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

Capitol Report

October 10, 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. The government affairs department of the association compiles the report. 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.

New Laws

P.L.2011,c.134 (Wisniewski) Eliminates a separate presidential primary election; provides for delegates and alternates to political party national conventions to be elected at the regular June primary election. On Sept. 26, A-3777 was signed by the governor.

Pending Legislation

INSURANCE LAW

On October 6, the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee met to receive testimony concerning regulations proposed by the Department of Banking and Insurance (PRN 2011-163 (PDF)). These proposed regulations make various revisions to New Jersey's personal injury protection (PIP) benefits system, including revisions to the PIP fee schedule for payments of benefits by automobile insurers, medical protocols, and the PIP dispute resolution system.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW

A-3158 (Vainieri Huttle) Establishes the New Jersey Task Force on Coordination Among Nonprofit Social Service Organizations. On Sept. 26, the bill was amended on the Senate floor (35-0) and is awaiting Senate vote. The floor amendment mandates that the School of Social Work of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, shall provide professional and clerical staff services to the task force, rather than the Department of Human Services, as the bill currently provides.

MILITARY LAW AND VETERANS’ AFFAIRS

S-2991 (Whelan) Permits county clerks to create identification cards for veterans who are residents of that county and do not hold an identification card issued by the federal government that identifies them as veterans. The bill defines “veteran” to mean a person who has served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard of the United States or a Reserve component thereof, or the State National Guard, and who has been honorably discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable. On Sept. 26, the bill passed in the Senate (39-0).

TAXATION

S-3089 (Norcross) Establishes the Fresh Food Access Act and funds the act with sales tax revenue from urban enterprise zones for five years. On Sept. 26, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Regulatory Matters

Below please find proposed regulations with a deadline for comment of Nov. 18, unless otherwise noted:

CONSTRUCTION LAW

N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.17A (PDF) Proposes amendments to the Uniform Construction Code under the Division on Codes and Standards to significantly broaden the types of work that would be categorized as minor work for purposes of permitting and inspections. The proposed rule would establish a two-tiered system for the submission of documentation for minor work and for notice for inspections.

INSURANCE LAW

N.J.A.C. 11:24-1.2, 3.7 and 8.3 through 8.8 and 11:24A-1.2, 3.2, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 and 3.7 (PDF) Proposes amendments to Department of Banking and Insurance rules regarding the Health Care Quality Act application to insurance companies, health service corporations, hospital service corporations and medical service corporations.

LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW

N.J.A.C. 12:23-2.3 (PDF) Proposes an amendment to Department of labor and Workforce Development rules regarding applications for customized training assistance. A public hearing on the proposed amendment will be held at 10 a.m. on Nov. 16 at the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, John Fitch Plaza, 2nd Floor, Large Conference Room in Trenton. Call the Office of Legal and Regulatory Services at 609-292-2789 for more information.

The following rules were recently adopted:

N.J.A.C. 11:3-8.2, 8.4, 8.5, 8.6, 8.8, and 8.11; and 11:3-34.2 and 34.4 (PDF) Provides changes to Department of Banking and Insurance, Office of Consumer Protection rules regarding  acceptance, renewal, nonrenewal and cancellation of automobile insurance policies and standards for nonrenewal, issuance of nonrenewal notices and limitations on nonrenewal.

N.J.A.C. 13:42-2.1 Adopts amendments to State Board of Psychological Examiners rules regarding qualifications to sit for examination.

Public Notices

CRIMINAL LAW

Take notice that the Juvenile Justice Commission has announced the availability of funds for the Federal Fiscal Year 2011 (FFY11) related to the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Program (JABG) (PDF), which offers grants to municipalities pre-determined by the federal government to plan and implement community-based sanctions and services for juveniles adjudicated or charged as delinquent and delinquency prevention programs. Municipalities use these grant funds to support local activities in one or more of the 17 authorized program purpose areas and develop programs that promote greater accountability in the juvenile justice system. Copies of the application are available by contacting the Juvenile Justice Commission, YSC Grant Management Unit at 609-341-5354. All Applications must be completed and received on or before Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011, by 3 p.m.

Take notice that on Aug. 23, the attorney general referred to the director of the Division of Criminal Justice a petition for rulemaking from the Libertarian Party of New Jersey, requesting that the attorney general issue a rule restricting the ability of or providing discipline for New Jersey police officers who “cut breaks” to fellow police officers or family members.

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

Take notice that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has published an opportunity through the County Environmental Health Act Grants (CEHA) to support environmental health services undertaken by certified local health agencies on behalf of the department pursuant to the County Environmental Health Act, N.J.S.A. 26:3A2-21 et seq. Certified local health agencies must attend the annual fall grant conference and submit a countywide environmental health assessment and improvement plan. For information, or to request a DEP application, contact Patricia A. Conti at 609-292-1305 or trish.conti@dep.state.nj.us.

LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW

Take notice that the Department of Labor and Workforce Development regularly publishes on its website at http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor all notices of fund availability pertaining to federal of state grant funds that may be awarded by the department. The notices of fund availability may be found on the department’s website under the heading “Public Notices” and the subheading “Notice of Availability of Grant Program Funds.”

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.