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

Capitol Report

March 15, 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.

NJSBA Action in Trenton

S-799 (Vitale) (NJSBA opposes) On March 4, Thomas Snyder (Family Law Section chair-elect) testified before the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee to oppose S-799, which would provide retroactive access to adoption records to adoptive parents and adoptee children. The NJSBA has concerns that birth mothers had been assured confidentiality in the adoption process and should have their privacy rights safeguarded. The bill was combined with S-1399 (Weinberg), which allows adoptees access to non-identifying family medical history information, and is awaiting Senate vote.

S-935 (Sweeney) (NJSBA opposes) On March 4, Arthur Kravitz (Workers Compensation Section chair) answered questions before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on S-935, which would provide an annual cost-of-living benefit increase for Workers' Compensation benefit recipients and their survivors. The NJSBA has concerns that the legislation will increase expenses to employers by allowing for recovery of both Workers' Compensation benefits and disability benefits. The bill was released from committee.

A-1700 (Burzichelli) (NJSBA supports with amendments) On March 4, Andrew Wolf (Consumer Protection Law Committee) testified before the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee in support of A-1700, the New Jersey Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The NJSBA is requesting amendments to the bill to allow attorneys to act as creditors collecting for services rendered, given that the practice of law is regulated by the Supreme Court of New Jersey and the New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct. The bill was released from committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

Pending Legislation

Auto Reparations

S-1580 (Oroho) (Under review by the NJSBA) Adds "significant bodily injury" to the assault by auto or vessel statute; upgrades penalties for inflicting serious bodily injury. On March 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-1581 (Oroho) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes David's Law; establishes the crime of negligent vehicular homicide. On March 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Banking Law

A-359 (Turner) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act. On March 4, the bill was released from the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

Business Law

A-2420 (Diegnan) (NJSBA supports) Eliminates the 10-day advance notification of proposed effective date of certain shareholder action. On March 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

Criminal Law

A-1050 (Quijano) (NJSBA supports) Upgrades the offense of knowingly engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. On March 8, the bill was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

S-1562 (Turner) (NJSBA opposes) Upgrades the crime of stalking when the victim is less than 18 years old. On March 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Consumer Protection

S-1630 (Van Drew) (NJSBA supports with amendments) Invalidates consumer contracts that require a waiver of right to file a consumer complaint. On March 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

Elder and Disability Law

A-2385 (Conaway) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the State Medicare Part D Assistance and Information Act. On March 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.

Family Law

A-2296 (Stender) (NJSBA supports with amendments) Modifies the requirement for advice of counsel in certain palimony agreements. On March 4, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-1578 (Turner) (Under review by the NJSBA) Clarifies the intent of the Legislature that the attempt or conspiracy to commit certain offenses may constitute acts of domestic violence. On March 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A-1590 (Scalera) (NJSBA opposes) Requires three forms of identification when requesting a birth certificate. On March 8, the bill was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

Health and Hospital Law

A-1392 (Carroll) (Under review by the NJSBA) Includes midwives within the definition of "licensed person" for purposes of affidavits of merit in certain actions filed on or after effective date. On March 8, the bill was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

Land Use

A-437 (Green) (NJSBA supports) Modifies the rule governing decisions under the Municipal Land Use Law. On March 4, the bill was released from the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

S-1585 (Oroho) (Under review by the NJSBA) Makes various technical and procedural amendments to the Municipal Land Use Law. On March 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

Minorities in the Profession

S-1569 (Turner) (NJSBA takes no position) Provides for equal opportunity for businesses to apply for certain energy-related incentives and funding. On March 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

Municipal Court Practice

A-1452 (Wisniewski) (NJSBA opposes) Requires causes of driver inattention to be noted in traffic accidents. On March 4, the bill was released from the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

S-1560 (Turner) (NJSBA opposes) Prohibits searches of motor vehicles by police officers without probable cause. On March 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-1579 (Oroho) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires the Motor Vehicle Commission to immediately suspend the driver's license of alleged drunk drivers who cause a death. On March 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

S-1600/A-2423 (Van Drew/Albano) (NJSBA opposes) Establishes Jay's Law; requires driving while intoxicated offenders to wear an alcohol monitoring device. On March 4, the bills were introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee and the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

A-2422 (Diegnan) (NJSBA supports) Permits certain motor vehicle offenders to apply for a restricted use license. On March 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

Real Property Trust and Estate Law

A-2446 (Greenstein) (NJSBA opposes) Establishes the process by which a fiduciary is discharged. On March 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-2391 (Conaway) (Under review by the NJSBA) Require property condition disclosure statements for real estate sales. On March 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

Workers' Compensation

A-2448 (Rumpf) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prevents intoxicated employees from receiving Workers' Compensation. On March 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Labor Committee.

Court Rules Published For Comment

The 2008-2010 reports of the Supreme Court rules and program committees have been published and include: the Supreme Court Civil Practice Committee, the Professional Rules Responsibility Committee, the Special Civil Part Practice Committee and the Committee on the Tax Court. The deadline for comment is April 14. A copy of the rules reports are available at:
http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/reports2010/index.htm.

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.