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

Capitol Report

January 26, 2015

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.

Superior Court Nominations Expected to Advance

Eleven lawyers recently nominated by Governor Chris Christie to fill superior court vacancies in both Bergen and Union counties are scheduled to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

The Bergen County judicial nominees are:

James J. DeLuca* of Okin, Hollander & DeLuca, LLP

Magali M. Francois of the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender-Law Guardian

Jane M. Gallina Mecca* of Fogarty & Hara

Deborah Gross-Quatrone of the Law Offices of Deborah Gross-Quatrone

Mark T. Janeczko* of the Law Office of Mark T. Janeczko

Christopher R. Kazlau of New Jersey State Office of Public Defender-Hudson Regional Office

Gregg A. Padovano* of Beattie Padovano, LLC

James X. Sattely* of the Office of Bergen County Counsel  

Walter F. Skrod of the Law Office of Walter F. Skrod

The Union County judicial nominees are:

Richard C. Wischusen of Reilly, Supple & Wischusen  

John Hudak* of the Law Office of John G. Hudak, LLC 

*Represents NJSBA Membership

Other Nominations

Governor Christie also announced additional nominations, including Hon. Lisa P. Thornton of Neptune in Monmouth County, and Hon. Rudolph A. Filko of Wayne in Passaic County for reappointment as superior court judges, and three individuals as judges of the workers' compensation court.

They are:

John C. Gavejian of Law Office of John C. Gavejian

Michael J. Dillon* of Krumholtz & Dillon, PA

Thomas J. Ludlum of Ludlum Law Office

Additionally, Thomas Morgan Hurley of Morgan Hurley Law Office was nominated as an administrative law judge.

These nominations are waiting to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

For more information, please visit the Legislature's website.   

NJSBA LEGISLATIVE ALERTS

Attorney-Client Visits in Halfway Houses

The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee reported favorably last week on a measure allowing attorneys and certain attorney representatives to visit incarcerated clients residing in a halfway house. Sponsored by Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson and Senator Loretta D. Weinberg, the intent of A-1674/S-994 is to clarify that halfway house administrators will be required to allow attorney-client visits, even though halfway houses are private facilities under the Department of Corrections. The bill previously passed the Assembly and now heads to the full Senate for a vote.

Administrative Procedure Act

A-1879, sponsored by Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli, revises the Administrative Procedure Act and establishes new procedures for resolving conflicts or inconsistencies in adopted rules and regulations of different state agencies. Under the bill, an agency proposing a new rule would be required to determine whether any other agency regulates the activity or has concurrent or conflicting jurisdiction over any aspect of the subject matter. If so, the two agencies would be required to consult with one another to ensure any conflicts or inconsistencies are addressed. The bill is headed to the full Assembly for a vote after being released from the Assembly Regulatory Oversight Committee.  

Parental Obligations for College Tuition

Assemblyman Christopher Brown recently introduced A-4070 in response to a New Jersey case involving a child who took her estranged divorced parents to court to cover out-of-state college tuition. The court held the divorced parents responsible for the expenses. Assemblyman Brown's measure is aimed at addressing this issue in the future by limiting the authority of a court to order one or both parents, if they are in agreement, to pay post-high school education expenses on behalf of their child. The New Jersey State Bar Association supports this concept, but believes the bill should expressly clarify that if parents cannot agree on whether or to what extent each parent will contribute to post-high school education expenses, the court has the right to intervene and issue an order resolving the dispute, supported with appropriate findings of fact and conclusions of law. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee for review. 

2015 NEW LAW UPDATE

Honoring Veterans

Since the start of the new year, several pieces of legislation have been signed into law. Two bills recognizing the contributions of veterans were signed by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, who, as the second-highest ranking official in the state government, is permitted to sign legislation. The first designates a bridge on State Highway 35 as the Veterans of All Wars Memorial Bridge. According to a press release issued by the Assembly Republicans, sponsors Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin sought to honor the men and women who have served in the nation’s armed forces with the designation. The second measure, sponsored by Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco, provides for family members of a deceased veteran to be furnished with a copy of the veteran’s death certificate at no cost to the family. 

Other New Laws

In response to the recent hacking scandals, legislation was signed into law requiring all healthcare insurance companies to protect consumer information by encrypting the data. The bill, sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner, was signed into law by the governor and requires all insurance companies to secure personal information in a manner that makes it unreadable, undecipherable, or otherwise unusable by an unauthorized person.

Another measure signed by the governor was Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s legislation aimed at facilitating operations for the agriculture industry in New Jersey. The law will amend the current state statute to exempt certain temporary farm structures from permit and transition area requirements under the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act. 

Lastly, the governor signed Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman’s bill to authorize special license plates honoring Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Fees for the license plates will be applied to the Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation. Alpha Kappa Alpha is the oldest Greek-lettered organization, founded in 1908 and established by African-American college-educated women, according to the sorority's website.

For more information on legislation or new laws, please visit the Legislature’s website.

Past issues of the Capitol Report