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

Capitol Report

February 11, 2013

 

This is a status report provided by the New Jersey State Bar Association on recently passed and pending legislation, regulations, gubernatorial nominations and/or appointments of interest to lawyers, as well as the involvement of the NJSBA as amicus in appellate court matters. To obtain a complete copy of the Capitol Report and/or retrieve a former Capitol Report, please visit our website at www.njsba.com

 

NEW LAWS

 

P.L. 2013, c. 15. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill was substituted for A-1591, passed in the Assembly (77-0-0) and was sent to the governor for review. The bill was signed into law b the governor on Feb. 4.

 

The NJSBA opposed this legislation because of the significant injury it believes the bill could cause attorneys and their clients who practice in the property tax field. The legislation creates an overlap between county tax board hearings in the demonstration county and the filing of appeals in the state tax court. The loss of statewide uniformity with regard to appeals filing deadlines and jurisdiction poses a significant problem. If this proposal was ever expanded on a statewide basis, practitioners would be dealing with county tax board appeals and the April 1 tax court filing deadline simultaneously. Under existing law, the county tax boards have the power to review and revise assessments between Jan. 10 and April 1. County tax boards that are truly concerned with certain ratables distorting a tax rate can already fix the problem before the tax rate is struck.

                                          

BILLS ON THE GOVERNOR’S DESK

 

Banking Law

A-1688 (PDF) (Russo)/S-2303 (PDF) On Dec. 20, 2012, the bill was substituted for S-2303 (1R), passed in the Senate (37-0) and sent to the governor for review. The bill would prohibit colleges and universities from permitting direct solicitation of students for credit card accounts. 

 

Taxation Law

A-3027 (PDF) (Greenwald)/S-2350 (PDF) On Dec. 20, 2012, the bill was substituted for S-2350, passed in the Senate (38-0) and sent to the governor for review. The bill would permit the Division of Taxation to use fraud prevention contractors.

 

ACTION IN TRENTON

 

Child Welfare Law

A-700 (PDF) (Ramos) Authorizes the Office of Public Defender to provide legal representation for a child in proceedings after parental rights have been terminated. On Jan. 28, 2013, the bill passed in the Assembly (75-0-0). 

 

The NJSBA strongly supported this legislation because a number of children are awaiting permanent placement. Unfortunately, after termination of parental rights, children are legal orphans until adopted. This legislation will allow legal guardians to assist with protecting the child’s interest of formalizing placement even if an appeal is taken or new legal issues arise while pending placement.

 

Health Law

S-1034 (PDF) (Allen) Requires the Division of Developmental Disabilities to study the need for placement trusts for persons with developmental disabilities. On Feb. 4, 2013, the bill was released from the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

 

The NJSBA’s Board of Trustees and Legislative Committee voted to support this legislation. The Division of Developmental Disabilities currently has a policy by which the division places children in group homes if the child's parent donates an agreed upon residence or cash to purchase a residence. The bill would give trustees the same option. At present, trustees are unwilling to exercise this option because of the liability concerns. The person establishing liability concerns would have the right under this bill to authorize the trustee to exercise the option of a placement.  

 

PENDING LEGISLATION

 

Business Law

S-2473 (PDF) (Whelan) Establishes a small business loan guarantee program in the Economic Development Authority allowing certain small businesses to receive loan guarantees to support their capital purchases and operating expenses. On Feb. 4, 2013, the bill was released from the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

 

Civil Trial

A-746 (PDF) (Barnes) Establishes a civil cause of action for gender-motivated violence. On Feb.4, 2013, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

Civil Trial

A-762 (PDF) (Barnes) Creates a civil cause of action for stalking. On Feb. 4, 2013, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

Elder and Disability Law

S-2515 (PDF) (Norcross) Provides gross income tax credit for certain expenses paid or incurred for care and support of a qualifying senior family member; designated as the Caregiver's Assistance Act. On Feb. 4, 2013, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

 

Family Law

A-3219 (PDF) (Riley) Permits certain witnesses under the age of 16 and victims of any age to testify by closed-circuit television in prosecutions for crimes or offenses involving domestic violence. On Feb. 4, 2013, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

Insurance Defense

S-2534 (PDF) (Weinberg) Includes reverse rate evasion as form of insurance fraud and provides for civil and criminal penalties. On Feb. 4, 2013, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

 

Labor and Employment Law

A-1271 (PDF) (Coughlin) Allows corporation business tax credit and gross income tax credit for certain wages paid to qualified interns in tax years 2012 and 2013. On Feb. 4, 2013, the bill was released from the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

 

S-1263 (PDF) (Vitale) Allows corporation business tax credit and gross income tax credit for certain wages paid to qualified interns in tax years 2013 and 2014. On Feb. 4, 2013, the bill was released from the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

 

Municipal Court Practice

S-2427 (PDF) (Scutari) Revises penalties for certain drunk driving offenses, including mandating installation of an ignition interlock device, and creates a restricted use driver's license. On Feb. 4, 2013, the bill was referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

 

Public Utility Law

S-2537 (PDF) (Holzapfel) Prohibits a public utility from filing a rate increase petition under certain circumstances. On Feb. 4, 2013, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

 

Renewable Energy, Cleantech and Climate Change

A-710 (PDF) (Ramos) Requires that certain state departments, divisions, commissions, and authorities consider use of green or blue roof in construction of certain new state buildings, facilities, and structures. On Feb. 4, 2013, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.

 

A-711 (PDF) (Ramos) Requires adoption of certain rules and regulations by the Department of Community Affairs and the Department of Environmental Protection concerning blue roofs and green roofs. On Feb. 4, 2013, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.