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

Capitol Report

July 13, 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

BANKING LAW

P.L.2009, c.84 (Watson Coleman) Regulates mortgage foreclosure forbearance period and repeals section 18 of the "Mortgage Stabilization and Relief Act" to authorize lenders and creditors to exchange information concerning delinquent borrowers. On July 2, A-3821 was signed by the Governor.

CRIMINAL LAW

P.L.2009, c.81 (Smith) (NJSBA supports) Establishes Criminal Sentencing Commission to study and review the criminal law and recommend revisions; repeals existing commissions. On July 2, S-1880 was signed by the Governor.

ELECTION LAW

P.L.2009, c.79 (Quigley) The Vote By Mail Law. On June 30, A-2451 was signed by the Governor.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW

P.L.2009, c.67 (Greenwald) Makes FY 2009 supplemental appropriations totaling $20,768,000, reduces FY 2009 appropriations by $27,500,000, and amends and supplements various language provisions affecting appropriations in FY 2009. On June 29, A-4101 was signed by the Governor with a line-item veto.

P.L.2009, c.68 (Greenwald) Appropriates $28,991,484,000 in State funds and $13,859,752,122 in federal funds for the State budget for fiscal year 2009-2010. On June 29, A-4100 was signed by the Governor.

On The Governor's Desk

ANIMAL LAW

A-2653 (Cruz-Perez) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires disclosure when selling certain clothing apparel containing fur. On June 25, A-2653 substituted for S-2472, passed in both the Senate (37-1) and the Assembly (52-27) and was sent to the Governor.

BUSINESS LAW

A-2884 (Albano) (NJSBA supports) Expands scope of unincorporated entities permitted to merge or consolidate with domestic corporations. On June 25, A-2884 substituted for S-2283, passed in the Senate (38-0) and was sent to the Governor.

A-2885 (Milam) (NJSBA supports) Allows officers of corporation to grant employees and officers of corporation shares of stock, rights or options. On June 25, A-2885 substituted for S-2245, passed in the Senate (37-1) and was sent to the Governor.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

S-454 (Buono) (Under review by the NJSBA) Expands consumer protections under New Jersey's motor vehicle "lemon law." On June 25, the bill passed in the Senate (36-2) and was sent to the Governor.

A-2406 (Rodriguez) (NJSBA supports) Clarifies obligation of cemeteries to hold consumer prepayments for cemetery services in trust accounts. On June 25, A-2406 substituted for S-1356, passed in the Senate (38-0) and was sent to the Governor.

CRIMINAL LAW

A-1942 (Chivukula) (NJSBA takes no position) Requires owners and employees of international labor matching or matchmaking organizations to undergo background check and these organizations' recruits be given domestic violence information. On June 25, A-1942 substituted for S-1813, passed in both the Senate (37-0) and the Assembly (78-1), and was sent to the Governor.

ELDER & DISABILITY LAW

S-550 (Sweeney) (NJSBA takes no position) Requires certain fiduciaries to post bond, and provides for accounting to court if beneficiary is developmentally disabled. On June 25, S-550 substituted for A-1478, passed in the Assembly (79-0) and was sent to the Governor.

S-661 (Madden) (Under review by the NJSBA) Revises criteria for eligibility to receive senior and disabled homestead property tax reimbursement. On June 25, S-661 substituted for A-2195, passed in the Assembly (77-2) and was sent to the Governor.

S-2231(Weinberg) (NJSBA takes no position) Includes nurse midwives among medical professionals authorized to certify medical condition of individuals under "Temporary Disability Benefits Law" and "Work First New Jersey Act." On June 25, S-2231 substituted for A-3110, passed in the Senate (39-0) and was sent to the Governor.

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 25, the bill passed in the Assembly (74-5) and was sent to the Governor.

HEALTH & HOSPITAL LAW

S-735 (Codey) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes involuntary commitment to outpatient treatment for person in need of involuntary commitment to treatment. On June 25, S-735 substituted for A-1618, passed in both the Senate (39-0) and the Assembly (76-0-3) and was sent to the Governor.

A-370 (Diegnan) (NJSBA supports) Requires facility where patient dies to provide medical examiner with contact information for next-of-kin so medical examiner may obtain additional information about death. On June 25, the bill passed in the Assembly (79-0) and was sent to the Governor.

A-2038 (Gusciora) (Under review by the NJSBA) Denies public access to extinguished psychiatric liens. On June 25, A-2038 substituted for S-1808, passed in both the Senate (39-0) and the Assembly (79-0), and was sent to the Governor.

INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS

A-339 (Quigley) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits individuals from purchasing more than one handgun in a calendar month. On June 25, the bill passed in the Senate (21-15) and was sent to the Governor.

LAND USE

S-1303 (Smith) (Under review by the NJSBA) Defines "inherently beneficial use" for purposes of zoning variance and specifically includes facilities and structures that supply electrical energy produced from wind, solar, or photovoltaic technologies. On June 25, S-1303 substituted for A-3062, passed in the Senate (33-3) and was sent to the Governor.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW

A-3101 (Watson Coleman) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits counties to create County Homelessness Trust Funds. On June 25, the bill passed in the Assembly (52/27) and was sent to the Governor.

MUNICIPAL COURT PRACTICE

S-520 (Sacco) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires drivers to make all reasonable efforts to remove ice or snow from vehicle; creates fine. On June 25, S-520 substituted for A-1718, passed in the Senate (35-0) and was sent to the Governor.

REAL PROPERTY TRUST & ESTATE LAW

S-1816 (Lesniak) (Under review by the NJSBA) Authorizes counties and municipalities to acquire real property, and to resell or lease it with agricultural deed restrictions attached, for farmland preservation purposes. On June 25, S-1816 substituted for A-828, passed in the Assembly (78-0-1) and was sent to the Governor.

SCHOOL LAW

A-2655 (Burzichelli) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires law enforcement agency to inform school principal of certain crimes committed by students. On June 25, the bill passed in the Assembly (79-0) and was sent to the Governor.

Nominations

The following nominations were reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 25:

ESSEX COUNTY BOARD OF TAXATION
Thomas J. Gartland, of Caldwell
Everett Johnson, of Newark, NJSBA member
James R. Matarazzo, of North Caldwell

NEW JERSEY PUBLIC BROADCASTING AUTHORITY
Scott A. Kobler, of Essex Fells, NJSBA member
Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, of West Orange

NEW JERSEY SPORTS AND EXPOSITION AUTHORITY
David Jefferson, of Warren, NJSBA member

STATE ATHLETIC CONTROL BOARD
Steven W. Katz, of Livingston, NJSBA member

VICTIMS OF CRIME COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD
Elise D. Collins, of Boonton, NJSBA member
Leslie Smith, of Voorhees

WORKERS' COMPENSATION JUDGE
Philip Tornetta, of Franklin Lakes

DIRECTOR OF THE DIVISION OF INSURANCE
Douglas A. Wheeler, of Metuchen, NJSBA member

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.