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

Capitol Report

March 22, 2010

This is a status report on recently passed and pending legislation, regulations, gubernatorial nominations and/or appointments of interest to lawyers. The report may also include information about appearances of NJSBA representatives before legislative committees, and the involvement of the NJSBA as amicus in appellate court matters. 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

Executive order No. 17 Orders and directs the creation of a New Jersey Privatization Task Force of five individuals to help develop recommendations for the governor for a comprehensive approach regarding the privatization of state and local services in light of the state's current fiscal condition. (Issued March 11, 2010)

On the Governor's Desk

S-82 (Rice) (NJSBA supports) Modifies the development application process under the Municipal Land Use Law, P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.), to change a general rule governing land use decision making. On March 15 the bill substituted for A-437, passed in the Assembly (51-14-11) and was sent to the governor.

S-895 (Gill) (NJSBA supports) Eliminates the 10-day advance notification of a proposed effective date of certain shareholder action not concerning mergers and acquisition activity governed by N.J.S.14A:10-1 et seq. This 10-day waiting period can, at times, create inefficiencies in transactions and delay closings while the notice period runs. On March 15 the bill substituted for A-2420, passed in the Assembly (77-0) and was sent to the governor.

Pending Legislation

Criminal Law

S-911 (Girgenti) (Under review by the NJSBA) Upgrades penalties for assaulting certain healthcare professionals and workers at healthcare facilities and human services and veterans' facilities. On March 11 the bill passed in the Senate (37-0), was received in the Assembly and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

S-1702 (Turner) (NJSBA opposes) Upgrades assault on victims who are disabled. On March 11 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-1703 (Turner) (NJSBA opposes) Provides for mandatory life imprisonment for sexual assault upon a minor. On March 11 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-1713 (Turner) (Under review by the NJSBA) Upgrades sexual assault to aggravated sexual assault when committed in conjunction with a carjacking. On March 11 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-1715 (Turner) (Under review by the NJSBA) Decreases the penalty for certain parole violations. On March 11 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

A-1050 (Quijano) (NJSBA supports) Upgrades the offense of knowingly engaging in the unauthorized practice of law from a disorderly persons offense to a crime of the fourth degree. On March 15 the bill was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

Consumer Protection

S-1790 (Turner) (NJSBA supports with amendments) Eliminates the award of attorneys' fees, filing fees and costs of suit for technical violation of the Consumer Fraud Act. On March 15 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

A-1700 (Burzichelli) (NJSBA supports as amended) Establishes the New Jersey Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. On March 15 the bill was amended to clarify that attorneys, or individuals working under the direction or control of attorneys, are not included in the definition of "debt collector" in cases where they attempt to collect a debt in their own name for legal services rendered. In such instances, the attorneys, and those working for them, would be considered creditors for the purposes of this bill's enforcement. The bill is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

Family Law

A-1590 (Scalera) (NJSBA opposes) Requires three forms of identification when requesting a birth certificate. On March 15 the bill passed in the Assembly (75-1), was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

A-1748 (Watson Coleman) (NJSBA supports) Expands the membership of the Domestic Violence Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board from 21 members to 23 members, by adding the commissioner of children and families, the director of the Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Children and Families, and the chairperson of the Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board. On March 15 the bill passed in the Assembly (77-0), was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

S-1649 (Turner) (NJSBA takes no position) Establishes the New Jersey Task Force on Child Support Reform. On March 11 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-1692 (Madden) (NJSBA supports with amendments) Establishes the New Jersey Task Force on Domestic Violence and Abuse. On March 11 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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 the effective date. On March 15 the bill passed in the Assembly (75-1-1), was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Judicial Administration

SCR-91 (Doherty) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for five-year terms for Supreme Court justices, and for tenure elections for a justice to receive tenure upon reappointment. On March 11 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Minorities in the Profession

S-1791 (Turner) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of credit history or financial status. On March 15 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Labor Committee.

Municipal Court Practice

S-1701 (Turner) (NJSBA opposes) Increases penalties for drunk driving with a minor as a passenger. On March 11 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

Nominations

The following nominations were reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 15:

COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BANKING AND INSURANCE
Thomas B. Considine, of Spring Lake Heights

COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Bob Martin, of Princeton

COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SENIOR SERVICES
Poonam Alaigh, of Warren

The following nominations received advice and consent by the Senate on March 11:

COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Bret Schundler, of Jersey City

COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
James S. Simpson, of Wayne, PA

The following nominations were reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 11:

CHIEF ADMINISTRATOR OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE COMMISSION
Raymond P. Martinez, of Middletown

COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
Janet F. Rosenzweig, of Yardley, PA

COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
Gary M. Lanigan, of Staten Island, NY

COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES
Jennifer Velez, of Summit  

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.