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

Capitol Report

July 19, 2010

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 New Jersey State Bar Association representatives before legislative committees, and the involvement of the association as amicus in appellate court matters. The state bar association's government affairs department 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 www.njsba.com.

On the Governor's Desk

Taxation Law

S-29 (Sweeney) Reduces the school district, county, and municipal property tax levy cap from 4 percent to 2.0 percent, and permits unused school district, county, and municipal increases to be banked for three succeeding years. The bill also establishes the tax levy cap as the permanent mechanism for the calculation of the maximum allowable increase in the tax levy for local units and school districts that may occur between budget years. Under existing law, the 2007 tax levy cap law is scheduled to expire June 30, 2012. On June 12, the bill passed in the Assembly (73-4) and was sent to the governor.

Regulatory Matters

Below please find proposed regulations with a deadline for comment of Sept. 4, unless otherwise noted:

Banking Law

N.J.A.C. 3:11 Proposes readoption of Division of Banking and Insurance rules concerning the following subjects: loan and investment approval; approved subsidiaries; organization and operation of small business investment companies; investment by bank in capital stock of bank principally engaged in international banking; investment by bank in capital stock of domestic operating subsidiaries; approved stock investment; limitation of liability to a bank, savings bank or state association; savings banks investment securities; standby letters of credit; savings bank and state association credit cards; restrictions of leeway investments; savings banks: commercial loans; and officers and directors restrictions.

N.J.A.C. 3:24 Proposes readoption (without change) of Division of Banking and Insurance rules that will implement many essential provisions of the Check Cashers Regulatory Act of 1993.

Criminal Law

N.J.A.C. 10A:71; 10a:71-1.1.13 Provides changes to State Parole Board rules that determine if, when and under what conditions offenders may be released on parole or returned to custody for violations of supervision terms or conditions.

Elder and Disability Law

N.J.A.C. 8:20 Proposes re-adoption of Department of Health and Senior Services rules regarding governing the birth defects registry, which contains a confidential record of all children with birth defects that are identified within the first five years of life. Additionally, these rules would continue the autism registry, which contains a record of all children diagnosed through age 21 as having any of the autism spectrum disorders.

N.J.A.C. 10:43-1.3, 3.1, 3.2, 6.1 and 8.3; 10:43-2.3; 10:43-3.1; 10:43-2.2 Proposes changes to Bureau of Guardianship Services rules for individuals receiving services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities and applying to the court for appointment of a guardian.

N.J.A.C. 10:45 Proposes new rules for the Department of Human Services, Department of Developmental Disabilities regarding guardianship services.

Insurance Law

N.J.A.C. 11:2-23.5; 11:4-59 Provides changes to Department of Banking and Insurance, Office of Life and Health, rules to codify the requirements and implement the provisions of N.J.S.A. 17B:25-34 et seq., which prescribes marketing, information disclosure, and product suitability requirements for all current and future issues of individual fixed-deferred and immediate annuity contracts solicited directly to consumers. Among other things, the act requires the commissioner of banking and insurance to approve an annuities buyer's guide and the standard form of an annuity contract disclosure statement to be used by an insurance producer, agent, representative or member of a fraternal benefit society not required to be licensed as an insurance producer, or an insurer in the solicitation, negotiation or sale of an annuity. The act also requires those selling these products to make reasonable efforts to obtain and record information about the suitability of the product for the solicited consumer and the consumer's acknowledgement of the information recorded.

N.J.A.C. 11:27 Proposes re-adoption of Department of Banking and Insurance rules regarding medical malpractice insurance. In the recent past, the medical malpractice liability insurance market has been strained in New Jersey, as well as throughout the nation. The issues of availability and affordability of medical malpractice liability insurance had been matters of concern. One ramification of availability and affordability problems with medical malpractice liability insurance is the potential negative impact such problems may have on adequate access to high-quality healthcare by New Jersey residents. To that end, the Legislature enacted the New Jersey Medical Care Access and Responsibility and Patients First Act, P.L. 2004, c. 17, which provided various reforms to address the vital interests of the state in ensuring that healthcare practitioners can continue to provide high-quality healthcare, and that such healthcare continues to be available to residents of the state. The department adopted various rules to implement the act beginning in 2005, with the latest rules adopted in June 2009. The rules in the chapter proposed for readoption continue to provide standards to implement specific provisions of the act, or otherwise further the goals of the act to ensure access to high-quality healthcare by residents of the state.

Land Use

N.J.A.C. 5:43 Proposes re-adoption of Department of Community Affairs rules regarding the Neighborhood Preservation Balanced Housing Program, which creates housing opportunities in viable neighborhoods for households of low and moderate income, and is funded by the New Jersey Realty Transfer Tax.

N.J.A.C. 5:80 Proposes re-adoption of rules for the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, which serves as an advocate for increasing the supply of adequate, safe and affordable housing in the state of New Jersey. The agency acts as a mortgage lender by providing financing to housing sponsors who wish to construct, rehabilitate or improve housing for low- to moderate-income residents. The agency also provides mortgage loans for first-time home buyers, and serves as the housing credit agency for the state.

Public Notices

The New Jersey Law Revision Commission met on July 15 to discuss the following agenda:

  1. N.J.S. 48:2-27 Extension of Service Facilities-Consideration of a revised memorandum proposing commission action to make a very limited change to a section of the statute in response to court decisions interpreting that section.
  2. N.J.S. 54:3-27 Payment of Tax Pending Appeal-Consideration of a revised memorandum proposing commission action to modify an ambiguous section of the statute in response to a court decision interpreting that section.
  3. N.J.S. 55:13A-6 Powers of Commissioner-Consideration of a brief memorandum proposing commission action to correct an error in the statute that erroneously raised the penalty for failure to comply with a subpoena issued by the commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs from $100 to $100,000.
  4. Landlord Tenant-(i) Consideration of a revised draft report on the relationship of landlord and tenant chapter with accompanying memorandum and (ii) consideration of a revised draft report on the eviction chapter with accompanying memorandum.
  5. N.J.S 2A:34-23 and N.J.S. 3B:8-1-Consideration of a memorandum proposing a new project pertaining to the equitable distribution of marital property and the elective spousal share in order to address a gap in the statutes that recently caused the court to call for legislative action.
  6. Title 46 Property-(i) Consideration of a memorandum proposing the deletion and consolidation of various anachronistic sections of Title 46 and (ii) a memorandum consolidating and streamlining various archaic provisions contained in Chapter 3 of Title 46.

A copy of this agenda and related material can be found online at http://www.lawrev.state.nj.us/agenda.html.

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.