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

Capitol Report

June 14, 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 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.

Pending Legislation

Elder and Disability Law

S-1982 (Sweeney) (Under review by the NJSBA) Changes references of "mental retardation" to "intellectual disability" or "developmental disability," and uses person-first language for persons with disabilities. The premise behind this bill is that language used in reference to individuals with intellectual and other disabilities shapes and reflects the attitudes of society toward persons with disabilities. Certain terms are demeaning and disrespectful, and create a barrier to the inclusion of people with intellectual and other disabilities as valued members of our community. It is, therefore, in the public interest to ensure that the statutes and regulations of the state do not contain language that is outdated and disrespectful to persons with disabilities. In this regard, this bill deletes all references in the statutes to the terms "mental retardation," "mentally retarded," "idiot," and "feeble-minded," and replaces them with the term "intellectual disability," using "person-first" language. "Person-first" language is language that refers to an individual as a "person with a disability," rather than as a "disabled person." On June 7, the bill was reviewed by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

S-2028 (Gordon) (Under review by the NJSBA) This bill requires the Division of Developmental Disabilities in the Department of Human Services to: collect and maintain a database of information about persons with developmental disabilities who are eligible for services from the division; annually provide certain information to eligible persons with developmental disabilities; and publish an annual report containing non-identifying aggregate data about eligible persons with developmental disabilities. On June 7, the bill was reviewed by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

Health and Hospital Law

S-2038/A-2168 (Weinberg/Vainieri Huttle) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes Jaden's Law. This bill is designed to promote awareness among patients of their option to become bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donors. On June 7, the bill was reviewed by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

S-135 (Bucco) (Under review by the NJSBA) This bill provides that an individual's status as a minor shall not disqualify him or her from bone marrow donation. This bill, which is similar to legislation enacted in Washington state, was drafted in response to the policy of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) to exclude individuals under 18 years of age from registering to be volunteer bone marrow donors. The NMDP is a nonprofit organization that facilitates unrelated bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants for patients with life-threatening diseases who do not have matching donors in their families. The NMDP is under contract to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration for operation of the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry. On June 7, the bill was reviewed by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

School Law

S-1983 (Lesniak) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires certain persons to refund monies to the school district if the Department of Education (DOE) determines that the monies were non-allowable costs for the district. As amended, this bill provides that if the DOE finds that a school district expenditure of public funds for legal fees was a non-allowable cost and subsequently reduces state aid to the district as a result of that finding, the law firm that was the recipient of the legal fees will be required to refund to the district the total amount of non-allowable costs for legal services identified by the department. Under the provisions of the bill, the department will maintain a list of law firms that have not refunded monies to districts as required under the provisions of the bill, and all school districts will be prohibited from contracting for the legal services of law firms on the list. A "law firm" is defined as a lawyer or lawyers in a law partnership, professional corporation, sole proprietorship or other association authorized to practice law. The bill also provides that if the department finds a district has expended public funds for non-allowable costs and those costs were incurred in furtherance of the personal interests of the superintendent of schools, a school board member, or any employee of the school district, and the department reduces state aid to that district as a result of the finding, then the individual with the personal interest will be required to refund to the district the total amount of the non-allowable costs identified by the department. On June 3, the bill was released from the Senate Judiciary Committee with committee amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

Nominations

 The following nominations were referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 3:

JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT:
Dennis Carey, of Livingston
John Kennedy, of Montclair
The following nominations were reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 3:

JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT:
Dennis Carey, of Livingston
Frank Ciuffani, of Monroe Township, NJSBA member
John Kennedy, of Montclair
Honora Kilgallen, of Manasquan
Julie Marino, of Hillsborough, NJSBA member
Ramona Santiago, of Newark, NJSBA member

Notices

The New Jersey Law Revision Commission will meet on Thursday June 17, 2010, at 4:30 p.m., in the commission offices on the 7th Floor, 153 Halsey Street, Newark. Below is a preview of the meeting agenda:

  1. Title 9 Custody-Consideration of a draft final report on the custody chapter.
  2. Landlord Tenant-Consideration of a revised draft report on the relationship of landlord and tenant chapter.
  3. N.J.S. 48:2-27 Extension of 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.
  4. 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.
  5. N.J.S. 18A:39-1 Transportation of Pupils-Consideration of a memorandum outlining options for revisions of N.J.S. 18A:39-1.
  6. Uniform Unsworn Foreign Declarations Act-Consideration of a new project on the Uniform Unsworn Foreign Declarations 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.