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

Capitol Report

March 16, 2009

By Tamika Wilson, Legislative Administrator

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

ELECTION LAW

P.L.2009, c.17 (Russo) (Under review by the NJSBA) Delays the requirement that voting machines produce an individual permanent paper record for each vote cast due to the state's critical economic situation and lack of appropriate technology. On March 6, A-3648 was signed by the governor.

On The President's Desk

LEGAL SERVICES CORPORATION

H.R.1105 (Obey) Making omnibus appropriations for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2009, and for other purposes. On March 10, H.R. 1105 passed in the U.S. Senate (62-35) and was sent to the president. The bill provides around $410 billion in funding for numerous government agencies and related programs. In part, this bill appropriates a $40 million increase-from $350 million to $390 million-for The Legal Services Corporation.

On The Governor's Desk

LAND USE

S-2188 (Van Drew) (Under review by the NJSBA) Changes the riparian land grant and lease process and amends various parts of statutory law. On March 5, S-2188 substituted for A-1642, passed in the Assembly (78-0) and was sent to the governor.

Pending Legislation

CONSUMER PROTECTION

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

ELDER AND DISABILITY LAW

S-615/A-1026 (Vitale/Wisniewski) (NJSBA takes no position) Exempts senior homeowners from municipal building permit fees. On March 9, A-1026 was released from the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee with amendments and referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

S-1844/A-2844 (Cunningham/Love) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishing a "Silver Alert System" for missing elderly individuals. On March 9, A-2844 was released from the Assembly Appropriations Committee with a substitute and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

FAMILY LAW

S-1636 (Turner) (NJSBA supports) Requires state IV-D agency to assess interest or late payment fees on unpaid child support. On March 10, the bill was released from the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, and is awaiting Senate vote.

S-1645/A-2681 (Weinberg/Love) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits alimony to persons who commit certain crimes resulting in death; eliminates inheritance rights for parents who abandon, abuse or neglect a child. On March 5, A-2681 was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

S-2091/A-3833 (Scutari/Carroll) (NJSBA opposes) Prohibits the enforcement of 'palimony' agreements unless they are in writing. On March 9, A-3833 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

HEALTH AND HOSPITAL LAW

S-96/A-118 (Weinberg/Vainieri Huttle) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits physicians to earn continuing medical education credits by providing free medical care to low-income, uninsured patients. On March 5, A-118 was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

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

S-1808/A-2038 (Kean/Gusciora) (Under review by the NJSBA) Denies public access to extinguished psychiatric liens. On March 10, A-2038 was released from the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

INTERNET AND COMPUTER LAW

S-230/A-2464 (Weinberg/Albano) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides that reports and publications produced by the state be primarily available on the Internet, provides for notice of availability of reports and publications. On March 9, A-2464 was released from the Assembly Appropriations Committee and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION

S-129/A-3836 (Scutari/Quijano) (Under review by the NJSBA) Upgrades the offense of knowingly engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. On March 9, A-3836 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

S-2276/A-3365 (Vitale/Oliver) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program. On March 9, A-3365 was released from the Assembly Appropriations Committee and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

S-2692/A-2887 (Van Drew/Albano) (Under review by the NJSBA) Increases the application fee and provides for an admission fee to pre-trial intervention; dedicates a fee increase for victim services. On March 9, S-2692 was introduced and referred to Senate Judiciary Committee.

LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW

A-3110 (Rodriguez) (NJSBA takes no position) Authorizes midwives to examine or treat individuals under certain labor laws. On March 5, the bill was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

LAND USE 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 March 9, A-3062 was released from the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

MUNICIPAL COURT PRACTICE

S-2536/A-3358 (Sacco/Diegnan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits operators of public transit vehicles from text messaging or sending electronic messages while vehicles are moving. On March 9, S-2536 was released from the Senate Transportation Committee with a substitute and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

REAL PROPERTY TRUST AND ESTATE LAW

S-2710/A-114 (Vainieri Huttle) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires notice of development applications be given to residential tenants on the property. On March 5, A-114 passed in the Assembly (78-0), and on March 10, S-2710 was introduced and referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

SPECIAL CIVIL PART

S-2563/A-3773 (Sarlo/Conners) (NJSBA supports) Makes permanent certain Special Civil Part fees. On March 9, S-2563 was released from the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

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 March 5, A-3569 was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

Nominations

The following nominations were reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 9:

JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT
William Anklowitz, of West Windsor, NJSBA member
Robert Billmeier, of Pennington, NJSBA member
John Tassini, of Brielle, NJSBA member
Gary Wodlinger, of Millville, NJSBA member

NEW JERSEY BOARD OF PUBLIC UTILITIES
Jeanne M. Fox, of New Brunswick, NJSBA member

NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE AUTHORITY
Ulises E. Diaz, of Rutherford

Notices

The New Jersey Law Revision Commission will meet on Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 4:30 p.m., in the commission offices on the 7th Floor, 153 Halsey Street, Newark, New Jersey, to discuss the following agenda:

1. Construction Lien Law-Consideration of a draft final report that has been revised in response to additional comments received and a memorandum summarizing those additional comments.

2. Title 22A-Consideration of a tentative report revised in response to additional comments received.

3. Landlord Tenant Project-Consideration of: (i) a draft of the chapter on security deposits that has been revised in response to additional comments; (ii) drafts of the chapters on distraints and abandoned tenant property, and (iii) a cover memorandum.

4. Title 9 Children-Consideration of a draft tentative report revising the chapter on parentage.

5. Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act-Consideration of a memorandum proposing that the commission undertake a review of the NCCUSL's Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act.

6. Handicapped Parking-Memorandum regarding a problem with New Jersey's handicapped parking law.

7. Uniform Environmental Covenants Act-Consideration of a memorandum regarding the joint environmental committees of the Senate and Assembly on an amendment to the Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act with an attachment and follow-up submission on the Uniform Environmental Covenants Act from the law firm of Terris, Pravlik & Millian, LLP.

Documentation related to the above agenda is available online at www.njlrc.org.

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.