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

Capitol Report

January 16, 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


The 214th session of the Legislature ended at noon on Jan. 10, when a new session began with the reorganization of the Senate and Assembly.

Just prior to the end of the session, Governor Chris Christie signed 25 bills and vetoed 16 others. The governor has until noon on Jan. 16 to sign any bill that passed both Houses in the last 10 days of the session. All other bills pending at the end of the session expired, and must be re-introduced to be considered further.

This issue of the Capitol Report highlights those bills signed into law at the end of the session that affect the practice of law.


Business Law

P.L.2011, c.149 (Lesniak) Establishes the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program to provide tax credits to certain businesses; changes eligibility and certain other requirements for other business assistance programs; authorizes transfer of certain real property. On Jan. 5, S-3033 was signed by the governor.

Child Welfare

P.L.2011, c.166  (Angelini) Requires the Department of Children and Families to develop and adopt a statewide youth suicide prevention plan. On Jan. 5, A-3659 was signed by the governor.

Consumer Protection Law

P.L.2011, c.152 (Turner) Requires signs posted by retail motor fuel dealers to indicate motor fuel prices for cash and credit card customers; establishes an additional $1,000 penalty for violations. On Jan. 5, S-847 was signed by the governor.

P.L.2011, c.161 (Chivukula) Creates the New Jersey Trade Secrets Act. On Jan. 5, A-921 was signed by the governor.

Criminal Law

P.L.2011, c.174 (Wisniewski) Creates Caylee's Law; upgrades penalties for failing to report a death; criminalizes failure to report the disappearance of a child within 24 hours. On Jan. 5, A-4297 was signed by the governor.

Elder and Disability Law

P.L.2011, c.156 (Norcross) Allows students with disabilities to bring a service animal to school. On Jan. 5, S-1797 was signed by the governor.


P.L.2011, c.163 (Vainieri Huttle) Requires the Department of Human Services to collect and disseminate data about persons with developmental disabilities. On Jan. 5, A-2878 was signed by the governor.

Health and Hospital Law

PL 2011, c. 145 (Ruiz) Establishes the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Act; provides for use of physician orders for life-sustaining treatment forms and requires physicians and advanced practice nurses to pursue continuing education in end-of life care. On Dec. 20, S-2197 was signed by the governor.

P.L.2011, c.175 (Bucco) Creates Emma's Law; provides for screening newborn infants for lysosomal storage disorders. On Jan. 6, S-1999 was signed by the governor.

Insurance Law

P.L.2011, c.160 (Lesniak) Concerns the rights of financial counterparties to terminate and settle certain agreements with certain insurers in the event of insolvency or liquidation. On Jan. 5, S-2985 was signed by the governor.

Labor and Employment Law

P.L.2011, c.154 (Madden) Provides unemployment insurance benefits for shared work programs; requires a Department of Labor and Workforce Development report. On Jan. 5, S-1301 was signed by the governor.

Land Use

P.L.2011, c.171 (Coughlin) Allows all municipalities to sell and lease unneeded public property for "urban" farming and gardening purposes. On Jan. 5, A-4114 was signed by the governor.

P.L.2011, c.173 (Wagner) Allows counties and municipalities to use open space trust funds for the purchase of flood-prone properties. On Jan. 5, A-4267 was signed by the governor.

Military Law and Veteran’s Affairs

P.L.2011, c.170 (Conners) Creates the Veterans Haven Council. On Jan. 5, A-4111 was signed by the governor.

Municipal Court Practice

P.L.2011, c.172 (Albano) Allows the Motor Vehicle Commission to process title transfers of abandoned vessels without a court order; lengthens the time period required for a desertion of vessel to ripen into abandonment. On Jan. 5, A-4177 was signed by the governor.


The New Jersey Law Revision Commission will meet on Jan. 19 to discuss the following agenda:

  • Landlord and Tenant Law—Consideration of a draft final report along with: 1) a memorandum (PDF) summarizing comments regarding four sections of the report about which there is a difference of opinion (with comments (PDF) attached); and 2) a memorandum analyzing comments on orderly removal (PDF) (Section 46A:18-4 of the report).
  • New Jersey Debt-Management Services Act—(under review) Consideration of a draft final report (PDF) incorporating changes requested or authorized by the commission at the November meeting and a memorandum (PDF) providing additional background information pursuant to the commission's request.
  • Special Civil Part Actions (Attorney's Fees)—Consideration of a memorandum (PDF) on a proposed project to revised N.J.S. 22A:2-42 on the award of attorneys’ fees in the special civil part. Chase Bank USA, N.A. v. Staffenberg, 419 N.J. Super. 386 (App. Div. 2011).
  • 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)
  • Proposed meeting dates and times for 2012.