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

Capitol Report

January 4, 2010

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.

New Laws

P.L.2009, c. 166 (McKeon) Redefines the role and qualifications of a purchasing agent in the Local Public Contracts Law. On Dec. 17, A-1645 was signed by the governor. (S-770, Rice)

Pending Legislation

Animal Law

S-3145/A-1419 (Kean/Fisher) (NJSBA supports) Authorizes courts to include animals in domestic violence restraining orders. On Dec. 14, S-3145 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Consumer Protection

S-2905 (Vitale) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires chain restaurants to provide calorie information for food or beverage items offered for sale. On Dec. 14, the bill was received in the Assembly without committee reference, and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

Criminal Law

A-2762 (Watson Coleman) (NJSBA supports) Authorizes the court to waive or reduce parole ineligibility or grant probation for drug-free school zone violations under certain circumstances. On Dec. 14, the bill was received in the Assembly, and is awaiting vote in the Assembly to concur with Senate amendments.

Environmental Law

S-1899/A-795 (Kyrillos/Gusciora) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires the Department of Environmental Protection commissioner to establish a list and recognition program for certain environmentally responsible companies. On Dec. 14, S-1899 was released from the Senate Environment Committee, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

S-2264/A-3281 (Cunningham/Chivukula) (Under review by the NJSBA) Amends P.L.1999, c.23, concerning renewable energy. On Dec. 14, S-2264 was released from the Senate Economic Growth Committee with committee amendments, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

S-2528/A-3740 (Smith/DeAngelo) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for regulation of small wind energy systems by municipalities. On Dec. 14, A-2528 was released from the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee with committee amendments, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

Health and Hospital Law

S-565/A-2029 (Sweeney/Watson Coleman) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits revised methods of treatment for chiropractors and establishes continuing education requirements. On Dec. 14, S-565 was released from the Senate Commerce Committee with committee substitute without recommendation, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

Insurance Law

S-2431/A-1878 (Bateman/Conners) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires insurance producers to notify the commissioner of banking and insurance of any disciplinary action taken by a non-governmental regulatory authority. On Dec. 14, S-2431 was released from the Senate Commerce Committee, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

Judicial Administration

A-3336 (Johnson) (Under review by the NJSBA) Repeals the statutory limitation on and imposes conditions for outside employment of assistant prosecutors. On Dec. 14, the bill was received in the Assembly, and is awaiting vote in the Assembly to concur with Senate amendments.

Real Property Trust and Estate Law

S-139/A-373 (Scutari/Diegnan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits real estate brokers to provide rebates to purchasers. On Dec. 14, S-139 was released from the Senate Commerce Committee with committee amendments, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

S-2068/A-3099 (Sweeney/Watson Coleman) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for continuing education for real estate brokers, broker-salespersons and salespersons, and creates a new licensing category of referral agents. On Dec. 14, S-2068 was released from the Senate Commerce Committee, and is awaiting vote in the Senate.

Nominations

The following nominations were referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Dec. 14:

JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT:

Anthony Massi, of Robbinsville, NJSBA member

John Porto, of Cape May Court House, NJSBA member

Lisa Vignuolo, of Milltown, NJSBA member

HORIZON BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD, INC. OF NEW JERSEY -
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

Philip Alagia, of Fairfield

Barry R. Mandelbaum, of New Vernon, NJSBA member

NEW JERSEY COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION:

Laurence M. Downes, of Princeton Junction

NEW JERSEY HEALTH CARE FACILITIES FINANCING AUTHORITY:

Suzette T. Rodriguez, of Perth Amboy, NJSBA member

Simon J. Samaha, of Haddonfield

NEW JERSEY MOTOR VEHICLE COMMISSION:

Scott L. Kisch, of Hoboken

NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE AUTHORITY:

David G. Evans, of Sicklerville

WORKERS' COMPENSATION JUDGE:

Eric Spevak, of Cherry Hill, NJSBA member

Public Notices

Notice of Implementation of Electronic Waste Management Act and Intended Proposal of Electronic Waste Management Rules, Department of Environmental Protection

Take notice that on Jan. 1, 2010, certain requirements of the state's new electronic waste management program under the Electronic Waste Management Act, P.L. 2007, c. 347 as amended by P.L. 2008, c. 130 (N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.94 et seq.) (the act) go into effect. The act establishes recycling requirements for manufacturers and consumers of "covered electronic devices," which the act defines as: televisions; portable, desktop or personal computers; and computer monitors. The manufacturers of these covered electronic devices must register with the Department of Environmental Protection (the department) by Jan. 1, 2010, (in the case of television manufacturers) and by Feb. 1, 2010, (in the case of manufacturers of all other covered electronic devices). An annual registration fee of $5,000 is due at the time of registration. The registration renewals and subsequent annual registration fees will be due to the department on or before Jan. 1 of every year thereafter. As specified by the act, if a manufacturer produces televisions as well as other covered electronic devices, the manufacturer must register for both categories and pay two registration fees.

The registration form to be used by manufacturers is available on the department's website:

http://www.nj.gov/dep/dshw/recycling/EWaste/manufacturers.html.

Notice of Applicable Interest Rate on Customer Deposits Effective for Calendar Year 2010

Take notice that N.J.A.C. 14:3-3.5(d), pertaining, in part, to the interest rate applicable to customer deposits, provides that:

A utility shall pay the customer simple interest on any deposit established under this chapter at a rate equal to the average yields on new six-month Treasury Bills for the 12-month period ending each September 30. Said rate shall become effective on January 1 of the following year following the 12-month period.

Based upon the foregoing, please be advised that the average yield on new six-month Treasury Bills for the 12-month period ending Sept. 29, 2009, is 0.43 percent. Accordingly, simple interest at the rate of 0.43 percent shall be applied to all customer deposits received of held by public utilities on and after Jan. 1, 2010, pursuant to the provisions of N.J.A.C. 14:3-3.5.

With regard to customer deposits held for at least six months by cable television operators to insure credit pursuant to N.J.A.C. 14;18-4.6(f), and for home converters and equipment pursuant to N.J.A.C. 14:18-4.7(b), the interest rate shall be equal to the IRS rates for overpayments and underpayments utilized by the Federal Communications Commission at 47 CFR §76.942(e) as required by N.J.A.C. 14;18-3.19(b).

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.