January 21, 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.
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.
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.
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.