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

Capitol Report

June 13, 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.

New Laws

P.L.2011, c.74 (O'Donnell) Requires birthing facilities to screen newborns for congenital heart defects prior to discharge. On June 2, A-3744 was signed by the governor.

Pending Legislation

Criminal Law

S-2920 (Van Drew) Requires inmates serving No Early Release Act sentences be placed in state correctional institutions, and prohibits their participation in residential community release programs until they are eligible for parole. On June 2, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

Elder and Disability Law

S-2919 (Ciesla) Requires the reporting of suspected abuse of institutionalized elderly to police, and that facility employees receive notice of the reporting requirement annually; designated as Peggy's Law. On June 2, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

S-2199 (Ruiz) Establishes the New Jersey Advisory Council on End-of-Life Care in the Department of Health and Senior Services. On June 2, the bill was released from the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

Election Law

A-3777 (Wisniewski) Eliminates a separate presidential primary election; provides for delegates and alternates to political party national conventions to be elected at the regular June primary election. On June 2, the bill was released from the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Government and Public Sector

S-2765 (Beck) Requires state, regional, and local authorities, boards, and commissions to establish an Internet website and post information related to each entity's mission, finances, meetings, and employees. On June 6, the bill was released from the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

S-2926 (Connors) Permits local government units to increase the service charge imposed for check payments returned for insufficient funds. On June 6, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

S-2928 (Van Drew) Establishes the Task Force on the Closure of State Developmental Centers. On June 6, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

Health and Hospital Law

S-2780 (Vitale) Requires surgical practices to be licensed by the Department of Health and Senior Services as ambulatory care facilities. On June 2, the bill was released from the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

Labor and Employment Law

S-2730 (Madden) Modifies employer unemployment insurance tax rates. On June 6, the bill was released from the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

Municipal Court Practice

S-400 (Singer) Concerns penalties for illegally passing a school bus. On June 2, the bill was released from the Senate Transportation Committee and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

S-1950 (Lesniak) Creates Kulesh and Kubert's Law; establishes the violation of the hands-free cell phone law as reckless under the vehicular homicide statute and assault by auto statutes. On June 2, the bill was released from the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Real Property Trust and Estate Law

S-2929 (Whelan) Permits a veteran's property tax deduction for the tax year when the veteran was previously qualified to receive the deduction and became the owner of real property after October 1 of the pretax year. On June 6, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

School Law

S-2914 (Bucco) Establishes the New Jersey Parental Rights Program Act. Under the program, a student eligible to attend grades kindergarten through 12 will qualify for a scholarship to enroll in a participating school provided that: 1) the parent or guardian has applied to a participating school for the admission of the eligible student; 2) the participating school has accepted the eligible student for admission; and 3) the parent or guardian applies to the department for a scholarship for the eligible student to attend the participating school by the annual deadline established by the department. On June 2, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee.

S-2924 (Doherty) Establishes a formula for the distribution of state aid to school districts. On June 6, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee.

S-2925 (Ruiz) Creates the Teacher Effectiveness and Accountability for the Children of New Jersey (TEACHNJ) Act. On June 6, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee.

Taxation

S-2930 (Sarlo) Revises the method of regulation and collection of surplus lines insurance premium taxes. On June 6, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Public Notices

The New Jersey Law Revision Commission will meet on June 16 to review the following agenda. Copies of related material can be obtained online at www.lawrev.state.nj.us/agenda.html.

New Jersey Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act — Consideration of a memorandum summarizing issues remaining to be addressed on this project.

Pejorative Terms — Consideration of a new draft tentative report eliminating pejorative terms that characterize a person's mental capacity; this report continues the purpose and intent of the commission's 2008 report in light of enactment of P.L. 2010, c. 50.

General Repealer —C onsideration of a draft tentative report identifying anachronistic provisions in the law and recommending their repeal.

Landlord Tenant — Consideration of two memoranda (with attachments) that follow up on tentative report comments discussed at the May 2011 commission meeting.

Uniform Principal and Income Act — Consideration of a memorandum describing a potential new project based on revisions to a NCCUSL Act previously adopted in New Jersey.

Arbitration in Nursing Home Agreements — Consideration of a memorandum describing a potential new project dealing with the issue of the preemption of N.J.S. 30:13-8.1 by the Federal Arbitration Act.

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.