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

Capitol Report

December 12, 2011

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. The government affairs department of the association compiles the report. 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

ANIMAL LAW

S-2923 (Sweeney) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes a pilot program concerning sterilization of cats and dogs released for adoption from various facilities, and updates the law concerning impoundment. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in the Assembly (71-5-2) and was sent to the governor.

BANKING LAW

A-359 (Schaer) Creates the Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in the Assembly (79-0) to concur with the governor’s recommendations.

BUSINESS LAW

A-921 (Chivukula) Creates the New Jersey Trade Secrets Act. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in the Assembly (79-0) and was sent to the governor.

HEALTH AND HOPITAL LAW

S-958 (Vitale) Permits limited pharmacy sales of syringes and needles without a prescription. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in the Assembly (54-24) and was sent to the governor.

RENEWABLE ENERGY, CLEANTECH AND CLIMATE CHANGE 

S-2126 (Whelan) Permits development of solar and wind facilities and structures on landfills and resource extraction operations under certain circumstances. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in the Assembly (75-2-2) and was sent to the governor.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

S-676 (Sarlo) (NJSBA supports) Increases workers' compensation for loss of a hand or foot. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in the Assembly (59-15-4) and was sent to the governor.

Pending Legislation

ANIMAL LAW

A-1633 (Wagner) (NJSBA supports w/ amendments) Authorizes the court to include provisions for animals in domestic violence restraining orders. On Dec. 5, the bill was amended and is awaiting Assembly vote.

BUSINESS LAW

A-4337 (Coutinho D29) Creates the New Jersey Business Action Center; requires the center to provide competitive intelligence information to certain businesses. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in the Assembly (47-29-2).

FAMILY LAW

A-2295 (Chivukula) (NJSBA takes no position Authorizes certified celebrants to solemnize marriages and civil unions. On Dec. 5, the bill was amended and is awaiting Assembly vote.

HIGHER EDUCATION

A-4282 (Lampitt) Requires each public institution of higher education to post its budget on the institution's website. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in the Assembly (79-0).

INSURANCE LAW

A-2553 (Conaway) Requires audits of managed care plan provider networks. On Dec. 5, the bill was amended and is awaiting Assembly vote.

LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW

S-1301 (Madden) Provides unemployment insurance benefits for shared work programs; requires a Department of Labor and Workforce Development report. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in Assembly (75-1-2).

A-4332 (Oliver) Establishes the Back to Work NJ Program to provide workplace training to certain eligible unemployment insurance beneficiaries. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in the Assembly (47-32).

LAND USE

A-4114 (Coughlin) Allows all municipalities to sell and lease unneeded public property for "urban" farming and gardening purposes. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in the Assembly (69-10).

A-4267 (Wagner) Allows counties and municipalities to use open space trust funds to purchase flood-prone properties. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in the Assembly (79-0).

MUNICIPAL COURT PRACTICE

A-676 (Greenstein) (NJSBA opposes) Establishes Jessica Rogers' Law, upgrading assault by an auto or vessel in situations of road rage. On Dec. 5, the bill was amended and is awaiting vote in the Assembly.

A-4177 (Albano) Allows the Motor Vehicle Commission to process title transfers of abandoned vessels without a court order; lengthens the time period required for desertion of a vessel to ripen into abandonment. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in the Assembly (78-0).

A-4262 (Wisniewski) Requires the Department of Transportation commissioner to erect signs informing motorists of the state's "move over" law, which would require motorists to change lanes when approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, or highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle that is displaying flashing, blinking, or alternating emergency lights or, in the alternative, to reduce the speed of their vehicles if it is unsafe to move over one lane. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in the Assembly (51-16-10).

RENEWABLE ENERGY, CLEANTECH AND CLIMATE CHANGE 

S-463 (Smith, B.) Authorizes the creation of local renewable energy collaboratives and central renewable energy generation systems, and provides for the sale of renewable power generation. On Dec. 5, the bill substituted for A-915 and passed in the Assembly (46-33).

A-3992 (Chivukula) Provides for streamlined review of certain wind energy-generation facility installments on farmland. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in the Assembly (45-25-5).

SCHOOL LAW

S-1797 (Norcross) Allows students with disabilities to bring a service animal to school. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in the Assembly (78-0).

TAXATION

A-1466 (Wisniewski) Allows homestead property tax reimbursement program participants who lose income eligibility due to an IRA withdraw for certain purposes to maintain base year upon requalification. On Dec. 5, the bill passed in the Assembly (79-0).

Public Notice

The New Jersey Law Revision Commission meeting will meet on Dec. 12 to review the following agenda:

1. Workers' Compensation Claims—Consideration of a draft tentative report (PDF) containing revised language pursuant to the commission’s direction at the last meeting.

2. Uniform Limited Liability Company Act—Consideration of a memorandum (PDF) with updates on this project.

3. Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act—Consideration of a draft tentative report (PDF) proposing revisions to the Overseas Residential Absentee Voters Act Law (ORAVL) that incorporate some of the Military and Overseas Voters Act (UMOVA).

4. Property (Title 46)—Consideration of a memorandum (PDF) with a rough draft of some provisions of a revised property law.

5. Proposed meeting dates for 2012.

Material related to the above agenda can be obtained online at http://www.lawrev.state.nj.us/agenda.html.