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

Capitol Report

January 14, 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

 

ON THE GOVERNOR’S DESK

A-1688 (PDF) (Russo) Prohibits public institutions of higher education from permitting direct solicitation of students for credit card accounts. On Dec. 20, 2012, the bill was substituted for S-2303, passed in the Senate (37-0) and was referred for gubernatorial action.  

 

A-3027 (PDF) (Greenwald) Authorizes the use of fraud prevention contractors by the Division of Taxation. On Dec. 20, 2012, the bill was substituted for S-2350 (Pou), passed in the Senate (38-0) and was referred for gubernatorial action.  

 

S-581 (PDF) (Madden) Creates the New Jersey Angel Investor Tax Credit Act; provides credits against corporation business and gross income taxes for investing in New Jersey emerging technology businesses. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill was substituted for A-1084 (Quijano), passed in the Assembly (47-30-0) and was referred for gubernatorial action.  

 

S-1213 (PDF) (Van Drew) (NJSBA opposes) Establishes a real property assessment demonstration program. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill was substituted for A-1591 (Benson), passed in Assembly (77-0-0) and was referred for gubernatorial action.  

 

The NJSBA opposes this bill, believing it could cause significant injury to attorneys and their clients who practice in the property tax field. The loss of statewide uniformity with regard to appeal filing deadlines and jurisdiction poses a significant problem, and this legislation would create an overlap for filing appeals between the county tax board hearings, in the demonstration county, and in the state tax court. 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.

 

PENDING LEGISLATION

 

Administrative Law

A-3321 (PDF) (Burzichelli) Amends the Administrative Procedure Act to require state agencies to use various electronic technologies in rule-making procedures. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill passed in the Assembly (76-1-0). On Dec. 20, 2012, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.

 

Animal Law

A-3303 (PDF) (Singleton) Prohibits animal cruelty violators from owning domestic companion animals and from working at animal-related enterprises; designated as Moose's Law. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

Banking Law

A-1535 (PDF) (Burzichelli) Creates the Consumer Credit Fairness Act. On Dec. 13, 2012, the bill was released from the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote. 

 

Bankruptcy Law

A-3396 (PDF) (Watson-Coleman) Codifies the Judiciary's Foreclosure Mediation Program; dedicates monies from foreclosure filing fees and fines. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill was referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

 

Business Law

A-3049 (PDF) (Diegnan) Allows certain business combinations between resident domestic corporations and interested stockholders. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill passed in the Assembly (76-0-0). On Dec. 20, 2012, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

 

A-3050 (PDF) (Diegnan) Allows corporate shareholder meeting participation by remote communication and clarifies remedies for dissenting shareholders. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill passed in the Assembly (77-0-0). On Dec. 20, 2012, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

 

A-3123 (PDF) (Diegnan) Revises the law concerning derivative proceedings and shareholder class actions. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill passed in the Assembly (77-0-0). On Dec. 20, 2012, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

 

Child Welfare

A-700 (PDF) (Ramos) (NJSBa supports) Authorizes the Office of Public Defender to provide legal representation for a child in proceedings after parental rights have been terminated. On Dec. 13, 2012, the bill was released from the Assembly Appropriations Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

The NJSBA strongly supports this legislation because a number of children are awaiting permanent placement. 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 placement is pending.

 

Criminal Law

A-1683 (PDF) (Johnson) Criminalizes the purchase or possession of firearms ammunition by persons convicted of certain crimes. On Dec. 13, 2012, the bill was released from the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

A-2027 (PDF) (Munoz) Enacts the Jessica Lunsford Act; imposes a mandatory term of 25 years to life for aggravated sexual assault against a child under the age of 13. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

A-2131 (PDF) (Burzichelli) Authorizes the release of sex offender registration information to the Department of Human Services and county welfare agencies. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill was referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

 

A-2919 (PDF) (Fuentes) Creates the New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

S-2177 (PDF) (Madden) Creates the New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. On Dec. 20, 2012, the bill was amended on the Senate floor (32-0) and is awaiting Senate vote.

 

Family Law

S-2209 (PDF) (Weinberg)/A-2128 (PDF) (Burzichelli) (NJSBA supports) Permits freeholders and municipal clerks to solemnize marriage and civil union ceremonies. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill was released from the Senate Judiciary Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

 

Higher Education

S-2291 (PDF) (Rice) Eliminates the requirement that every full-time student at an institution of higher education in New Jersey maintain health insurance coverage. On Dec. 20, 2012, the bill was released from the Senate Higher Education Committee and passed in the Senate (32-3). 

 

Judicial Administration

A-3219 (PDF) (Riley) Permits a domestic violence victim witness to testify via closed-circuit television under certain circumstances. On Dec. 13, 2012, the bill was released from the Assembly Appropriations Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

Labor and Employment Law

A-465 (PDF) (Jimenez) Requires criminal history record background checks for public employees handling vital records. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill was referred to

The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

 

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 Dec. 17, 2012, the bill passed in the Assembly (47-28-2). On Dec. 20, 2012, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

 

Local Government Law

A-3597 (PDF) (Wagner) Prohibits municipalities from charging interest on unpaid property taxes for 30 days after payment is due following a hurricane or other catastrophic weather event. On Dec. 13, 2012, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

 

Military and Veterans Affairs

S-1075 (PDF) (Van Drew) Extends burial of indigent veterans to those who did not serve in time of war; clarifies the role of the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs in identifying deceased veterans; provides additional funding for burial of indigent veterans. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill was released from the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affair Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

 

Municipal Court Practice

A-354 (PDF) (Gusciora) Requires all lamps and lighting devices on motor vehicles be kept in working order. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

A-1080 (PDF) (Quijano)/ S-69 (PDF) (Codey) Increases the fine and imposes license suspension for talking or texting on hand-held device while driving. On Dec. 13, 2012, the bill was released from the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

A-1566 (PDF) (Wisniewski) (NJSBA supports) Provides for appointment of certain municipal court judges at the local or county level. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill passed in the Assembly (77-0-0). On Dec. 20, 2012, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

The NJSBA supports this legislation because it would allow local officials, rather than the governor, to appoint judges for joint and central municipal court. It is believed that more municipalities would form joint courts if it did not result in the loss of local appointment power. This bill will encourage the creation of more joint courts and result in budgetary savings for municipalities.

 

A-3254 (PDF) (Coughlin) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits a municipal court to order certain offenders to perform community service in lieu of payment of a penalty. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

ACR-88 (PDF) (Wisniewski) (NJSBA supports) Proposes a constitutional amendment removing gubernatorial appointment of certain municipal court judges. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill passed in the Assembly (7-0-0) and on Dec. 20, 2012, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

The NJSBA supports this constitutional amendment because it believes it will streamline court administration in New Jersey’s municipal courts. First, the bill will provide a process to appoint inter-municipal court judges, which takes into account the concerns of the municipalities. This could have the impact of getting municipal court judges appointed more quickly. Second, given recent efforts to regionalize municipal services, this constitutional amendment allows municipalities to retain the judicial appointment authority they have with a single municipal court in an inter-municipal court situation. The NJSBA believes New Jersey voters rejected this legislation because they did not understand how it would benefit their communities by promoting the consolidation of services while allowing municipalities to continue to provide input into the jurist selected to hear municipal court matters.

 

Real Property, Trust and Estate Law

A-1513 (PDF) (Burzichelli) Creates the Real Estate Installment Contract Act. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill was referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

 

S-2036 (PDF) (Whelan) Permits liens in favor of planned real estate development associations for unpaid assessments in planned real estate developments. On Dec. 20, 2012, the bill passed in the Senate (38-0), and on Jan. 8, 2013, the bill was received in Assembly and referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

 

 

Renewable Energy, Cleantech and Climate Change

A-710 (PDF) (Ramos) Requires construction of certain new state buildings, facilities, and structures to include green or blue roofs. On Dec. 13, 2012, the bill was released from the Assembly Appropriations Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

School Law

S-1517 (PDF) (Turner) (NJSBA opposes) Provides state, county, municipal, and school district contracts for professional services will be publicly bid. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill was released from the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

 

The NJSBA opposes this bill since it would require colleges and universities to solicit competitive bids for professional services. These professional service contracts would have to be rebid on an annual basis. The bill ignores the consequences of rotating professionals during the pendency of litigation, in the middle of construction projects or before the requested professional services can be completed. The contract award would be based on the lowest fees paid rather than assessment of the competency of the professional and other considerations that currently go into selection of professional consultants. There would be no consideration of the value of historical accumulation of experience with a particular client or consistency of representation.

 

Taxation Law

A-1084 (PDF) (Quijano) Creates the New Jersey Angel Investor Tax Credit Act; provides credits against corporation business and gross income taxes for investing in New Jersey emerging technology businesses. On Dec. 13, 2012, the bill was released from the Assembly Budget Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.