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

Capitol Report

November 1, 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 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

A-2809 (Greenstein) (NJSBA supports) Allows a professional corporation to use or register an alternate name; allows use of certain abbreviations in certain business names; updates references for certain state business filings. On Oct. 18, Stuart L. Pachman, of Brach Eichler, testified on behalf of the NJSBA's Business Law Section before the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee to promote this NJSBA-drafted bill. The bill was released from committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

On the Governor's Desk

 

Environmental Law

A-1052 (Quijano) Requires state entities to purchase biofuels in place of fossil fuels when reasonable, prudent and cost effective. On Oct. 25, the bill passed in the Assembly (77-0) and was sent to the governor.

Family Law

S-1362 (Buono) Provides for a minor and her child to remain together as a family unit in a Division of Youth and Family Services placement. On Oct. 25, the bill substituted for A-3390, passed in the Assembly (78-0) and was sent to the governor.

Government and Public Sector

S-2220 (Sarlo) Limits certain unused sick leave pay and vacation leave carry-forward for school and local employees; limits sick leave use by new public employees before retirement. On Oct. 25, the bill substituted for A-3392/A-3211, passed in the Assembly (78-0) and was sent to the governor.

Health and Hospital Law

S-89 (Rice) Requires licensed healthcare professionals and facilities to bill Medicare beneficiaries within 90 days of the date insurance payment is finalized. On Oct. 25, the bill substituted for A-3203, passed in the Assembly (78-0) and was sent to the governor.

Higher Education

S-1998 (Ruiz) Authorizes formation of state college risk management groups and joint liability funds. On Oct. 25, the bill substituted for A-3358/A-2965, passed in the Assembly (77-0-1) and was sent to the governor.

Labor and Employment Law

A-207 (Caputo) Permits hiring of certain laid-off law enforcement officers without utilizing Civil Service lists. On Oct. 25, the bill passed in the Assembly (77-0) and was sent to the governor.

S-1968 (Buono) Revises certain unemployment benefit claim procedures and requires registration of authorized agents of parties to the procedures. On Oct. 25, the bill passed in the Assembly (78-0) and was sent to the governor.

Minorities in the Profession

S-95 (Rice) Requires the New Jersey Schools Development Authority to biannually compile information on school facilities project contracts awarded to minority and female contractors. On Oct. 25, the bill substituted for A-2455, passed in the Assembly (73-5) and was sent to the governor.

Real Property Trust and Estate Law

A-2861 (Scalera) Prohibits certain private transfer fees and imposes disclosure requirements. On Oct. 25, the bill passed in the Assembly (77-0) and was sent to the governor.

School Law

A-2743 (Diegnan) Requires development of an interscholastic athletic head injury safety training program; requires certain measures to protect student athletes with concussions; and requires continuing education for athletic trainers. On Oct. 25, the bill passed in the Assembly (78-0) and was sent to the governor.

S-435 (Turner) Limits the amount of time a vacant teaching position can be filled by a substitute teacher. On Oct. 25, the bill substituted for A-3217, passed in the Assembly (78-0) and was sent to the governor.

S-2071 (Ruiz) Limits the amount of time a vacant teaching position can be filled by certain teachers employed in a temporary capacity. On Oct. 25, the bill substituted for A-3218, passed in the Assembly (78-0) and was sent to the governor.

Pending Legislation

Business Law

A-921 (Chivukula) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the New Jersey Trade Secrets Act, based on the Uniform Trade Secrets Act prepared by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. The Uniform Trade Secrets Act has been adopted in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Many of those states have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act with varying degrees of modification. The New Jersey Law Revision Commission has reviewed and modified the act to reflect the state's common law trade secret jurisprudence. On Oct. 25, the bill passed in the Assembly (78-0).

Consumer Protection

A-359 (Schaer) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act, which requires foreclosure consultants to register annually with the director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. The registration process requires foreclosure consultants to provide certain information and a registration fee, to be determined by the director. The foreclosure consultants are also subject to criminal background checks. On Oct. 25, the bill passed in the Assembly (78-0).

Criminal Law

S-911 (Girgenti) (NJSBA takes no position) Upgrades penalties for assaulting certain healthcare professionals and workers at healthcare, human services and veterans' facilities. On Oct. 25, the bill substituted for A-2309 and passed in the Assembly (77-1).

Environmental Law

A-2529 (Chivukula) (Under review by the NJSBA) Revises certain definitions in P.L.1999, c.23 concerning alternative energy technologies. On Oct. 25, the bill passed in the Assembly (57-16-5).

Insurance Law

A-2360 (Schaer) (Under review by the NJSBA) Regulates captive insurance companies, which include pure captive insurance companies, association captive insurance companies, sponsored captive insurance companies, and industrial insured captive insurance companies. The bill provides that a captive insurance company must meet certain requirements, including those relating to formation, capital and surplus, examination, local office presence, ability to meet policy obligations, payment of certain fees and taxes, and annual reporting. On Oct. 25, the bill passed in the Assembly (77-0).

Amicus Matters

Yousef v. General Dynamics Corp., Docket No. 65,715 - The Supreme Court is considering whether New Jersey is an appropriate forum to hear the claims of these New Jersey residents against a Florida resident and an American corporation for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident that occurred in South Africa. On Oct. 26, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case. The NJSBA submitted an amicus curiae brief drafted by Amirali Y. Haidri, but did not participate in oral argument.

Regulatory Matters

Below please find proposed regulations with a deadline for comment of Dec. 17, unless otherwise noted:

Construction Law

N.J.A.C 5:323-2.7 and 2.17A Proposes amendments to Department of Community Affairs, Division of Codes and Standards, rules regarding the Uniform Construction Code. These proposed amendments would make it clear that installation of communications wiring is minor work, rather than ordinary maintenance, only when it involves penetration of fire resistance-rated assembly.

Family Law

N.J.A.C. 8:2B Proposes readoption of rules governing certificates of domestic partnerships, with amendments. These rules implement the Domestic Partnership Act (P.L. 2003, c246), which established civil unions in the state. The Department of Health and Senior Services seeks to amend the eligibility criteria for establishing a domestic partnership to reflect that being a partner in a civil union would be a disqualifying factor for entry into a domestic partnership, and that the availability of domestic partnership is limited to persons who are 62 years of age or older.

N.J.A.C. 10:130 Proposes readoption of Department of Children and Families rules governing standards for shelters for victims of domestic violence, with amendments.

The following rules were recently adopted:

N.J.A.C. 12A:2-1 as 19:31-14; 12A:2A-1 as 19:31-15; 12A:2A-2 as 19:31-16; and 12A:2A-4 as 19:31-17 The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has readopted, with amendments, rules governing the Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant (BRRAG) Program, the BRRAG Tax Credit Certificate Transfer Program, the Sales and Use Tax Exemption Program, and the Energy Sales Tax Exemption Program for Certain Counties. Pursuant to P.L. 2008, c.27, jurisdiction and administration of these programs was transferred to the authority from the New Jersey Commerce Commission.

Note: "Under review by the NJSBA" means that the bill is currently being examined by NJSBA sections, committees and/or Board of T