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

Capitol Report

October 22, 2012

 

This is a status report provided by the New Jersey State Bar Association on recently passed and pending legislation, regulations, gubernatorial nominations and/or appointments of interest to lawyers. To obtain a complete copy of the Capitol Report and/or retrieve a former Capitol Report, please visit our website at www.njsba.com

 

ACTION IN TRENTON

 

S-2151 (Scutari)/A-3315 (Green) (NJSBA opposes) Strengthens the enforceability of premarital and pre-civil union agreements by eliminating many of the standards presently included in the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. On Oct. 15, 2012, Family Law Section officer Amanda Trigg, from the Hackensack firm of Lesnevich and Marzano-Lesnevich, testified in opposition to the bill, which was released from Assembly Judiciary Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote. The NJSBA believes the legislation would cause problems because it is retroactive, changes the standards for finding a prenuptial agreement unconscionable to the time of signature, and would narrow the circumstances under which unconscionability could be found. A more prudent approach would be to review and consider adopting the 2012 version of the Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreement Act.

 

 

PENDING LEGISLATION

 

Criminal Law

S-380 (Allen) Enacts the Jessica Lunsford Act; imposes a mandatory term of 25 years to life for aggravated sexual assault against a child under 13 and increases the penalties for harboring certain sex offenders. On Oct. 11, 2012, the bill was received in the Assembly without committee reference and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

S-1479 (Sacco) Upgrades the crime of soliciting or recruiting for a criminal street gang while on school property. On Oct. 11, 2012, the bill was released from the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.


S-1878 (Norcross) Enhances the penalties for false incrimination and making fictitious reports. On Oct. 11, 2012, the bill was received in Assembly and released to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

 

Election Law

S-2185 (Lesniak) Reduces the number of voters for whom a person can serve as messenger; limits to three the number of voted mail-in ballots transmittable by the bearer; modifies the conviction standard under the vote-by-mail law. On Oct. 15, 2012, the bill was reported out of committee with amendments and released to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

 

Family Law

S-1152 (Weinberg)/A-2899 (Mosquera) (NJSBA supports) Directs the Division on Women to conduct an audit of the coordination of community responses to domestic violence. On Oct. 15, 2012, the bill was released from the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

 

A-2151 (McHose) Precludes most distributions of increased value of the pre-marital residence at the time of divorce. On Oct. 15, 2012, the bill was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

A-2984 (Vainieri Huttle) Directs that a portion of the Unclaimed Child Support Trust Fund be used to balance unpaid receivables resulting from federal income tax refund offset reversals. On Oct. 15, 2012, the bill was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee and referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

 

Health Law

S-1711 (Rice) Provides that 20 percent of the fee charged for an initial certified copy of a birth certificate shall be used to support certain activities of the NJ Cord Blood Bank. On Oct. 15, 2012, the bill was released from the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

 

S-2052 (Singer) Establishes a bill of rights for continuing care retirement community residents. On Oct. 11, 2012, the bill was received in the Assembly and released to the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.

 

S-2135 (Gill)/A-3186 (Conaway) Creates the New Jersey Health Benefit Exchange Act. On Oct. 11, 2012, the bill was received in the Assembly without committee reference and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

Labor and Employment Law

A-2650 (Lampitt) Provides that unlawful employment practice occurs each time an individual is affected by a decision or practice, including each time compensation is paid. On Oct, 11, 2012, the bill was received and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

Local Government Law

A-1566 (Wisniewski)/S-1863 (Van Drew) (NJSBA supports) Provides for the appointment of certain municipal court judges at the local or county level. On Oct. 15, 2012, the bill was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

ACR-88 (Wisniewski)/SCR106 (Van Drew) (NJSBA supports) Proposes a constitutional amendment removing the gubernatorial appointment of certain municipal court judges. On Oct. 15, 2012, the bill was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

Municipal Court Practice

S-82 (Bateman) (NJSBA supports) Clarifies when penalty points are to be assessed for convictions of driving in an unsafe manner. On Oct. 15, 2012, the bill was referred out of the Senate Transportation Committee with amendments and is awaiting Senate vote.

 

S-204 (Holzapfel) (NJSBA opposes) Requires police notification when a driver’s license is suspended. On Oct. 11, 2012, the bill was released from the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee with a substitute and is awaiting Senate vote.

 

A-354 (Gusciora) Requires all lamps and lighting devices on motor vehicles be kept in working order. On Oct. 12, 2012, the bill was released from the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

A-2416 (Eustace) Encourages development of electric vehicle charging stations in transportation projects. On Oct. 15, 2012, the bill was released from the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

 

Real Property, Trust and Estate Law

S-1829 (Bucco)/A-2596 (Wisniewski) Removes the requirement for one- and two-family residences to be equipped with a portable fire extinguisher. On Oct. 15, 2012, the bill was released from the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

 

Taxation Law

S-1213 (Van Drew) (NJSBA opposes) Establishes a real property assessment demonstration program. On Oct. 11, 2012, the bill was received and referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee. 

 

Workers’ Compensation

S-1469 (Madden) Provides surviving spouses of certain fire and police personnel who die in line of duty with workers' compensation for the entire period of survivorship. On Oct. 11, 2012, the bill was received in the Assembly and released to the Assembly Labor Committee.  

 

ELECTION INFORMATION

The following will appear on the Nov. 6, 2012, General Election Ballot

 

SCR 110 / ACR 152 (Turner) (NJSBA opposes) Proposes a constitutional amendment clarifying the Legislature's authority to pass laws taking contributions from justices' and certain judges' salaries for employee benefits.

 

Public Question No. 2

Constitutional amendment allowing contributions to be taken from justices’ and judges’ salaries for their employee benefits

 

Do you approve an amendment to the New Jersey Constitution, as agreed to by the Legislature, to allow contributions set by law to be taken from the salaries of the Supreme Court justices and superior court judges for their employee benefits?

 

Interpretive Statement

This amendment clarifies the Legislature’s authority to pass laws requiring contributions to be taken from the salaries of the Supreme Court justices and superior court judges for their employee benefits. These benefits include their pension and healthcare coverage. 

 

The amendment responds to a question raised in a 2011 lawsuit filed by a judge after the Legislature passed and the governor signed into law P.L.2011, c.78. That law increased the contributions taken from current and future justices’ and judges’ salaries for their benefits starting in October 2011. The lawsuit, which has appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court, argued against taking the higher contributions from currently appointed justices and judges, cutting language in the Constitution that their salaries cannot be reduced during their appointed terms.

 

The amendment clarifies that such contributions, set by law, may be taken from justices’ and judges’ salaries during their terms. It would also allow for the higher contributions set by P.L.2011, c.78. to be deducted from current and future justices’ and judges’ salaries.