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

Capitol Report

June 1, 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

ELDER AND DISABILITY LAW

P.L.2009, c.55 (Wolfe) (NJSBA supports) Provides that an assisted living resident's security deposit is refundable if the resident leaves the facility. On May 6, A-1239 was signed by the governor.

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

P.L.2009, c.60 (McKeon) Establishes a licensing program for site remediation professionals; changes laws concerning site remediation. On May 7, A-2962 was signed by the governor.

On The Governors Desk

ELECTION LAW

A-2451 (Quigley) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Vote by Mail Law. On May 21, A-2451 substituted for S-1380, passed in the Senate (24-14) and the Assembly (45-28), and was sent to the governor.

GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC SECTOR

A-1645 (McKeon) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Redefines the role and qualifications of a purchasing agent in the Local Public Contracts Law. On May 21, the bill passed in the Assembly (49-25-2) and was sent to the governor.

REAL PROPERTY TRUST AND ESTATE LAW

S-250 (Wisniewski) (NJSBA supports) Provides a statute of limitations for residential mortgage foreclosures. On May 21, S-250 substituted for A-3269 passed in the Assembly (75-0-1) and was sent to the governor.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

A-3569 (Egan) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Concerns stop-work orders and certain violations of workers' compensation requirements. On May 21, A-3569 substituted for S-2498, passed in the Senate (33-4) and was sent to the governor.

Pending Legislation

BUSINESS LAW

S-1802/A-2754 (Weinberg/Egan) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Jobs, Trade and Democracy Act. On May 21, A-2754 passed in the Assembly (61-12-3) and is awaiting Senate vote.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

S-1927/A-3003 (Buono/Love) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Regulates the solicitation of credit cards on college campuses. On May 21, A-3003 was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

A-1431 (Fisher) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Prohibits the mislabeling and misbranding of farm products; directs the secretary of agriculture to investigate and enforce violations; increases penalties for certain violations. On May 21, the bill passed in the Assembly (76-0) and was referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

A-2439 (Chivukula) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Authorizes companies under Board of Public Utility jurisdiction to bill customers electronically upon the customers' request. On May 21, the bill passed in the Assembly (76-0) and was referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

CRIMINAL LAW

S-532/A-1731 (Girgenti/Munoz) (NJSBA takes no position) Bars certain sex offenders from positions in youth-serving organizations. On May 21, S-532 substituted for A-1731, passed in the Assembly (76-0), and is awaiting vote in the Senate to concur with Assembly amendments.

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 May 21, A-2655 substituted for S-1809, passed in the Senate (39-0), and is awaiting vote in the Assembly to concur with Senate amendments.

S-1880 (Smith) (NJSBA supports) Establishes the Criminal Sentencing Commission to study and review the criminal law and recommend revisions; repeals existing commissions. On May 21, the bill passed in the Senate (30-9) to concur with the governor's recommendations.

S-2294/A-2143 (Lesniak/Cryan) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Adds email messages to the list of prohibited contact enumerated in permanent restraining orders for convicted stalkers. On May 21, A-2143 was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

ELDER AND DISABILITY LAW

S-149/A-137 (Allen/Ramos) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Provides for automatic enrollment in Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) and Senior Gold programs under certain circumstances. On May 21, A-137 passed in the Assembly (74-0), was received in the Senate without a committee reference, and is awaiting Senate vote.

S-550/A-1478 (Sweeney/Burzichelli) (NJSBA amendments adopted) Requires certain fiduciaries to post bond, and provides for accounting to the court if a beneficiary is developmentally disabled. On May 21, S-550 passed in the Senate (38-0) and was referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

S-1651/A-2238 (Vitale/Roberts) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Requires health benefits coverage for certain therapies for the treatment of autism and other developmental disabilities. On May 21, A-2238 passed in the Assembly (72-4-1) and was referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

S-2264/A-3281 (Cunningham/Chivukula) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Amends P.L.1999, c.23 concerning renewable energy. On May 21, A-3281 was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

FAMILY LAW

A-746 (Prieto) (NJSBA supports) Requires the court, prior to granting a domestic violence victim's application to dissolve a restraining order, to make a finding that the application was made voluntarily. On May 21, the bill passed in the Assembly (76-0) and was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A-3284 (Watson Coleman) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Expands the membership of the Domestic Violence Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board. On May 21, the bill passed in the Assembly (77-0) and was referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

HEALTH AND HOSPITAL LAW

S-96/A-118 (Weinberg/Vainieri Huttle) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Permits physicians and veterinarians to earn continuing education credits by providing certain free medical or veterinary services. On May 21, A-118 was substituted on the Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

S-2471/A-1264/A-3371/A-3633 (Vitale/Moriarty/Conaway) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Requires Department of Health and Senior Services to report certain patient safety indicators on a hospital-by-hospital basis, and prohibits hospitals from charging for certain medical errors. On May 21, S-2471 substituted for A-1264/A-3371/A-3633, passed in the Assembly (76-1) and is awaiting Senate vote to concur with Assembly amendments.

HIGHER EDUCATION

S-2491/A-3915 (Turner/Angelini) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Task Force on Underage Drinking in Higher Education. On May 21, S-2491 passed in the Senate (37-0) and was referred to the Assembly Higher Education Committee.

JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION

S-2276/A-3365 (Vitale/Oliver) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program. On May 21, S-2276 passed in the Senate (38-0) and is awaiting Assembly vote.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW

S-2336/A-557 (Buono/Dancer) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Repeals the bidding requirement for local public contracts to allow bidders to avoid an unresponsive bid if they inadvertently omit the business registration from a bid proposal, provided the bidder was registered before the bid submission deadline. On May 21, A-557 passed in the Assembly (76-0) and was referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

MUNICIPAL COURT PRACTICE

S-520/A-1718 (Sacco/Munoz) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Requires drivers to make all reasonable efforts to remove ice or snow from a vehicle; creates fine. On May 21, A-1718 was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

S-729/A-3985 (Stack/Diegnan) (NJSBA opposes) Permits municipalities to enact an ordinance requiring drivers arrested for driving under the influence to be held in custody. On May 21, A-3985 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

S-748/A-2134 (Codey/Wisniewski) (NJSBA opposes) Requires causes of driver inattention to be noted in traffic accidents. On May 21, A-2134 passed in the Assembly (61-14-1) and was referred to the Senate Transportation Committee.

S-2439 (Bateman) (NJSBA supports) Clarifies when penalty points are to be assessed for convictions of driving in an unsafe manner. On May 21, the bill passed in the Senate (37-0) and was referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

S-2480/A-1329 (Kean/Stender) (NJSBA takes no position) Revises laws concerning pedestrian safety and traffic control; requires drivers to stop and remain stopped for pedestrians under certain conditions. On May 21, A-1329 passed in the Assembly (75-0-1) and was referred to the Senate Transportation Committee.

TAXATION

A-3308 (Burzichelli) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Protects property taxpayers by requiring the removal of certain property tax deduction and credit information from documents available for public inspection, and provides for a homestead property tax benefit in the form of credit. On May 21, the bill was amended on Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

CIVIL TRIAL BAR

A-3984 (DeAngelo) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Broadens the scope of information sharing and civil immunity therefore, related to insurance fraud. On May 21, A-3984 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

S-2495/A-3669 (Madden/Quijano) (NJSBA supports) Concerns court actions against uninsured employers for non-payment of workers' compensation. On May 21, A-3669 passed in the Assembly (76-0) and is awaiting Senate vote.

Nominations

The following nominations received advice and consent by the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 21:

JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT
Richard Geiger, of Millville, NJSBA member
Douglas Hurd, of Stockton, NJSBA member
Harold Johnson, of Bridgeton
Maureen Mantineo, of Guttenberg
Jessica Mayer, of East Brunswick, NJSBA member
Frederic McDaniel, of Westfield
Julio Mendez
, of Vineland, NJSBA member
John Rauh, of South Seaville
Barbara Stolte, of Monroe Township, NJSBA member
Frederick Theemling, of Weehawken, NJSBA member
Daniel Waldman, of Red Bank, NJSBA member

JUDGE OF THE TAX COURT
Gail Menyuk, of Lawrenceville, NJSBA member

OCEAN COUNTY BOARD OF TAXATION
Geraldine Ambrosio, of Toms River
Peter A. Maher, of Jackson
Charles P. Tivenan, of Brick, NJSBA member

STATE PAROLE BOARD
Lloyd D. Henderson, of Lawnside, NJSBA member

MERCER COUNTY PROSECUTOR
Joseph Bocchini, of Hamilton Township

The following nominations were referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 21:

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT
Barry Albin, of Warren, NJSBA member

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE
Bruce Gorman, of Petersburg, NJSBA member
Jeff Masin, of Cherry Hill, NJSBA member
Donald Stein, of Haddon Heights

WORKERS' COMPENSATION JUDGE
J. Michael Blake, of Scotch Plains
Kenneth Kovalcik, of Wayne
Patrick Roche, of Brick, NJSBA member
Lionel Simon, of Toms River
Philip Tornetta, of Franklin Lakes

NEW JERSEY SPORTS AND EXPOSITION AUTHORITY
Joseph Buckelew, of Manasquan
George A. Castro, of Elizabeth
David Jefferson, of Warren, NJSBA member
Michael J. Neglia, of Harrington Park
Anthony Scardino, of Lyndhurst

STATE PAROLE BOARD
Mary Hunt, of Hammonton
Samuel J. Plumeri, of Hamilton
Jeffrey E. Ramsey, of Willingboro
Robert Riccardella, of Wood-Ridge

VICTIMS OF CRIME COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD
Rita L. Carr-Volpe, of Bridgeton.
Elise D. Collins, of Boonton, NJSBA member
Philip A. Ross, of Morganville, NJSBA member
Leslie Smith, of Voorhees
Andrea L. Spencer-Linzie

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.