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

Capitol Report

June 29, 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.

On The Governor's Desk

CONSUMER PROTECTION

S-1927 (Buono) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Regulates solicitation of credit cards on college campuses. On June 18, the bill substituted for A-3003, passed in the Assembly (58-18) and was sent to the governor.

HEALTH AND HOSPITAL LAW

S-2471 (Vitale) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Requires the 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 June 18, the bill passed in the Senate (39-0) and was sent to the governor.

INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS

S-532 (Girgenti) (NJSBA takes no position) Bars certain sex offenders from positions in youth-serving organizations. On June 18, the bill passed in the Senate (39-0) and was sent to the governor.

LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW

S-562 (Sweeney) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Provides triggers for reductions of employer unemployment insurance taxes. On June 18, the bill substituted for A-1503, passed in the Assembly (77-0), and was sent to governor.

Pending Legislation

BANKING LAW

S-2777/A-4063 (Rice/Watson Coleman) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Establishes the New Jersey Foreclosure Fairness Act; imposes additional foreclosure notice requirements; amends the Mortgage Stabilization and Relief Act. On June 18, S-2777 was amended on the Senate floor and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

S-454 (Buono) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Expands consumer protections under New Jersey's motor vehicle lemon law. On June 18, the bill passed in the Assembly (44-30-2) and is awaiting vote in the Senate to concur with Assembly amendments.

S-2472/A-2653 (Van Drew/Cruz-Perez) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Requires disclosure when selling certain clothing apparel containing fur. On June 18, S-2472 was amended on the Senate floor and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

CRIMINAL LAW

S-1813/A1942 (Sarlo/Chivukula) (NJSBA takes no position) Requires owners and employees of international labor-matching or matchmaking organizations to undergo a background check, and requires these organizations' recruits be given domestic violence information. On June 18, S-1813 was amended on the Senate floor and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

S-1880 (Smith) (NJSBA supports) Establishes the Criminal Sentencing Commission to study and review the criminal law and recommend revisions; repeals existing commissions. On June 18, the bill passed in the Senate (31-7) and is awaiting vote in the Assembly to concur with the governor's recommendations.

S-2350/A-3336 (Scutari/Rible) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Repeals the statutory limitation on and imposes conditions for outside employment of assistant prosecutors. On June 18, A-3336 passed in the Assembly (74-0-2) and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

ELDER AND DISABILITY LAW

A-2238 (Roberts) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Requires health benefits coverage for certain therapies for the treatment of autism and other developmental disabilities. On June 18, the bill substituted for S-1651, passed in the Senate (35-0) and is awaiting vote in the Assembly to concur with Senate amendments.

FAMILY LAW

S-1513/A-2323 (Kean/DiMaio) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Requires notification of certain domestic violence victims through the Victim Information and Notification Everyday System (VINE). On June 18, the bill was released from the Senate Judiciary Committee and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

HEALTH AND HOSPITAL LAW

S-735/A-1618 (Codey/McKeon) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Establishes involuntary outpatient commitment to treatment for persons in need of involuntary commitment to treatment. On June 18, the bill was amended on the Assembly floor 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 June 18, S-1808 was amended on the Senate floor and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

S-2312/A-3465 (O'Toole/Conaway) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Requires uniform billing and patient data reporting by ambulatory care facilities. On June 18, the bill was amended on the Senate floor and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

A-370 (Diegnan) (NJSBA supports) Requires facility where a patient dies to provide the medical examiner with contact information for next-of-kin so the medical examiner may obtain additional information about the death. On June 18, the bill substituted for S-10, passed in the Senate (38-0) and is awaiting vote in the Assembly to concur with Senate amendments.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW

A-3101 (Watson Coleman) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Permits counties to create county homelessness trust funds. On June 18, A-3101 substituted for (S-2354), passed in the Senate (29-7), and is awaiting vote in the Assembly to concur with Senate amendments.

REAL PROPERTY, TRUSTS AND ESTATE LAW

S-1028 (Rice) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Establishes the New Homebuyers' Bill of Rights Act. On June 18, S-1028 was amended on the Senate floor and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

SPECIAL CIVIL PART PRACTICE

S-1988/A-2493 (Van Drew/Burzichelli) (Under Review by the NJSBA) Establishes the New Jersey Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. On June 18, A-2493 was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

TAXATION

S-2757/A-3308 (Sweeney/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 homestead property tax benefit in the form of credit. On June 18, A-3308 was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

Nominations

The following nominations were referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 18:

JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT
James Heley, of Westfield
Lois Lipton, of Edgewater

CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
Hope L. Cooper, of Franklin Park, NJSBA member
John Currie, of Ringwood
Margaret E.L. Howard, of Whitehouse Station

The following nominations were reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 18:

JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT
Catherine Enright, of Mendham, NJSBA member
Paul Escandon, of Loch Arbour, NJSBA member
Thomas Moore, of Roseland, NJSBA member
Maryann Nergaard, of Gillette, NJSBA member
James Savio, of Margate
Carolyn Wright, of East Orange

WORKERS' COMPENSATION JUDGE
J. Michael Blake, of Scotch Plains
J. Patrick Roch, of Brick
Lionel Simon, of Toms River

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

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.