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

Capitol Report

February 1, 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. Full and previous versions of the Capitol Report with links to related text are available online at www.njsba.com.

Executive Orders

The following executive orders were issued by Governor Christie on Jan. 20:

Executive Order No. 1 Orders and directs all proposed regulations and rules, except as herein provided, are hereby frozen and suspended for a period of 90 days.

Executive Order No. 2 Orders and directs all agencies, boards, commissions, departments and authorities over which the governor has the power to veto minutes to implement and adhere to common sense principles concerning regulatory burdens.

Executive Order No. 3 Creates a red tape review group.

Executive Order No. 4 Orders and directs all agencies, boards, commissions, departments and authorities over which the governor has the power to veto minutes to implement and adhere to common sense principles concerning local governments.

Executive Order No. 5 Establishes a governor's council of economic advisors.

Executive Order No. 6 Orders and directs monitors and other employees of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission whose attendance is required for New Jersey casinos to be permitted to operate are essential attendance employees within the meaning of Title 4A of the New Jersey Administrative Code and other applicable laws and regulations.

Executive Order No. 7 Modifies prior executive orders implementing pay-to-play restrictions.

Executive Order No. 8 Orders and directs the Department of the Treasury publish quarterly reports on all state expenditures.

Pending Legislation

Animal Law

A-460 (Voss) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes certain specific gambling offenses connected with animal fights under the animal cruelty laws; establishes minimum jail time for first offenders. On Jan. 25, the bill was transferred to the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee.

A-1857 (Gusciora) (NJSBA takes no position) Requires courts to issue animal protective orders against persons found guilty of abusing animals. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

A-1881 (Johnson) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Office of Animal Welfare in the Department of Health and Senior Services. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

A-1882 (Johnson) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires animal cruelty training for selected assistant county prosecutors and tracking of animal cruelty cases in the state uniform crime reporting system; directs the attorney general to issue prosecutor guidelines for animal cruelty cases. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

A-1883 (Johnson) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes a 25-cent municipal court surcharge for all violations; creates a grant program for animal shelters funded by the surcharge. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-1884 (Johnson) (NJSBA opposes) Requires municipal courts to hear certain violations of animal cruelty statutes within 14 days of the summons date. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Casino Law

A-817 (Albano) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits in-person wagering at casinos on results of professional sports events, subject to voter approval. On Jan. 25, the bill was transferred to the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee.

A-1707 (Burzichelli) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits casino employees to serve on an Atlantic City governing body in certain circumstances. On Jan. 25, the bill was transferred to the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee.

A-1713 (Burzichelli) (Under review by the NJSBA) Removes the confidential employee status of certain Casino Control Commission employees. On Jan. 25, the bill was transferred to the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee.

Civil Trial Bar

A-1888 (Cryan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Limits the punitive damages in certain cases involving two or more comparatively negligent defendants. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-1889 (Cryan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Increases sheriffs' fees for executing arrest warrants in the special civil part. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Criminal Law

A-1866 (Johnson) (Under review by the NJSBA) Criminalizes the purchase or possession of firearms ammunition by persons convicted of certain crimes. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

A-1890 (Cryan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits the issuance of restraining orders against persons charged with certain prostitution-related offenses. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Election Law

A-1858 (Johnson) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires greater disclosure for campaign advertisements broadcast within certain time periods prior to an election. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly State Government Committee.

Government and Public Sector

A-1864 (Johnson) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes a permanent Gangland Security Task Force. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

A-1865 (Johnson) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Office of the Gang Member Relocation Coordinator. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

A-1877 (Johnson) (NJSBA supports) Requires members of the State Police to undergo annual performance evaluations. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

Higher Education

A-1145 (Evans) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Task Force on Underage Drinking in Higher Education. On Jan. 25, the bill was transferred to the Assembly Higher Education Committee.

A-1570 (Scalera) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires New Jersey institutions of higher education to disseminate fire safety information about their facilities to students, parents or guardians, and employees. On Jan. 25, the bill was transferred to the Assembly Higher Education Committee.

Judicial Administration

A-1872 (Johnson) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits immediate expungement of court records where the person is acquitted or discharged, or where the charges have been dismissed. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-1891 (Cryan) (NJSBA opposes) Authorizes a motion to dismiss in a cause of action (a SLAPP suit) arising from a defendant's valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

School Law

A-1887 (Cryan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires the reporting of criminal offenses occurring on school property to law enforcement authorities. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

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.