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

Capitol Report

May 3, 2010

This special edition of the Capitol Report details NJSBA legislative and gubernatorial activity regarding legislation introduced and considered in the 214th session of the New Jersey State Legislature.

NJSBA DRAFTED BILLS

The following NJSBA-drafted bills have been introduced or reintroduced:

S-477/A-570 (Lesniak/Cryan) Requires legal action against certain licensed persons to be brought within two years.

S-914(Gill) Addresses alternate names for professional service corporations.

A-401 (Diegnan) Imposes limits on fees charged for discovery in municipal court matters.

A-1451 (Scutari/Wisniewski) Revises New Jersey's adverse possession law.

S-677/A-265 (Sarlo/Russo) Creates a business court.

NJSBA ACTION IN TRENTON

S-82/A-437 (Rice/Green) (NJSBA supports) Modifies the rule governing decisions under the Municipal Land Use Law. On February 4, former Land Use Law Section Chair David Frizzell, of Buckalew Frizzell & Crevina, testified before the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee on S-82, which was released. On March 11, the NJSBA communicated its support to the full Senate, and on March 4, the NJSBA offered support of A-437 before the Assembly Local Government and Housing Committee, and the bills were released. On March 15, S-82 substituted for A-437, passed in the General Assembly (51-14-11) and was sent to the governor for consideration.

S-201 (Whelan) (NJSBA opposes) Requires government records to be made available on the Internet. On March 8, the bill was held in the Senate State Government Committee and a proposed substitute is being circulated to the NJSBA's Local Government Law Section, Individual Rights Section and Consumer Protection Law Committee, given that the substitute appears to address many of the NJSBA's concerns.

S-676 (Sarlo) (NJSBA supports) Increases workers' compensation for loss of a hand or foot. On February 18, Workers' Compensation Section Chair Arthur Kravitz, of Stark & Stark, offered testimony in support of this bill before the Senate Labor Committee. The bill was released, and on February 22 the NJSBA communicated its support for the bill to the full Senate, which passed the bill (24-12) and referred it to the Assembly Labor Committee for consideration.

S-799 (Vitale) (NJSBA supports) Permits adoptees and certain others access to the adoptee's original birth certificate and other related information. On March 4, Family Law Section Chair-elect Tom Snyder, of Einhorn Harris Ascher Barbarito & Frost, testified in opposition to the bill before the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. The bill was released with a committee substitute, and on March 18 the NJSBA met with James A. Harkness, the Senate Republican executive director, to express concerns with the bill. On March 22, the NJSBA was a signatory with the American Civil Liberties Union-NJ, NJ Right to Life, NJ Catholic Conference, National Council for Adoption, and Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry in New Jersey in an op-ed piece appearing in the Star Ledger titled "Protect the Privacy of All Parties." The bill passed in the Senate (27-10) and was referred to the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee.

S-895/A-2420 (Gill/Barnes) (NJSBA supports) Eliminates the 10-day advance notification of a proposed effective date of certain shareholder action. On February 4, the NJSBA communicated its support for S-895 to the Senate Commerce Committee and the bill passed the full Senate (39-0) on February 22. On March 11, the NJSBA expressed support for A-2420 to the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee, which released the bill. The NJSBA also communicated its support to the General Assembly on March 15. S-895 substituted for A-2420, passed in the Assembly (77-0) and was sent to the governor.

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 NJSBA communicated to the Senate that it had withdrawn its concerns pending further review based upon amendments to the bill. The bill passed in the Senate (37-0) on the same day, and was sent to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee for consideration. The NJSBA is reviewing the legislation based upon the amendments.

S-914 (Gill) (NJSBA supports) (NJSBA Drafted) Allows professional corporations to use or register an alternate name; allows use of certain abbreviations in certain business names; updates references for certain state business filings. On March 18, former NJSBA Trustee and Business Law Section Chair Stuart Pachman, of Brach Eichler, testified before the Senate Commerce Committee. The bill was released from committee with amendments, and later passed in the Senate (38-0) on March 22. The bill is now pending review by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

S-935 (Sweeney) (NJSBA opposes) Concerns certain workers' compensation supplemental benefits. On February 18, Workers' Compensation Section Chair Arthur Kravitz testified in opposition to the bill before the Senate Labor Committee, and the bill was released and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. Kravitz expressed the NJSBA's opposition to the bill again on March 4, and was available to answer questions before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, which held the bill.

A-1050 (Quijano) (NJSBA supports) Upgrades offenses of engaging in unauthorized practice of law; creates civil action; provides that persons convicted of the offenses are barred from appointment as a notary public. On March 8, the NJSBA testified in before the Assembly Judiciary Committee, and on March 15 the bill was amended on the Assembly floor adding Consumer Fraud Act civil protections. On March 22, a technical amendment was adopted on the floor.

A-1064 (Gusciora) (NJSBA opposes) Eliminates the award of attorneys' fees, filing fees and costs of suit for technical violation of the Consumer Fraud Act. On March 4, Consumer Protection Law Committee member Andrew Wolf, of Galex Wolf, was prepared to testify in support of the bill with amendments, but the legislation was held.

A-1452 (Wisniewski) (NJSBA opposes) Requires causes of driver inattention to be noted in traffic accidents. On March 22, the NJSBA communicated its opposition to the General Assembly, where the bill passed (56-16-4) and was referred to the Senate Transportation Committee.

A-1590 (Scalera) (NJSBA opposes) Requires three forms of identification when requesting a birth certificate. On March 8, the NJSBA voiced its opposition to the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee, which released the bill. On March 15, the NJSBA broadcasted its opposition to the General Assembly but the bill passed (75-1) and was referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

A-2296 (Stender) (NJSBA supports with amendments) Modifies the requirement for advice of counsel in certain "palimony" agreements. On February 25, the NJSBA communicated its support with amendments substituting alternative legislation. On February 25, the bill passed in the Assembly (68-6) without NJSBA amendments and was referred to the Senate Judiciary 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.