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

Capitol Report

October 7, 2013 

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, as well as the involvement of the NJSBA as amicus in appellate court matters. To learn more, visit njsba.com

NJSBA RECENT ACTION IN TRENTON

Animal Law

S-2989 (Kean) Establishes the crimes of dog fighting and leader of a dog fighting network; amends the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO Act) to add leader of a dog fighting network. On Sept. 30, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The NJSBA Board of Trustees, Legislative Committee and Animal Law Section all voted to support this legislation with amendments, believing it will strengthen animal protection laws, provide additional means with which prosecutors may pursue perpetrators and assist attorneys who represent clients and animal organizations with the victims of animal cruelty.

The NJSBA believes animal fighting or baiting is a serious criminal enterprise, rife with unfathomable violence and cruelty. The passage of this bill will be critical in providing the means with which to improve the welfare of both animals and humans affected by animal fighting and aid in severely punishing the perpetrators of this criminal enterprise. Animal fighting and baiting is closely connected to other crimes, including illegal drugs and weapons, gambling, aggravated assaults and gang violence. This bill allows prosecutors to use the RICO Act to aid in pursuing additional charges to animal fighting, and thus better protect the victims of these criminal acts.

Family Law

S-2994 (Van Drew) Establishes the New Jersey Task Force on Domestic Violence and Abuse. On Sept. 30, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

The NJSBA Board of Trustees, Legislative Committee and Family Law Section all voted to support this legislation, provided that at least one member of the task force is a licensed New Jersey attorney who routinely handles domestic violence matters. 

PENDING LEGISLATION

Family Law

S-1157 (Weinberg) Authorizes certified celebrants to solemnize marriages. On Sept. 30, the bill was withdrawn from the files. 

NEW LAWS

P.L. 2013, c.159 Codifies protections set forth in certain case law and limits the use of eminent domain under the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law. On June 20, the bill passed in the Senate (36-1) and was sent to the governor. On Sept. 6, the governor signed the bill into law. (A-3615 Coutinho/S-2447 Van drew)

P.L. 2013, c.160 Prohibits limitations on the number of strains of medical marijuana cultivated, and expands available means of packaging and distribution of medical marijuana. On Sept. 9, the bill passed in the Assembly (70-1-4) and was sent to the governor. On Sept. 10, the governor signed the bill into law. (A-4241 Stender/S-2842 Scutari)

P.L. 2013, c.161 Creates the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013. On Sept. 12, the bill passed in the Senate (35-1) and was sent to the governor. On Sept. 18, the governor signed the bill into law. (A-3680 Coutinho/S-2583 Lesniak)

P.L. 2013, c.162 Requires collection and reporting of certain firearms information to an inter-jurisdictional database; requires information relating to the crime of firearms trafficking be included in the annual Uniform Crime Report. On Sept. 12, the bill passed in the Senate (34-1) and was sent to the governor. On Sept. 18, the governor signed the bill into law. (A-3797 Mainor/S-2718 Weinberg)

P.L. 2013, c.163 Authorizes the New Jersey Racing Commission to grant a special permit for horse racing on the beach; allows wagering on such races. On Sept. 12, the bill passed in the Senate (37-0) and was sent to the governor. On Sept. 18, the governor signed the bill into law. (A-4149 Burzichelli/S-2892 Beck/S-2899 Norcross)

P.L. 2013, c.164 Revises the state designation of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month from February to September. On Aug. 19, the bill passed in the Senate (37-0) and was sent to the governor. On Sept. 26, the governor signed the bill into law. (A-2161 Wimberly/S-2040 Greenstein)