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

Capitol Report

February 7, 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. 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.

New Laws

P.L.2011, c.1 (Sacco) Concerns lost or stolen E-ZPass transponders. On Jan. 25, S-725 was signed by the governor.

P.L.2011, c.2 (Scutari) Requires all wireless telephones and electronic communication devices issued by public entities to be activated to receive Amber Alerts. On Jan. 25, S-1431 was signed by the governor.

P.L.2011, c.3 (Cardinale) Authorizes the display of flashing amber warning lights on sanitation vehicles. On Jan. 25, S-1446 was signed by the governor.

P.L.2011, c.4 (Girgenti) Establishes a statewide Public Safety Communications Commission in the Office of Information Technology and a statewide Public Safety Communication Council, which would be responsible for providing advice and assistance to the commission and the Office of Information Technology on matters pertaining to the planning, design, and implementation of the statewide emergency enhanced 9-1-1 telephone system and the New Jersey Interoperable Communications System. On Jan. 25, S-2315 was signed by the governor.

P.L.2011, c.5 (Diegnan) Prohibits the use of wireless telephones or electronic communication devices by operators of public transit vehicles in certain situations. On Jan. 25, A-407 was signed by the governor.

P.L.2011, c.6 (Scalera) Requires New Jersey institutions of higher education to disseminate fire safety information about their facilities to students, parents or guardians, and employees. On Jan. 25, A-1570 was signed by the governor.

P.L.2011, c.7 (Lampitt) Requires the Department of Community Affairs to post on its website the current adopted budget of any county or municipality that does not maintain its own website; also requires posting of three immediately preceding adopted budgets. On Jan. 25, A-2844 was signed by the governor.

On the Governor's Desk

A-2144 (DeAngelo) Provides for maintenance of state buildings and facilities by the direct hire of certain skilled labor. On Jan. 25, the bill substituted for S-2387 was sent to the governor.

On the Senate/Assembly Desk

S-1 (Lesniak) (Under review by the NJSBA) Reforms procedures concerning the provision of affordable housing; abolishes the Council on Affordable Housing. On Jan. 25, the governor's conditional veto was received in the Senate.

ACR-81 (Wisniewski) (NJSBA supports) Proposes a constitutional amendment removing the gubernatorial appointment of certain municipal court judges. On Jan.25, copies of the concurrent resolution were placed on the Senate and Assembly desks.

Pending Legislation

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

S-2666 (Oroho) (NJSBA supports with amendments) Modifies the process for contested case hearings by the Office of Administrative Law with regard to telephone and video conferences, delegation of final decision authority, oral decisions, checklist decisions, electronic filings, and settlements. On Jan. 31, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.

ANIMAL LAW

S-2662 (Vitale) Authorizes the immediate euthanasia of impounded stray animals that are injured or ill beyond hope of recovery. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

AUTO REPARATIONS

S-2657 (Greenstein) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes Jessica Rogers' Law; upgrades assault by auto or vessel in situations of road rage. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

BUSINESS LAW

S-2679 (Madden) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires pre-notification of mass layoffs by a holding company or franchisor at multiple franchise locations. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Labor Committee.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

S-2664 (Lesniak) Establishes the Market Competition and Consumer Choice Act; alters state regulation of competitive services provided by telecommunications and cable television companies. On Jan. 31, the bill was released from the Senate Economic Growth Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

CRIMINAL LAW

S-2650 (Cunningham) Concerns removal of certain inmate information from the Department of Corrections' website. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

S-2651 (Singer) Concerns the registration of persons convicted of arson-related crimes. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

S-2656 (Greenstein) (NJSBA takes no position) Authorizes the release of sex offender registration information to the Department of Human Services and county welfare agencies. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

S-2674 (Singer) Restores the death penalty for certain murders. On Jan. 31, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW

S-2644 (Doherty) Provides that public employee salaries at all levels of government cannot exceed the salary of the governor. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.

MUNICIPAL COURT PRACTICE

S-2671 (Van Drew) Clarifies that a conviction of refusal to submit to a breathalyzer constitutes a prior conviction for sentencing purposes under drunk driving law. On Jan. 31, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

SCHOOL LAW

S-2647 (Turner) Establishes the Extended School Day and School Year Study Commission to study the effects of a longer school day and school year on advancing student achievement, enhancing the overall school learning environment, and increasing student enrichment opportunities and educational offerings. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee.

WOMEN IN THE PROFESSION

S-2665 (Weinberg) Repeals obsolete statutes concerning the status of women. On Jan. 31, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

S-2660 (Weinberg) (NJSBA opposes) Concerns workers' compensation for firefighters with cancer. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Labor 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.