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

Capitol Report

June 6, 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.

Pending Legislation

Medical Malpractice

A-3967 (Conaway) (Under review by the NJSBA) Concerns liability and insurance coverage for medical malpractice actions. On May 9, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.

Military Law and Veterans Affairs

S-1731 (Madden) Establishes the Veteran to Veteran Peer Support Program telephone helpline. On May 9, the bill substituted for A-2616 and passed in the Assembly (76-0).

Minorities in the Profession

A-920 (Chivukula) Requires development of a uniform fee schedule by the Department of Treasury for registration and certification of small and women- and minority-owned businesses; requires collaboration to streamline the procurement application process. On May 9, the bill passed in the Assembly (46-30).

A-3741 (Quijano) Establishes the Division of Minority and Women Business Development and state chief disparity officer to monitor efforts to promote participation by minority-owned and women-owned businesses in state contracting. On May 9, the bill was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

Municipal Court Practice

S-516 (Weinberg) Authorizes a central municipal court to hear cases brought by the county office of consumer affairs. On April 28, the bill passed in the Senate (34-0).

S-2832 (Stack) Exempts certain car-sharing programs from motor vehicle rental fees. On April 28, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Transportation Committee.

Public Utilities

A-3366 (Barnes) Directs the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to establish an online process for submission of required documents by BPU-regulated and licensed entities. On May 9, the bill passed in the Assembly (74-1).

A-3991 (Chivukula) Provides an exception from Board of Public Utilities standards for construction and installation of certain solar and photovoltaic electric generation equipment on utility poles by electric public utilities. On May 9, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.

Real Property Trust and Estate Law

A-3960 (Benson) Lowers the age of eligibility for a surviving spouse under the homestead property tax reimbursement program; extends payment of the homestead property tax reimbursement to a non-eligible surviving spouse for a portion of the tax year during which the deceased spouse lived. On May 9, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

A-3977 (Wisniewski) Requires "just compensation" for condemnation of a single-family residence to be based on the cost of comparable relocation properties within a 20-mile radius. On May 9, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

A-3978 (Wisniewski) Permits water and sewerage service sub-metering in multi-family dwellings. On May 9, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

Regulated Professions

A-1436 (Prieto) Concerns regulation of court reporting firms. On May 9, the bill passed in the Assembly (70-4-1).

A-3929 (Prieto) (NJSBA supports) (NJSBA-drafted) Requires certain civil actions against certain licensed persons to be brought within two years. On May 5, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee.

A-3965 (Casagrande) Caps attorney fee awards in actions against public entities. On May 9, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

School Law

S-2831 (Stack) Requires the Department of Education to biannually distribute a letter to school districts reminding them of the requirement to enroll resident students regardless of immigration status. On April 28, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee.

A-3344 (McKeon) Permits high-performing school districts to be monitored by the Department of Education under the New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum every seven years rather than every three years. On May 9, the bill passed in the Assembly (76-0).

A-3959 (Wagner) Provides that any superintendent salary caps adopted by the commissioner will apply to charter school administrators. On May 9, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

A-3961 (Burzichelli) Provides a supplemental appropriation of $3.8 million from the Property Tax Relief Fund to the Department of Education for aid to school districts with significant enrollment growth. On May 9, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

A-3993 (Oliver) Establishes the Private Investment in Public Education Fund. On May 9, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

ACR-184 (Casagrande) Proposes an amendment to the constitution specifying the Legislature's right to determine how to provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools. On May 9, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

Taxation

S-2609 (Turner) Provides for annual adjustments in worker taxes paid into the state disability benefits fund. On April 28, the bill passed in the Senate (21-11).

S-2834 (Turner) Restores benefit under the state earned income credit program to 25 percent of federal credit beginning in the 2011 tax year. On April 28, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

A-3819 (Egan) Modifies employer unemployment insurance tax rates. On May 9, the bill passed in the Assembly (76-0).

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.