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

Capitol Report

July 26, 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.

Pending Legislation

Criminal Law

S-1470 (Rice) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes a crime of the fourth degree for any person who trespasses into certain restricted airport areas. On July 19 the bill was released from the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

S-1620 (Haines) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes a crime of the fourth degree for an adult who impersonates, assumes a false identity, or in any way misrepresents him or herself as a child under the age of 18 for the purpose of joining a youth-serving organization with the intent to commit a sex offense for which registration is required under Megan's Law. On July 19 the bill was released from the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

Environmental Law

S-1413 (Smith) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires state entities to purchase bio-fuels in place of fossil fuels when reasonable, prudent and cost effective. On July 19 the bill was released from the Senate Environment and Energy Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

S-2108 (Smith) (Under review by the NJSBA) Increases the Spill Compensation and Control Act cap on liability. On July 19 the bill was released from the Senate Environment and Energy Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

S-2194 (Turner) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Child Safe Playing Fields Act; would prohibit the use of lawn care pesticides on the grounds of any school that enrolls students from preschool through grade five, except as an emergency response to an immediate threat to human health, as determined by school officials, in consultation with the local health officer; and would additionally prohibit the use of lawn care pesticides on playgrounds and recreational fields. On July 19 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.

Health and Hospital Law

S-1468 (Weinberg) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires for-profit hospitals to report certain information to the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and otherwise make that information available to the public. On July 19 the bill was released from the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

S-2199 (Ruiz) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the New Jersey Advisory Council on End-of-Life Care in the Department of Health and Senior Services. The council will conduct a thorough and comprehensive study of all issues relative to the quality and cost-effectiveness of, and access to, end-of-life care services for all persons in New Jersey, and develop and present policy recommendations for consideration by state agencies, policymakers, healthcare providers, and third-party payers. On July 19 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

Labor and Employment Law

S-1997 (Whelan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Eliminates various inactive boards, commissions, committees, councils, and task forces that have served their purpose, been inactive for years, no longer have a role to fulfill, have completed their work, have not been convened for a long period of time, or were never organized. On July 19 the bill was released from the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

S-2164 (Sweeney) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides changes to several laws that affect the regulation and business operations of employee leasing companies, or professional employer organizations (PEOs). Employee leasing companies are business entities that manage human resources, employee benefits, health insurance, payroll and workers' compensation for small businesses. On July 19 the bill was released from the Senate Labor Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

SR-80 (Cunningham) (Under review by the NJSBA) This resolution memorializes Congress to enact legislation to extend the 100 percent federal funding for emergency unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, extended UI benefits, weekly UI benefit supplements and assistance to laid off workers paying to continue their workplace-based health insurance coverage. On July 19 the bill was released from the Senate Labor Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

Land Use Law

S-2126 (Whelan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits the development of solar and wind facilities and structures on landfills and quarries. On July 19 the bill was released from the Senate Environment and Energy Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

Local Government Law

S-2202 (Oroho) (Under review by the NJSBA) Limits the amount the state can appropriate for certain state government spending in a fiscal year to not more than two percent above the amount of those appropriations. On July 19 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

S-2209 (Sweeney) (Under review by the NJSBA) Eliminates the five percent down payment requirement for bond ordinances approved by counties and municipalities. On July 19 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Municipal Court Practice

S-2017 (Beach) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires the attorney general to examine the operation and safety of motor vehicles by holders of special learner's permits, examination permits, and probationary driver's licenses, and also make any recommendations necessary to better effectuate the highway safety of new drivers. On July 19 the bill was released from the Senate Transportation Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

S-2205 (Girgenti) Gives judges the discretion to revoke boating privileges for third or subsequent drunk driving offenses. On July 19 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

Public Utilities

S-2196 (Smith) (Under review by the NJSBA) Directs the Board of Public Utilities to undertake a local government renewable energy generation demonstration project in which the board would adopt standards that require electric public utilities to offer non-discriminatory rates to municipalities and counties that have established a local government renewable energy generation entity. On July 19 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.

Real Property Trust and Estate Law

S-2195 (Cardinale) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires residential leases to specify when rent payments are due, and allows residential leases to require weekly, monthly, or annual payments or a single payment for the entire lease term. On July 19 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

S-2201 (Sweeney) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Property Tax Levy Cap Task Force to monitor the impact of changes to the levy cap law. On July 19 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

School Law

S-2198 (Ruiz) (Under review by the NJSBA) Enables Rutgers University to authorize charter schools; expedites approval of charter school applications; and permits authorization of special purpose charter schools. On July 19 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee.

S-2204 (Norcross) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires workers on a school facilities construction project to undergo a criminal background check, and mandates such checks for nonpublic school employees. On July 19 the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee.

Taxation

S-2012 (Doherty) (Under review by the NJSBA) Allows gross income tax refunds to be credited against a taxpayer's delinquent local property taxes. On July 19 the bill was released from the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

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.