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

Capitol Report

May 24, 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.

ON THE GOVERNOR'S DESK

P.L.2010, c.9 (Rice) (NJSBA supports) Modifies the development application process under the Municipal Land Use Law. On May 5, the bill was signed by the governor.

P.L.2010, c.15 (Gill) (NJSBA supports) Eliminates the 10-day advance notification of the proposed effective date of certain shareholder action. On May 6, the bill was signed by the governor.

PENDING LEGISLATION

Business Law

S-1849 (Kyrillos) (Under review by the NJSBA) Modifies the provisions of the Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Act, P.L.1996, c.25 (C.34:1B-112 et seq.), to enhance the benefits of the act for certain businesses and establish new requirements for qualifying businesses. On May 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

S-1850 (Kyrillos) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires the director of the Division of Taxation to study the impact of state business income taxes on business out-migration, business formation, and employment. On May 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

S-1864 (Kyrillos) (Under review by the NJSBA) Consolidates certain business-related categories of gross income and provides a 20-year carry-forward of certain net losses under the gross income tax. On May 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

S-1879 (Kyrillos) (Under review by the NJSBA) Eliminates the minimum corporation business tax on New Jersey S corporations to lessen the burden of double taxation upon S corporation shareholders. On May 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Children's Rights

S-1836 (Kean) (Under review by the NJSBA) Makes various statutory changes to the Child Care Licensing Act. Specifically, the bill stipulates that the Department of Children and Families shall issue a license annually to a child care center that meets the requirements of the law. Currently, child care center licenses are valid for a three-year period. The bill also prohibits a child care center from operating with a temporary license for more than a total of 12 months, instead of the 18 months currently allowed. On May 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

S-1362 (Buono) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides that if a minor is placed in a resource family home, group home, or institution, pursuant to Section 26 of P.L.1951, c.138 (C.30:4C-26), and is pregnant, becomes pregnant or gives birth to a child while in the placement, the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) in the Department of Children and Families shall provide or arrange for the provision of services to ensure that the minor and her child remain together as a family unit. On May 10, the bill was released from the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

Construction Law

S-1846 (Bateman) (Under review by the NJSBA) Revises the Construction Lien Law, which provides a statutory scheme for private contractors, subcontractors and suppliers to secure payment for their labor and materials, while not impeding the free transfer of real property, through a lien filing process. On May 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

Criminal Law

S-778 (Madden) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires the attorney general, on or before March 30th of each year, to conduct a review of all persons who were released from incarceration or involuntary commitment in the previous calendar year and who are required to register as sex offenders. The review is to determine whether these individuals actually did register, and whether they were tiered by the county prosecutors. On May 10, the bill was released from the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

S-1564 (Turner) (Under review by the NJSBA) Creates the Juvenile Transfer Task Force to study, evaluate, and develop recommendations concerning the transfer of juveniles from the juvenile justice system to the adult criminal justice system. On May 10, the bill was released from the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee with committee amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

SCR-96 (Kyrillos) (Under review by the NJSBA) Proposes a constitutional amendment to restore the death penalty for persons convicted of certain murders. On May 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Dispute Resolution

S-1853 (Singer) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes a process for low-cost dispute resolution for residents, owners and associations of common interest communities. A common interest community is a development with commonly owned property, such as a condominium, cooperative or planned real estate development, subject to the requirements of P.L.1993, c.30 (C.45:22A-43 et seq.), or a lake community with maintenance obligations imposed as covenants running with the land on which the community is located through the various deeds of the owners. Most associations are required to be formed pursuant to state law when a developer files the plans to build the community. On May 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

Health and Hospital Law

SCR-99 (Oroho) (NJSBA opposes) This proposed constitutional amendment states that the Legislature may provide that a parent or legal guardian shall receive notice before his or her unemancipated minor or incompetent child undergoes any medical or surgical procedure or treatment relating to pregnancy, irrespective of any right or interest otherwise provided in the New Jersey Constitution. On May 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

Insurance Law

S-1859 (Kyrillos) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits the enrollment of a public employee for healthcare benefits coverage provided by the employing public entity if the employee has, at that time, a spouse or domestic partner who is also a public employee already enrolled for healthcare benefits coverage through a public entity, and the employee can be enrolled as a dependent of the spouse or partner. Thus, married couples or domestic partners who are both public employees will receive healthcare benefits only on the basis of employee and dependent coverage through one public employer. On May 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.

Labor and Employment Law

S-1842 (Singer) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires every employer, before hiring an employee, to verify the employment eligibility of the employee through the E-Verify program, which is an electronic verification of work authorization program jointly operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. The bill provides for employers who employ 100 or more employees to comply with the E-Verify requirement by Dec. 31, 2010. Employers who employ less than 100 employees must comply with the E-Verify requirement by Dec. 31, 2011. On May 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Labor Committee.

S-1854 (Pennacchio) (Under review by the NJSBA) Reduces unemployment benefits and employer unemployment taxes, and establishes a "shared work" unemployment benefits program. On May 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Labor Committee.

Medical Malpractice

S-1844 (Kyrillos) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes limits on noneconomic loss for damages received in a medical malpractice action based upon newly defined categories concerning the nature and seriousness of the underlying injury. On May 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

Municipal Court Practice

S-1446 (Cardinale) (Under review by the NJSBA) Authorizes the display of flashing amber warning lights on sanitation vehicles to enhance the physical safety of sanitation employees, as well as approaching pedestrians and motorists. On May 10, the bill was released from the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

School Law

S-1858 (Lesniak) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits the conversion of nonpublic schools into charter schools. On May 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee.

S-1862 (Kyrillos) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes a 15-member New Jersey State Commission on Education Reform to study and recommend reforms to the public school education finance system and to any other state or local laws, rules, regulations, policies, and practices necessary to ensure that all children in the state have the opportunity to obtain a thorough and efficient education. On May 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee.

NOMINATIONS

The following nominations were referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 10:

JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT
George Leone, of Haddonfield, NJSBA member

FISH AND GAME COUNCIL

Louis John Dughi, of Westfield, NJSBA member

NEW JERSEY ELECTION LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION

Amos C. Saunders, of Totowa, NJSBA member

Walter F. Timpone, of Cranford, NJSBA member
Larry Weiss, of Westfield

STATE INVESTMENT COUNCIL
Brendan Thomas Byrne, of Princeton, NJSBA member
Robert E. Grady, of San Francisco, CA
Guy P. Haselmann, of Summit

STATE PAROLE BOARD
Allen L. Delvento, of Island Heights
Edward S. Nathan, of Chatham, NJSBA member

DIRECTOR OF THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
Thomas Richard Calcagni, of New York

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.