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

The Capitol Report

October 17, 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.

NJSBA ACTION IN TRENTON

The Senate and the Assembly are currently in recess, with no scheduled legislative sessions for the next few weeks. The last session day was Sept. 26, and it is unlikely that either house will meet again until after the November elections for lame duck sessions. “Lame duck” is the term that describes the period when legislators meet at the end of their tenure (usually after their successors are elected but before the successors’ terms begin). This is a time when the NJSBA focuses more closely on our highest legislative priorities—NJSBA-drafted bills.

Below is a status update of NJSBA-drafted legislation that has been introduced in the current legislative session:

BUSINESS LAW

S-677 (PDF)/A-265 (PDF) (Sarlo/Russo) (NJSBA supports) Creates a business court. This legislation was drafted by the NJSBA’s Business Law Section. On Jan. 12, 2010, both bills were introduced and referred to the Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committees respectively.

S-2944 (PDF) (Sarlo) (NJSBA supports) Urges New Jersey to adopt the Revised Uniform Limited Liability Act (RULLCA). This legislation originated from the NJSBA’s Business Law Section. On June 13, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

MILITARY LAW AND VERTERAN’S AFFAIRS

S-1963 (PDF)/A-3096 (PDF) (Beach/Conners) (NJSBA supports) and S-1965 (PDF)/A-2821 (PDF) (Connors, C./Gove) (NJSBA supports) Prohibits a permanent change of child custody during a period of active military service; provides that absence due to active military duty, by itself, is insufficient justification to modify a child custody or visitation order. This legislation was drafted by the NJSBA’s Military Law and Veterans’ Affairs Section and Family Law Section. On May 20, 2010, S-1963 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and S-1965 was introduced and referred to the Senate Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee. On June 10, 2010, A-2821 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee. On Sept. 16, 2010, A-3096 was released from the Assembly Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee with a substitute and is awaiting Assembly vote.

FAMILY LAW

S-2586/A-3672 (Lesniak/Quigley) (NJSBA supports) Provides for access to an adoptee's original birth certificate under certain circumstances. This legislation was drafted by the NJSBA’s Family Law Section. On June 23, the legislation substituted for S-799/S-1399 in the governor’s conditional veto message and is awaiting concurrence in the Senate will gubernatorial amendments.

MUNICIPAL COURT PRACTICE

A-401 (Diegnan) Imposes limits on fees charged for discovery in municipal court matters.

This bill was drafted by the NJSBA’s Municipal Court Practice Section. On Jan. 12, 2010, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

REAL PROPERTY TRUST AND ESTATE LAW

S-2979/A-3723 (Scutari/Quijano) (NJSBA supports) Proposes modification to the New Jersey spendthrift trust provision; clarifies a trustee's discretionary authority concerning income tax liability. This legislation originated from the NJSBA’s Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section. On May 9, A-3723 passed in the Assembly (76-0). On June 27, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A-1451 (Wisniewski) (NJSBA supports) Revises New Jersey’s adverse possession statute. This bill was drafted by the NJSBA’s Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section. On Jan. 12, 2010, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

PROFESSIONAL MALPRACTICE

A-3929 (PDF) (Prieto/Mainor) (NJSBA supports) Proposes professional malpractice insurance reform; requires legal action against certain licensed persons to be brought within two years. On May 5, this NJSBA-drafted bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee.

Public Notices

The New Jersey Law Revision Commission will meet on Oct. 20 to review the following agenda:

1. N.J.S. 54:3-27 Payment of Tax Pending Appeal—Consideration of a draft final report (PDF).

2. New Jersey Debt-Management Services Act—Consideration of a draft final report (PDF) and a memorandum (PDF) containing excerpts from the minutes of prior meetings, as well as a summary of the staff's Illinois meeting and the changes made to the report as a result.

3. Uniform Collaborative Law Rules/Act—Consideration of a proposed project (PDF).

4. Uninsured Motorist—Consideration of a proposed project (PDF).

5. Workers' Compensation Claims—Consideration of a memorandum (PDF).

6. Recording of Mortgage Assignments—Consideration of a memorandum (PDF) containing draft language incorporating proposed revisions to a NCCUSL Act previously adopted in New Jersey.

Documents related to the above agenda can be obtained online at http://www.lawrev.state.nj.us/agenda.html.

Amicus Matters

Segal v. Lynch, Supreme Court Docket No. 67,683—On Oct. 3, the New Jersey State Bar Association filed a motion for leave to participate as amicus curiae in this case, which will address whether a parenting coordinator, who also is an attorney, may be awarded fees for time spent responding to plaintiff’s motions and subpoenas, and to his grievances against her under the Parenting Coordinator Pilot Program implementation guidelines. The proposed NJSBA brief, drafted by Bonnie C. Frost, Ronald G. Lieberman and Andrea Beth White, advocates in favor of giving judges discretion to award appropriate fees to parenting coordinators for all time spent and expenses incurred in carrying out their coordinator responsibilities, including responding to party grievances.

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.