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

Capitol Report

October 25, 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.

NJSBA Action in Trenton

A-2809 (Greenstein) (NJSBA supports) Allows a professional corporation to use or register an alternate name; allows use of certain abbreviations in certain business names; updates references for certain state business filings. On Oct. 18, Stuart L. Pachman, of Brach Eichler, testified on behalf of the NJSBA's Business Law Section before the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee to promote this NJSBA-drafted bill. The bill was released from committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

On the Governor's Desk

A-909 (Chivukula) (NJSBA takes no position) Authorizes companies under Board of Public Utilities jurisdiction to bill customers electronically upon customers' request. On Oct. 18, the bill substituted for S-583, passed in the Senate (37-0) and was sent to the governor.

A-911 (Chivukula) Authorizes public providers of utility services to bill customers electronically upon customers' request. On Oct. 18, the bill substituted for S-584, passed in the Senate (38-0) and was sent to the governor.

A-2372 (Albano) Establishes an exception to the five-year limit on the payment of victim claims. On Oct. 18, the bill substituted for S-1893, passed in the Senate (38-0) and was sent to the governor.

A-2911 (Quigley) Requires the transfer of municipal free library surplus amounts above 20 percent to the municipality for its general purposes, which may include property tax relief. On Oct. 18, the bill passed in the Senate (36-2) and was sent to the governor.

A-2969 (Schaer) Permits the commissioner of banking and insurance to waive the statutory liability-to-policyholders' surplus ratio on application by a mortgage guaranty insurance company. On Oct. 18, the bill substituted for S-1945, passed in the Senate (37-1) and was sent to the governor.

Pending Legislation

Animal Law

S-1643 (Sweeney) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires sterilization of all dogs and cats released for adoption from shelters, pounds, animal rescue organizations or auxiliary organizations, and establishes a penalty for noncompliance. On Oct. 18, the bill was amended on the Senate floor and is awaiting Senate vote.

Criminal Law

S-2308 (Sarlo) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides the parole board with discretion to reconsider parole eligibility for certain crimes after a certain period of time. On Oct. 18, the bill passed in the Senate (37-0) was received in the Assembly and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety 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 Uniform Crime Report. On Oct. 18, the bill was released from the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee and is awaiting Assembly vote.

Insurance Law

A-483 (Rodriguez) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Compact, which is designed to promote and protect the interests of consumers of individual and group annuity, life insurance, disability income, and long-term care insurance products. On Oct. 18, the bill substituted for S-175, passed in the Senate (37-0), and is awaiting Assembly vote to concur with Senate amendments.

S-191 (Scutari) (Under review by the NJSBA) Concerns priority of claims against certain insured tortfeasors as between an insurer paying personal injury protection (PIP) benefits and an injured party. On Oct. 18, the bill passed in the Senate (37-0), was received in the Assembly and referred to the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.

Military Law and Veterans Affairs

S-1358 (Oroho) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes a task force to study the treatment of veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in judicial proceedings. On Oct. 18, the bill passed in the Senate (38-0), was received in the Assembly and referred to the Assembly Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Municipal Court Practice

A-407 (Diegnan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits the use of wireless telephones or electronic communication devices by operators of public transit vehicles in certain situations. On Oct. 18, the bill substituted for S-732, passed in the Senate (38-0), was received in the Assembly and is awaiting Assembly vote to concur with Senate amendments.

Women in the Profession

A-1758 (Watson Coleman) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires state entities to examine the opportunity of minority- and women-owned financial institutions to serve as senior managing underwriters for state debt transactions, imposes related reporting requirements, and enables the establishment of aspirational levels of utilization and relative compensation. On Oct. 18, the bill was released from the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee with committee amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

Public Notices

The New Jersey Law Revision Commission met on Oct. 21, 2010, to review the following agenda:

New Jersey Debt Management Services Act — Consideration of a tentative report revised to address comments of the commission at the last meeting and to incorporate additional consumer protection language. A cover memorandum highlighting the changes is attached to the revised tentative report. PDF

Landlord Tenant — Consideration of a draft tentative report on landlord tenant law (proposed Title 46A) and a memorandum highlighting changes made since individual chapters were last considered by the commission.

Door-to-Door Sales — Consideration of a memorandum proposing revision of the statute to avoid preemption and reflect federal regulations.

Effect of Abstentions — Consideration of a rough draft tentative report on the effect of the abstention from voting by a member of a public body.

Pejorative Terms Regarding Mental Capacity — Consideration of a memorandum proposing a new project based on the commission's final report on pejorative terms.

Title 39 — State v. Moran — Consideration of a memorandum prepared in response to commission comments on the proposed statutory language previously drafted in response to the decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court in State v. Moran.

N.J.S. 54:3-27 Payment of Tax Pending Appeal — Consideration of a draft tentative report proposing a change in the statutory language to modify an ambiguous section of the statute in response to a court decision interpreting that section.

Title 46 Property — Consideration of a memorandum containing revised statutory language and the elimination of anachronistic sections of Title 46 found in Chapters 3, 3A, 6, 7, 10 and 11 of the title.

Copies of documents related to this agenda can be obtained online at http://www.lawrev.state.nj.us/.

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.