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

Capitol Report

October 11, 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.

On the Governor's Desk

A-1392 (Carroll) Includes midwives within the definition of "licensed person" for purposes of affidavits of merit in certain actions filed on or after the effective date. On Sept. 30, the bill substituted for S-1526, passed in the Senate (36-0) and was sent to the governor.

A-2469 (Watson Coleman) Establishes the Blue Ribbon Panel to Review New Jersey's Inmate Policy. On Sept. 30, the bill substituted for S-1831, passed in the Senate (27-9) and was sent to the governor.

A-2740 (Vainieri Huttle) Requires the attorney general to study and report on the graduated driver's license program. On Sept. 23, the bill substituted for S-2017, passed in the Senate (22-12) and was sent to the governor.

A-2851 (Burzichelli) Eliminates various inactive boards, commissions, committees, councils, and task forces. On Sept. 30, the bill passed in the Assembly (74-0) and was sent to the governor.

A-2866 (Diegnan) Establishes the State Mental Health Facilities Evaluation Task Force. On Sept. 30, the bill passed in both the Assembly (74-0) and the Senate (38-0) and was sent to the governor.

Pending Legislation

Business Law

A-2129 (Chivukula) (Under review by the NJSBA) Expands the scope of the New Jersey Regulatory Flexibility Act dealing with the economic impact of rules on small businesses. On Sept. 30, the bill passed in the Assembly (75-0) was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

Consumer Protection

S-2316 (Scutari) (NJSBA opposes) Bars direct solicitation letters from attorneys to accident victims and other persons. On Sept. 30, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Criminal Law

A-231 (Vandervalk) (Under review by the NJSBA) Creates a civil "rape shield" law. On Sept. 30, the bill passed in the Assembly (75-0), was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A-3264 (Johnson) (NJSBA takes no position) Clarifies that a gang-related incident offense report is to be forwarded to the superintendent of state police for inclusion in the Uniform Crime Report. On Sept. 30, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

Family Law

S-1487 (Rice) (NJSBA opposes) Authorizes a party to a final divorce judgment or judgment for the dissolution of a civil union to request a name change without notifying the opposing party. On Sept. 30, the bill passed in the Senate 37-0.

Judicial Administration

A-2473 (Schaer) (NJSBA opposes) Limits the amount of appeal bond in civil actions to the total value of the monetary judgment or $50 million, whichever is less. On Sept. 30, the bill was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

Health and Hospital Law

S-515 (Weinberg) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits physicians and veterinarians to earn continuing education credits by providing certain free medical or veterinary services. On Sept. 30, the bill passed in the Senate 38-0.

A-3263 (Johnson) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires hospitals to report certain injuries to local and state police. On Sept. 30, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

Higher Education

A-1570 (Scalera) Requires New Jersey institutions of higher education to disseminate fire safety information about their facilities to students, parents or guardians, and employees. On Sept. 30, the bill passed in the Assembly (74-0), was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Education Committee.

Military Law and Veterans Affairs

S-309 (Allen) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides unemployment benefits for certain spouses of National Guard members. On Sept. 30, the bill passed in the Senate (38-0).

Municipal Court Practice

S-732 (Sacco) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits the use of wireless telephones or electronic communication devices by operators of public transit vehicles while vehicles are moving. On Sept. 30, the bill was amended on the Senate floor and is awaiting Senate vote.

A-3268 (McKeon) (Under review by the NJSBA) Clarifies that the implementation of a municipal court security plan shall be at the discretion of the municipal governing body. On Sept. 30, the bill was released from the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

Real Property Trust and Estate Law

A-359 (Schaer) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act. On Sept. 30, the bill was amended on the Assembly floor and is awaiting Assembly vote.

Nominations

The following nominations received advice and consent by the Senate on Sept. 30:

JUDGE OF THE TAX COURT
Christine Nugent, of Westfield, NJSBA member

NEW JERSEY ELECTION LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION
Amos C. Saunders, of Totowa, NJSBA member
Walter F. Timpone, of Cranford, NJSBA member

STATE INVESTMENT COUNCIL
Brendan Thomas Byrne, of Princeton
Guy P. Haselmann, of Summit

UNIVERSITY OF MEDICINE AND DENTISTRY OF NEW JERSEY-
BOARD OF TRUSTEES

James H. Coleman, of Scotch Plains, NJSBA member
Christine Grant, of Princeton
Ira Monka, of Cedar Knolls

SOMERSET COUNTY PROSECUTOR
Geoffrey D. Soriano, of Bridgewater, NJSBA member

Notices

ADVOCACY TOWN HALL MEETING

The New Jersey State Bar Association's Government Affairs Department will host an Advocacy Town Hall Meeting at the War Memorial, George Washington Ballroom in Trenton, NJ from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 18, 2010.

The purpose of this event is to educate NJSBA members on the legislative process and to hear from key lawmakers and legislative staff about how to increase the NJSBA's legislative effectiveness on prominent issues affecting the legal community and the association, in particular. Panelists will include key legislative leadership in both Houses and key staff members. This event is sponsored by the NJSBA and NJ-ICLE (CLE credits pending). You may register online at www.njsba.com, Meeting ID#101810, or by contacting the Meetings Department at 732-249-5000.

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.