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

Capitol Report

February 16, 2009

By 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, the NJSBA position, if any, bill description and status.

New Laws

P.L.2009, c.5 (Bucco) (NJSBA opposes) Imposes conditions on drivers approaching stopped emergency vehicles, tow trucks or highway maintenance vehicles displaying flashing lights. On Jan. 27, S-180 was signed by the governor. (S-180)

P.L.2009, c.6 (Rice) (Under review by the NJSBA) Clarifies that certain sports and entertainment projects are an essential public and governmental use and purpose, and are exempt from property taxation. On Jan. 27, S-1604 was signed by the governor. (S-1604)

P.L.2009, c.9 (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 Jan. 27, A-2881 was signed by the governor. (A-2881)

P.L.2009, c.10 (DeAngelo) (NJSBA supports) Provides that corporate bylaws may allow a corporation to eliminate plurality voting for corporate directors. On Jan. 27, A-2883 was signed by the governor. (A-2883)

P.L.2009, c.11 (Biondi) (NJSBA supports) Authorizes the creation of a non-lapsing Attorney ID Card Program trust fund by counties. On Jan. 27, A-3146 was signed by the governor. (A-3146)

P.L.2009, c.13 (Girgenti) (Under review by the NJSBA) Upgrades unlawful possession of a machine gun or assault firearm to a crime of the second degree. (S-1304)

On The Governor's Desk

CRIMINAL LAW

A-1563 (Greenstein) (NJSBA opposes) Amends the stalking law to broaden protections for victims. On Feb. 5, A-1563 passed in the Assembly (78-0) and was sent to the governor.

HEALTH & HOSPITAL LAW

S-787 (Codey) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires single operating-room facilities to register with the Department of Health and Senior Services, permits practitioners to refer patients to ambulatory surgery facilities in which practitioners have financial interest under certain circumstances. On Feb 5, S-787 passed in the Assembly (66-5-4) and was sent to the governor.

A-269 (Vandervalk) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires licensing of genetic counselors. On Feb. 5, A-269 passed in the Assembly (69-8-1) and was sent to the governor.

Pending Legislation

CHILDREN'S RIGHTS

A-1411 (Fisher) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the New Jersey Council on Child Poverty. On Feb. 5, A-1411 passed in the Assembly (67-9-2).

CONSUMER PROTECTION

S-635/A-919 (Sarlo/Scalera) (Under review by the NJSBA) Regulates Internet pharmacies and electronic prescriptions. On Feb. 9, A-919 was released from the Assembly Appropriations Committee and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

S-914/A-2465 (Van Drew/DeAngelo) (NJSBA supports) Invalidates consumer contracts that require a waiver of right to file a consumer complaint. On Feb. 9, A-2465 was released from the Assembly Consumer Affairs 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 Feb. 5, A-281 was amended on Assembly floor and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

S-1927/A-3003 (Buono/Love) (Under review by the NJSBA) Regulates solicitation of credit cards on college campuses. On Feb. 2, A-1927 was released from the Senate Commerce Committee with committee amendments, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

S-2560/A-2276 (Stack/Prieto) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires ATM operators to disclose balance inquiry fees. On Feb. 9, A-2276 was referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

S-2534/A-3731(Buono/Conaway) (Under review by the NJSBA) Revises the New Jersey False Claims Act to comply with the federal Deficit Reduction Act for purposes of entitling the state to enhanced recovery in Medicaid fraud cases. On Feb. 9, A-3731 was introduced and referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee.

CRIMINAL LAW

S-453/A-3630 (Buono/Albano) (NJSBA opposes) Eliminates the downgrading of driving while intoxicated offenses that occur more than 10 years after a previous conviction. On Feb. 9, A-3630 was released from the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

S-1809/A-2655 (Sweeney/Burzichelli) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires a law enforcement agency to inform a school principal of certain crimes committed by students. On Feb. 9, A-2655 was released from the Senate Education Committee with committee amendments, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

S-1848/A-3730 (Connors/Munoz) (NJSBA opposes) Imposes a mandatory term of life imprisonment without eligibility for parole on persons who commit particularly brutal sexual assaults. On Feb. 9, A-3730 was introduced and referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee.

S-1880 (Smith) (NJSBA supports) Establishes the Criminal Sentencing Commission to study and review the criminal law and recommend revisions; repeals existing commissions. On Feb. 5, S-1880 passed in the Assembly (60-14-3) and was received in the Senate (on Feb. 9) to concur with Assembly amendments.

ELDER & DISABILITY LAW

S-149/A-137 (Allen/Ramos) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for automatic enrollment in Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged & Disabled (PAAD) and Senior Gold programs under certain circumstances. On Feb. 9, S-149 was released from the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

S-550/A-1478 (Sweeney/Burzichelli) (NJSBA opposes) Requires executors to post bond and provide periodic accountings to the court where a beneficiary is developmentally disabled. On Feb. 9, S-550 was released from the Senate Judiciary Committee with committee amendments, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

S-2450/A-2791 (Kean/Amodeo) (NJSBA takes no position) Creates the New Jersey Senior Labor Task Force. On Feb. 9, S-2450 was released from the Senate Labor Committee with committee amendments, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

ELECTION LAW

A-2451 (Wagner) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Vote By Mail Law. On Feb. 2, A-2451 was released from the Senate State Government Committee with committee amendments, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

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 Feb. 9, A-3062 was released from the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee and referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

FAMILY LAW

S-2091 (Scutari) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits the enforcement of palimony agreements unless such agreements are in writing. On Feb. 9, S-2091 was released from the Senate Judiciary Committee with committee amendments, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

A-725 (Greenwald) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires the Department of Children and Families to provide information on shaken baby syndrome to parents of newborn infants. On Feb. 5, A-725 passed in the Assembly (78-0).

GENERAL PRACTICE

S-2055/A-823 (Gusciora/Gordon) (Under review by the NJSBA) Regulates the operation of snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, and dirt bikes, and certain other vehicles and off-road vehicles. On Feb. 5, A-823 was amended on Assembly floor, and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

HEALTH & HOSPITAL LAW

S-1808/A-2038 (Kean/Gusciora) (Under review by the NJSBA) Denies public access to extinguished psychiatric liens. On Feb. 9, A-2038 was referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens 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 Feb. 9, S-1609 was released from the Senate Education Committee with committee amendments, referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

INSURANCE LAW

A-2614 (Gill/Rodriguez) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Compact. On Feb. 5, A-2614 passed in the Assembly (76-0).

JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION

A3526 (McKeon) (Under review by the NJSBA) Increases penalties for the crime of jury tampering. On Feb. 9, A-3526 was received in the Senate and referred to Senate Judiciary Committee.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

S-2498/A-3569 (Madden/Egan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Concerns stop-work orders and certain violations of workers' compensation requirements. On Feb. 9, S-2498 was released from the Senate Labor Committee with committee amendments, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

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.