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

Capitol Report

March 21, 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.

NJSBA Action in Trenton

S-2666/A-2722 (Oroho/Burzichelli) (NJSBA supports) Modifies the process for contested case hearings by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) with regard to telephone and video conferences, delegation of final decision authority, oral decisions, checklist decisions, electronic filings, and settlements.

On March 10, Administrative Law Section member Paul J. Josephson, of the Princeton firm Hill Wallack, testified before the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee. He indicated the NJSBA's support for the legislation, noting that the time is ripe for empowering administrative law judges (ALJ) with authority to render a final decision, pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act. The bill was released with committee amendments to: 1) permit telephone and video conference calls at pre-hearing conferences when the judge finds there is good cause for permitting the witness to testify by such means; 2) permit a party in a dispute before a state agency to request that the recommended report and decision be in writing; and 3) give the director and the chief administrative law judge of the Office of Administrative Law the authority and discretion to charge a filing fee for the development and implementation of an electronic filing system in appropriate cases.

Pending Legislation

Consumer Protection Law

S-2769 (Kean) Clarifies that under the New Jersey Antitrust Act indirect purchasers of goods and services have standing to sue for damages, attorney's fees, filing fees and reasonable costs of suit in antitrust cases. On March 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

Criminal Law

S-184 (Scutari) (NJSBA supports) Upgrades the offense of knowingly engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. On March 10, the bill was released from the Senate Judiciary Committee with amendments and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

S-972 (Allen) Clarifies that sexual assault victims are not responsible for any costs of forensic sexual assault examinations or related services. On March 10, the bill was released from the Senate Judiciary Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

S-2763 (Allen) Provides affirmative defense to a prostitution charge for persons under the age of 16. On March 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-2764 (Turner) Amends eligibility for expungement of criminal records. On March 10, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Elder and Disability Law

S-1797 (Norcross) Allows a student who is eligible for special education programs and services for autism or other developmental disability to bring a medically recommended service dog to school. On March 10, the bill was released from the Senate Education Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

Judicial Administration

SCR-148 (Buono) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for the appointment of a public defender by a new Public Defender Services Commission. On March 10, the resolution was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Local Government Law

S-1361 (Vainieri Huttle) Requires the Department of State to establish and maintain a website to provide a clearinghouse of information for nonprofits. On March 10, the bill was released from the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

S-1783 (Oroho) Requires all state agency rules be published in the New Jersey Register, and prohibits use of regulatory guidance documents except under certain circumstances. On March 10, the bill was released from the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

Municipal Court Practice

S-2244 (Sweeney) Requires school buses transporting certain disabled persons to use flashing lights, and establishes penalties for drivers who fail to yield. On March 10, the bill was released from the Senate Education Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

Women in the Profession

S-2665 (Weinberg) (Under review by the NJSBA) Repeals obsolete statutes concerning the status of women. On March 10, the bill was released from the Senate Judiciary Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

Nominations

The following nominations were recently referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee:

JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT
Philip Mizzone, of Woodland Park, NJSBA member
Edward Neafsey, of Avon-By-The-Sea, NJSBA member

WORKERS' COMPENSATION JUDGE
Gary Algeier, of Randolph, NJSBA member
Russell Wojtenko, of Princeton Junction, NJSBA member

The following nominations were reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 10:

JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT
Thomas Miller, of Hillsborough Township, NJSBA member
Philip Mizzone, of Woodland Park, NJSBA member
Edward Neafsey, of Avon-By-The-Sea, NJSBA member

NEW JERSEY ELECTION LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION
Lawrence K. Weiss, of Westfield

NEW JERSEY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY UNIVERSITY-BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Anne S. Babineau, of Summit, NJSBA member

WORKERS' COMPENSATION JUDGE
Russell Wojtenko, of Princeton Junction, NJSBA member

Notices

The New Jersey Law Revision Commission met on March 17 to discuss the following agenda:

  1. Effect of Abstentions — Consideration of the release of a final report on this project.
  2. Door-to-Door Retail Installment Sales Act — Consideration of the release of a final report on this project.
  3. Annual Report — Consideration of the draft annual report 2010.
  4. N.J.S. 14A:5-28 Books and Records (rights of inspection) — Consideration of a proposed project that would make minor modifications to a single statutory subsection to clarify the scope of the term "minutes" in the context of a shareholder's right to access.
  5. UCC Article 9 Revisions — Consideration of a memorandum outlining the options in regard to NCCUSL's changes to UCC Article 9 (Secured Transactions).
  6. Landlord Tenant — Consideration of a memorandum regarding substantive issues raised by commenters that require commission determination. Formal comments by members of the public accompany this memo.

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.