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

Capitol Report

January 31, 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.

On the Governor's Desk

S-1 (Lesniak) (Under review by the NJSBA) Reforms the procedures concerning the provision of affordable housing; abolishes the Council on Affordable Housing. On Jan. 24, the bill was conditionally vetoed by the governor.

Pending Legislation

ANIMAL LAWS

A-832 (Albano) Establishes new crimes concerning service dogs and upgrades crimes against certain other animals. On Jan. 24 the bill was released from the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

A-1083 (Gusciora) Clarifies that failure to provide minimum care to an animal constitutes animal cruelty. On Jan. 24 the bill was released with amendments from the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

A-3749 (Ramos) Prohibits charging vehicle storage fees for days on which a storage facility is closed. On Jan. 24 the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee.

CRIMINAL LAW

A-1561 (Lampitt) Creates a diversionary program for juveniles who are criminally charged for sexting or posting sexual images. On Jan. 24, the bill was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

A-3086 (Barnes) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes a civil cause of action for gender-motivated violence. On Jan. 24, the bill was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

A-3187 (Fuentes) Expands the DNA database to include samples from certain arrestees. On Jan. 24, the bill was withdrawn from the files and will not be considered again.

ELECTION LAW

A-3757 (Benson) Requires governmental affairs agents retained by government entities to file certain reports with the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC); requires certain government entities retaining governmental affairs agents to file annual reports with ELEC. On Jan. 24 the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly State Government Committee.

HEALTH AND HOSPITAL LAW

A-3754 (Greenwald) Provides credit against ambulatory care facility assessment liability for value of unreimbursed care provided to hospital charity care patients. On Jan. 24 the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.

HIGHER EDUCATION

A-3747 (Wagner) Authorizes a public institution of higher education to establish an in-municipality tuition rate for students who graduate from public high schools located in the same municipality as the institution. On Jan. 24 the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Higher Education Committee.

INTERNET AND COMPLUTER LAW

A-3752 (Vainieri Huttle) Establishes the Adolescents' Online Privacy Protection Act. On Jan. 24 the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee. The bill would regulate the disclosure of personal information collected from adolescents by an operator of a website or online service. The bill would apply to personal information of individuals over the age of 13 but under the age of 18, and is modeled on the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, 15 U.S.C.A.s.6501 et seq., which applies only to children under the age of 13.

LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW

A-1068 (Gusciora) Sets confidentiality standards for public employee assistance program records and prohibits employer actions against program participants. On Jan. 24, the bill was released from the Assembly Labor Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote. As amended, the bill prohibits a public employer from taking any action against an employee, including termination, because the employee or a dependent of the employee has obtained counseling, referrals or other services from an employee assistance program or treatment or other services from any program to which the employee assistance program refers the employee or dependent, unless the employee was referred by the employer to the program due to issues related to job performance and the employee fails to make a good faith effort to comply with the recommendations made by the program.

A-3583 (Cryan) Requires pre-notification of mass layoffs by a holding company or franchisor at multiple franchise locations. On Jan. 24, the bill was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

A-3707 (Diegnan) Establishes standards regarding the disqualification of claimants for unemployment compensation for misconduct. On Jan. 24, the bill was released from the Assembly Labor Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

LAND USE

A-3751 (Vainieri Huttle) Concerns environmental permits in low-income, minority communities. On Jan. 24 the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee. The bill would authorize the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to designate an area within a municipality as a "burdened community" and, prior to a DEP determination on a permit application in a burdened community, require an additional environmental evaluation and a public hearing.

MUNICIPAL COURT PRACTICE

A-2865 (Wisniewski) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for the appointment of certain municipal court judges at the local or county level. On Jan. 24, the bill was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

A-3053 (Gusciora) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes a conditional intervention program in municipal court for certain first-time offenders. On Jan. 24 the bill was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

A-3748 (Fuentes) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for a municipal court community service fee. On Jan. 24 the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee. The bill would establish a $25 community service fee in order to defray the costs of the program. Under the provisions of the bill, if the community service program is established by or under the supervision of the municipality, that municipality would retain the fee. If the community service program is established by or is under the supervision of the Probation Division of the superior court, then the division would collect the fee.

ACR-81 (Wisniewski) (NJSBA supports) Proposes a constitutional amendment removing gubernatorial appointment of certain municipal court judges. On Jan. 24 the bill was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

TAXATION

A-3756 (Lampitt) Provides tax credits to certain businesses for certain capital investments in qualified business facilities and qualified residential projects located in vicinity of designated transit villages. On Jan. 24 the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development 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