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

Capitol Report

February 20, 2012

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

On Feb. 9, Business Law Section members Ira B. Marcus and Denise Walsh, both of Marcus Brody Ford & Kessler, and Business Law Section Chair Gianfranco Pietrafesa, of Archer and Greiner, testified before the Senate Commerce Committee in support of the following legislation:

S-742 (Sarlo) The Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act (RULLCA). The bill was released from committee with amendments.

Pending Legislation

CONSUMER PROTECTION

S-437 (Sacco) Prohibits the purchaser of a used motor vehicle from waiving the dealer's obligation regarding emissions control equipment. On Feb. 13, the bill passed in the Senate (37-2).

FAMILY LAW

S-1567 (PDF) (Turner) (NJSBA opposes) Clarifies factors used to determine when child support orders can be terminated. On Feb. 13, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SJR-41 (PDF) (Singer) Establishes a commission to study alimony law. On Feb. 13, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

S-1588 (PDF) (Rice) Strengthens various statutory provisions regarding civil union couples. On Feb. 13, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HEALTH AND HOSPITAL LAW
S-81 (Bateman) Prohibits healthcare institutions from discharging prescription medications into sewer or septic systems. On Feb. 13, the bill was amended on the Senate floor and is awaiting vote.

JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION

SCR-91 (PDF) (Weinberg) (NJSBA opposes) Proposes a constitutional amendment authorizing a statute transferring probation functions from the Judiciary to the State Parole Board. On Feb. 13, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

MUNICIPAL COURT PRACTICE

S-618 (PDF) (Sweeney) Requires school buses transporting certain disabled persons to use flashing lights, and establishes penalties for drivers who fail to yield. On Feb. 13, the bill passed in the Senate (40-0).

S-1578 (PDF) (Beck) Amends Kyleigh's Law to suspend the requirement that graduated driver licensees display decal until certain technology is developed. On Feb. 13, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Transportation Committee.

Regulatory Matters

FAMILY LAW

Below please find proposed regulations with a deadline for comment of April 21, unless otherwise noted:

N.J.A.C. 10:129-1.3, 3.1, 4.1, 7.3, 7.4, 8.1, and 8.3 (PDF) proposes amendments to Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) rules regarding child protection investigations. DYFS proposes to modify the categories of investigative findings that are utilized at the conclusion of an investigation. The proposed amendments include redefining the current investigative findings of “substantiated” and “unfounded,” and adding two intermediary investigative findings of “established” and “not established.” This change will allow the investigative findings and records to better reflect the circumstances of an investigation. The inclusion of the “established” finding, in addition to the existing “substantiated” finding, will allow DYFS to distinguish incidents of abuse and neglect that are of sufficient concern that they would necessitate a child abuse record information disclosure. Lastly, when a finding is determined to be “unfounded,” such records are expunged from DYFS’s records; the inclusion of the “not established” finding will allow DYFS to retain records where a child is found to have been harmed or placed at risk of harm. This will allow DYFS to have a better and more comprehensive understanding of a family should additional referrals be received by DYFS in the future.

The following rule was recently adopted:

N.J.A.C. 10:121 and 10:120A-1.3 (PDF) readopts, with amendments, Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) rules regarding adoptions. Full text of the readopted rules can be found in the New Jersey Administrative Code.

Public Notices

The New Jersey Law Revision Commission met on Feb. 16 to discuss the following agenda:

PROPERTY

Further consideration of a project to revise basic statutes on real property. Included are a memorandum (PDF), draft revisions (PDF), current law (PDF) and table of dispositions (PDF).

SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS (ATTORNEY'S FEES)

Consideration of a memorandum (PDF) on a proposed project to revise N.J.S. 22A:2-42 on the award of attorney's fees in special civil actions.

STRICT LIABILITY; ENVIRONMENTAL CLAIMS
Consideration of a memorandum (PDF) on a proposed project to clarify ambiguity in the interpretation and application of the limitations period and extension provision in the New Jersey Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act, N.J.S. 58:10B-17.1. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Exxon Mobil Corp., 420 N. J. Super. 395 (2011)

EFFECT OF EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION ON MORTGAGES ON THE MARITAL RESIDENCE
Consideration of a memorandum (PDF) on a proposed project addressing the effects of equitable distribution on mortgages secured by the marital residence. Request for commission authorization to proceed with this project.

UNIFORM CERTIFICATE OF TITLES FOR VESSELS ACT
Consideration of a memorandum (PDF) briefly describing the Uniform Act drafted by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) in support of a request for commission authorization to proceed with this project.

MORTGAGE ASSIGNMENT

A memo (PDF) and draft report (PDF) on the progress toward revised sections of the law on mortgage assignment recording.

Documents relating to the above agenda can be obtained online at http://www.lawrev.state.nj.us/.