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

Capitol Report

November 22, 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.

Election Results

The following are unofficial results of the 2010 General Election. Lawyer-legislators are listed in bold.

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

All congressional incumbents will maintain seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, except Rep. John Adler who was defeated by Rep. Jon Runyan in the third congressional district (parts of Burlington, Camden and Ocean counties):

Robert E. Andrews (D-1)
Frank A. LoBiondo (R-2)
Jon Runyan (R-3)
Christopher H. Smith (R-4)
Scott Garrett (R-5)
Frank Pallone Jr. (D-6)
Leonard Lance (R-7)
Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-8)
Steven R. Rothman (D-9)
Donald M. Payne (D-10)
Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-11)
Rush Holt (D-12)
Albio Sires (D-13)

Special General Election

Democrat Linda R. Greenstein, who has served as an assemblywoman since 2000, won the special New Jersey Senate election over Thomas Goodwin in the 14th legislative district (Mercer and Middlesex counties) to fill a vacant Senate seat.

Democrats Senator Donald W. Norcross and Assemblyman Gilbert "Whip" Wilson retained seats in the fifth legislative district (parts of Camden and Gloucester counties). Both spots opened when state Senator Dana Redd resigned to become mayor of Camden and Norcross moved from the Assembly to the Senate.

Democrat Jason O'Donnell defeated Republican Joseph Turula to maintain his seat in the 31st legislative district (parts of Hudson County).

STATE SENATE
Donald W. Norcross (D-5)
Linda R. Greenstein (D-14)

GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Gilbert "Whip" Wilson (D-5)
Jason O'Donnell (D-31)

PUBLIC QUESTION

New Jerseyans voted 'YES' for the public question regarding a constitutional amendment to dedicate assessments on wages by the state to the payment of employee benefits.

Pending Legislation

Children's Rights

A-3466 (Vainieri Huttle) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act. On Nov. 15, the bill was released from the Assembly Education Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

Civil Trial Bar

A-3495 (Carroll) (Under review by the NJSBA) Expands immunity from civil liability in connection with provisions of 9-1-1 service. On Nov. 15, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

Consumer Protection

S-2316 (Scutari) (NJSBA opposes) Bars direct solicitation letters from attorneys to accident victims and other persons. On Nov. 15, the bill was released from the Senate Judiciary Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

Government and Public Sector

A-3493 (Egan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Concerns bid specifications for local public contracts. On Nov. 15, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

Higher Education

S-2319 (Ruiz) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires New Jersey institutions of higher education to disseminate fire safety information about their facilities to students, parents or guardians, and employees. On Nov. 15, the bill was released from the Senate Education Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

Judicial Administration

S-2404 (Kean) (Under review by the NJSBA) Caps attorney fee awards in actions against public entities. On Nov. 15, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-2405 (Vitale) (Under review by the NJSBA) Removes the statute of limitations in civil actions for sexual abuse; expands the categories of persons who are potentially liable in such actions. On Nov. 15, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-2409 (Cardinale) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires the assessment of an administrative penalty amount by an administrative law judge for environmental violations. On Nov. 15, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.

Labor and Employment Law

A-1923 (Conaway) (Under review by the NJSBA) Concerns access to certain job training courses for employees affected by plant closings, mass layoffs or transfer of operations. On Nov. 15, the bill was recommitted to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Local Government Law

S-2396 (Vitale) (Under review by the NJSBA) Authorizes the creation of economic recovery districts; authorizes certain economic recovery district management corporations to issue bonds secured by incentive grants. On Nov. 15, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

Municipal Court Practice

S-516 (Weinberg) (Under review by the NJSBA) Authorizes a central municipal court to hear cases brought by a county office of consumer affairs. On Nov. 15, the bill was released from the Senate Judiciary Committee and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

S-2181 (Codey) (Under review by the NJSBA) Increases the fine and imposes license suspension for talking or texting on a hand-held device while driving. On Nov. 15, the bill was released from the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

S-2403 (Kean) (Under review by the NJSBA) Grants municipal courts discretion to assess court costs for certain dismissals and changes court costs for certain violations. On Nov. 15, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A-395 (Diegnan) (NJSBA supports with amendments) Makes driver's license suspension discretionary for a first offense of driving without motor vehicle liability insurance. On Nov. 15, the bill was released from the Assembly Transportation and Public Works Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

Amicus Matters

State v. Ciancaglini, Docket No. 65,408. In this case, the Supreme Court is considering whether a defendant's prior conviction for refusal to submit to a breath test should be used as a prior offense to enhance her sentencing under a subsequent conviction for driving under the influence. As an amicus curiae party, the NJSBA argued that it should not. On Nov. 8, the Court heard oral argument. Jeffrey E. Gold represented the association.

Nominations

The following nominations were reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 15:

NEW JERSEY PUBLIC BROADCASTING AUTHORITY
John P. Inglesino, of Rockaway, NJSBA member

HUNTERDON COUNTY PROSECUTOR
Anthony P. Kearns, of Clinton, NJSBA member

BERGEN COUNTY DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT OF ELECTIONS
Theresa Mullins O'Connor, of Edgewater

BERGEN COUNTY SUPERINTENDANT OF ELECTIONS
Patricia DiCostanzo, of Fort Lee

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