumstances. On Jan. 15, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

REAL PROPERTY, TRUST & ESTATE LAW

S-139/A-373 (Scutari/Diegnan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits real estate brokers to provide rebates to purchasers. On Jan. 15, A-373 was released from the Assembly Regulated Professions and Independent Authorities Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

A-1879 (Diegnan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires a creditor to provide certain disclosures to a borrower prior to a residential mortgage loan closing. On Jan. 15, the bill was released from the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

TAXATION

S-1256/A-2771 (Kean/Munoz) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits an eligible claimant who is a proportionate owner paying the entire property tax bill to collect the entire homestead property tax reimbursement amount. On Jan. 15, A-2771 was released from the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee and referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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 Jan. 13, S-668 was received in the Assembly and referred to the Assembly Labor Committee.

S-2495/A-3669 (Madden/Quijano) (Under review by the NJSBA) Concerns court actions against uninsured employers for nonpayment of workers' compensation. On Jan. 15, A-3669 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Labor Committee.

A-3569 (Egan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Concerns stop-work orders and certain violations of workers' compensation requirements. On Jan. 13, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Labor Committee.

The New Jersey State Bar Association incorporated in 1899 is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system, to encouraging participation in voluntary pro bono activities and to aiding in the administration of justice. Visit the Association's website at www.njsba.com.

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.