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

Capitol Report

December 27, 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.

SPECIAL EDITION

This special edition of the Capitol Report focuses on family law legislation.

New Laws

P.L.2010, c.98 (Buono) Provides for a minor and her child to remain together as a family unit in Division of Youth and Family Services placement. On Dec. 8, S-1362 was signed by the governor.

Pending Legislation

CHILD CUSTODY

S-1963/A-3096 (Beach/Conners) (NJSBA supports) (NJSBA BILL) Concerns custody and parenting time issues for military parents. On Sept. 16, this NJSBA-drafted bill was released from the Assembly Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee as a substitute and is awaiting Assembly vote. On May 20, S-1963 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

CHILD PROTECTION

S-2537 (Greenstein) (Under review by the NJSBA) Codifies the attorney general's recommendations concerning when an Amber Alert should be issued in cases involving the abduction of a child by a family member. Dec. 9, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

CHILD SUPPORT

A-3350 (Spencer) (Under review by the NJSBA) Allows licensing authorities to grant a license to certain child support obligors under certain circumstances. This bill allows an individual owing six months or more of child support arrears to apply for certain professional, occupational and motor vehicle operation licenses, provided the individual has made timely child support payments for the six months preceding the date of application and the individual is not disqualified because of one of the other disqualifying conditions. On Dec. 9, the bill was released from the Assembly Budget Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

A-3572 (Mainor) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for termination of a child support obligation upon certain conditions. On Dec. 6, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

S-2497 (Cunningham) (NJSBA opposes) Allows certain child support obligors in arrears to apply for certain licenses provided the applicant has made 12 consecutive timely child support payments. On Dec. 6, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

S-2499 (Greenstein) (NJSBA opposes) Creates the offense of impairing communications, which would constitute domestic violence in certain circumstances. On Dec. 9, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-2501 (Greenstein) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the authority of the court to order electronic monitoring of certain convicted domestic violence offenders. On Dec. 9, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A-1491 (Riley) (Under review by the NJSBA) Imposes certain bail restrictions on persons charged with violating domestic violence restraining orders. On Nov. 8, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A-2891 (Vainieri Huttle) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides rental and lease protections for domestic violence victims. On Oct. 14, the bill was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

S-2270/A-3369 (Singer/Riley) (Under review by the NJSBA) Expands the domestic violence statutes to encompass minors aged 16 and older. On Oct. 7, A-3369 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee. On Sept. 20, S-2270 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-2272/A-1748 (Gordon/Watson Coleman) (NJSBA supports) Expands the membership of the Domestic Violence Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board. On Sept. 20, S-2272 was introduced and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. A-1748 passed in the Assembly (77-0) on March 15.

A-3207 (Fuentes) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires persons to report incidents of domestic violence to law enforcement and makes it a disorderly persons offense to fail to make such a report. On Sept. 16, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-3221 (Fuentes) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Domestic Violence Tuition Waiver Program. On Sept. 16, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-2258 (Spencer) (Under review by the NJSBA) Creates a self-defense justification for victims of domestic violence. On Dec. 13, the bill passed in the Assembly (75-0), was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-1382/A-2790 (Voss) (NJSBA supports) Establishes the Domestic Violence Health Care Response Act, which creates the Domestic Violence Health Care Response Program to provide training for health and mental health professionals to improve the hospital, health center and clinic response to domestic violence victims seeking medical treatment, as well as to provide mental health professionals with the ability to identify domestic violence offenders who are harmful to themselves and others. On Sept. 13, A-2790 was transferred to the Assembly Human Services Committee. On Feb. 11, S-1382 was introduced and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

S-2235/A-3137 (Weinberg/Giblin) (NJSBA opposes) Establishes Monica's Law, concerning the domestic violence risk assessment pilot program. On Sept. 13, S-2235 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. On July 1, A-3137 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

S-2155/A-3129 (Quijano) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires counseling for certain domestic violence offenders. On July 1, A-3129 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee. On June 28, S-2155 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

MARRIAGE, CIVIL UNIONS AND DIVORCE

A-3341 (McKeon) (Under review by the NJSBA) Increases the total marriage license and civilian license fees from $28 to $50; allocates $25 to the municipality. On Oct. 7, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

S-1487 (Rice) (NJSBA opposes) Authorizes a party to a final divorce judgment or judgment for the dissolution of a civil union to request a name change without notifying the opposing party. On Oct. 7, the bill was received in the Assembly and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-3089 (Bucco) (NJSBA opposes) Eliminates the one-year residency requirement for certain civil action filings. At present, in order to file for a divorce, dissolution or legal separation in New Jersey, at least one of the parties must have been a New Jersey resident for at least one year. The sole exception to this residency requirement is the case of adultery. This bill would eliminate the one-year residency requirement in the case of extreme cruelty involving an act of domestic violence, thereby permitting earlier filings by persons, including those fleeing into New Jersey from another state. On July 7, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly 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.