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

Capitol Report

December 5, 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.

NJSBA Action in Trenton

A-2422 (Diegnan) (NJSBA supports) Permits certain motor vehicle offenders to apply for a restricted use license.

On Nov. 21, Municipal Court Practice Section Chair Stephen Williams, of the New Jersey Law Office of Stephen D. Williams, and the section’s former chair, Damian Scialabba, of Mongello & Scialabba LLC, testified before the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee to express the NJSBA’s support for A-2422. The NJSBA has long supported the concept of a DWI diversionary program, as successfully operating in several other states, to address the many issues associated with DWI recidivism more effectively, including the possibility of a restricted use driver’s license. The NJSBA believes the goal of the state in dealing with DWI offenders should be, at least in part, rehabilitation. This bill builds upon previous legislation in this area, providing for the treatment of drug- and alcohol-dependent offenders, and should strengthen the state’s ability to rehabilitate individuals with such problems and help decrease recidivism. Although the bill was held in committee, the NJSBA is working to have the legislation rescheduled for consideration.

Pending Legislation

CHILD WELFARE

S-3014 (PDF) (Kean, T.) Creates Caylee's Law; establishes penalties for failing to report to authorities or otherwise concealing the death or disappearance of a child. On Nov. 21, the bill combined with S-3010 and is awaiting Senate vote.

A-4290 (PDF) (Chiusano) Provides for the automatic waiver of a juvenile case to adult court for repeat juvenile offenders. On Nov. 21, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.   

CRIMINAL LAW

S-3109 (PDF) (Turner) Establishes a system of graduated parole violation sanctions. On Nov. 21, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.   

S-3116 (PDF) (Lesniak) Requires police to provide a crime victim with a free police report. On Nov. 21, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.   

A-3100 (PDF) (Johnson) Requires inmates be provided with a comprehensive medical discharge summary before release. On Nov. 21, the bill was released from the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

A-3994 (PDF) (Coutinho) Establishes preservation requirements for certain biological evidence. On Nov. 21, the bill was released from the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

A-4329 (PDF) (Spencer) Prohibits sex offenders from being placed in family homeless shelters. On Nov. 21, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.   

HEALTH AND HOSPITAL LAW

A-1088 (PDF) (Gusciora) Permits limited pharmacy sales of syringes and needles without a prescription. On Nov. 21, the bill was released from the Assembly and referred to Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

HIGHER EDUCATION

S-3111 (PDF) (Addiego) Prohibits public institutions of higher education from increasing resident undergraduate tuition by more than two percent over the prior academic year. On Nov. 21, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee.

IMMIGRATION LAW

SCR-240 (PDF) (Addiego) Proposes a constitutional amendment concerning bail and illegal immigrants. This amendment would allow the state to deny eligibility for bail to certain classes of persons who are in the country illegally, such as those who are charged with serious, but non-capital, crimes. Under current law, disqualifying certain classes of illegal aliens from bail is not possible because the constitution provides that all persons, except certain persons charged with capital crimes, are eligible for bail. Being eligible for bail before trial does not mean a person will receive bail; the decision to grant bail is made by a court that considers the facts of the individual case. On Nov. 21, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.   

JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION

SCR-241 (PDF) (Allen) Proposes a constitutional amendment clarifying the Legislature's authority to pass laws requiring contributions from justices' and certain judges' salaries to help fund employee benefits. On Nov. 21, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.   

LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW

S-1301 (PDF) (Madden) Authorizes unemployment benefits for shared work programs. This bill, as amended, is designed to encourage employers who must reduce their employees’ work hours because of economic conditions to avoid layoffs by sharing the remaining work. This is achieved by permitting, under certain circumstances, a full-time employee to receive unemployment benefits when the employee’s weekly work time is reduced by 10 percent or more. The bill also permits the employee to attend an approved training program while receiving those benefits. On Nov. 28, the bill was released from the Assembly Labor Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW

S-3104 (PDF) (Norcross) Establishes the Common Sense Shared Services Act; concerns shared service agreements and joint contracts for certain local personnel under the Uniform Shared Services and Consolidation Act. On Nov. 21, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.   

S-3110 (PDF) (Vitale) Prohibits municipal library trustees from transferring donated funds to the municipality. On Nov. 21, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.   

MUNICIPAL COURT PRACTICE

A-3400 (PDF) (Thompson) Provides that requirements of implied consent statutes do not constitute an element of the offense of refusing a breath test. On Nov. 21, the bill was released from the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

REAL PROPERTY, TRUST AND ESTATE LAW

S-2459 (PDF) (Turner) Regulates deed solicitors. This bill, as amended, requires deed solicitors to register with the Division of Consumer Affairs. The bill defines “deed solicitor” as any person who engages in the business of “providing copies of deeds for lands, tenements, or other realty in this state to a property owner, for a fee and not in relation to the transfer or sale of, or the mortgage origination, mortgage servicing, mortgage refinancing, property tax servicing, or other action initiated by or on behalf of the owner with respect to, such lands, tenements, or realty.” On Nov. 21, the bill was released from the Senate Commerce Committee and was referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

S-3103 (PDF) (Norcross) Concerns the appeal of a real property assessment in certain municipalities. On Nov. 21, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.   

A-3537 (PDF) (Coughlin) Requires certain owners of foreclosed property to file contact information with the municipality and common interest community. The amended bill excludes from this requirement an owner who has previously provided notice to the municipality as a creditor serving a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose, pursuant to Section 17 of P.L.2008, c.127 (C.46:10B-51). If the owner does not reside in New Jersey, then the owner shall designate a representative who is authorized to accept service of process on behalf of the owner, and provide the representative’s contact information to the municipality. On Nov. 21, the bill was released from the Senate Commerce Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

RENEWABLE ENERGY, CLEANTECH AND CLIMATE CHANGE

S-1406 (PDF) (Smith, B.) Establishes the New Jersey Property Assessment Clean Energy (NJ PACE) Municipal Financing Program. On Nov. 21, the bill was released from the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee and was referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Nominations

The following nominations were referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 21:

JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT:

Lee A. Solomon, of Haddonfield, NJSBA member

COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS:

Richard E. Constable, of Orange