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

Capitol Report

December 7, 2009

This is a status report on recently passed and pending legislation, regulations, gubernatorial nominations and/or appointments of interest to lawyers. It is compiled by the government affairs department of the New Jersey State Bar Association. Following each bill number is the sponsor's name, the NJSBA position, if any, bill description and status.

Pending Legislation

CONSTRUCTION LAW

S-1449/A-4166 (Rice/Ramos) (Under review by the NJSBA) Strengthens the state construction code. On Nov. 23, A-4166 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

A-4236 (Wagner) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires chain restaurants to provide calorie information for food or beverage items offered for sale. On Nov. 30, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.

CRIMINAL LAW

A-4239 (Chiappone) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the crime of using a defaced or stolen firearm to cause serious bodily or bodily injury to a law enforcement officer; enhances penalties concerning defaced firearms. On Nov. 30, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

ELDER AND DISABILITY LAW

S-3103/A-4241 (Sweeney/Burzichelli) (Under review by the NJSBA) Allows a student who is eligible for special education programs and services for autism or another developmental disability to bring a medically recommended service dog to school. On Nov. 30, A-4241 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

FAMILY LAW

A-4237 (Wagner) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires collection of an additional fee on request for a certified copy of a newborn's original birth record for support of certain activities by public cord blood bank. On Nov. 30, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.

S-2091/A-3833/A-4296 (Scutari/Carroll/Stender) (NJSBA opposes) Prohibits the enforcement of 'palimony' agreements, unless such agreements are in writing. On Nov. A-4296 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

HIGHER EDUCATION

S-2491/A-3974 (Turner/Evans) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Task Force on Underage Drinking in Higher Education. On Nov. 30, A-3974 was transferred to the Assembly Education Committee.

LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW

S-816/A-4146 (Sweeney/DeAngelo) (NJSBA supports) Provides exclusive jurisdiction to the Public Employment Relations Commission for certain unfair labor practice claims. On Nov. 23, A-4146 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Labor Committee.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW

S-1646/A-1095 (Weinberg/Cryan) (NJSBA supports) Decreases certain public document copy fees to up to $0.10 or less per letter size page and up to $0.15 or less per legal size page. On Nov. 30, A-1095 was released from the Assembly State Government Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

S-305/A-4234 (Whelan/Vainieri Huttle) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires government records to be made available on the Internet. On Nov. 30, A-4234 was introduced and referred to the Assembly State Government Committee.

MILITARY LAW AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS

A-4249 (Conners) (Under review by the NJSBA) Recognizes POW and MIA as valid descriptions of casualty status and category classification for military personnel. On Nov. 30, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly State Government Committee.

MINORITIES IN THE PROFESSION

S-2846/A-4298 (Rice/Watson Coleman) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires state entities to examine the opportunity of minority- and women-owned financial institutions to serve as senior managing underwriters, imposes reporting requirements, and enables establishment of aspirational levels of utilization and relative compensation. On Nov. 30, A-4298 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

MUNICIPAL COURT PRACTICE

S-2937/A-4306 (Codey/McKeon) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires mandatory jail time for certain driving while intoxicated convictions with high blood alcohol concentration. On Nov. 30, A-4306 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

S-2939/A-4303 (Codey/McKeon) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides that certain drunk-driving offenders who drive with a suspended license are guilty of a fourth degree crime. On Nov. 30, A-4303 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

S-2940/A-4302 (Codey/McKeon) (Under review by the NJSBA) Increases penalties for loaning a motor vehicle to a person with a suspended driver's license in certain circumstances. On Nov. 30, A-4302 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

REAL PROPERTY TRUST AND ESTATE LAW

S-130/A-2054 (Scutari/Wisniewski) (NJSBA supports) Shortens time periods for adverse possession, clarifies statutes, and repeals N.J.S.2A:14-30 and N.J.S.2A:14-31. On Nov. 23, S-130 was released from the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

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 Nov. 23, A-4063 was released from the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

S-2865/A-4168 (Sarlo/Schaer) (Under review by the NJSBA) Transfers management, administration and duties of "the workers' compensation security fund" to the New Jersey Property-Liability Insurance Guaranty Association. On Nov. 23, A-4168 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.

A-4294 (Oliver) (Under review by the NJSBA) Extends workers' compensation surviving spouse lump sum to remarriages occurring after the 450th week of benefits. On Nov. 30, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Labor Committee.

NOMINATIONS

The following nominations were reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 23:

VICTIMS OF CRIME COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

Philip A. Ross, of Morganville, 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.