Capitol Report

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December 30, 2019


What’s sitting on Governor Murphy’s desk? 


With the lame duck Legislature on holiday hiatus until January, the governor’s desk is covered with bills. Here are some of the bills the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) is monitoring as of the date of the writing of this article: 


S-1080 (Turner)—This bill establishes restricted use of driver’s license endorsements for certain motor vehicle offenders with suspended licenses. Aimed at reducing the frequency of suspended driver’s licenses, the bill would reinstate driving privileges in certain instances if the person has paid at least five percent of each outstanding surcharge or the required installment is paid. It also removes the mandate that a person’s license be suspended due to a child support-related warrant, allowing instead that the person be provided a hearing before such determination is made. The NJSBA supported the bill with an amendment to clarify that indigent individuals be afforded government-funded counsel. The amendment was not made; however, it is unclear whether it was necessary, given the availability of a public defender in municipal courts for drivers facing license suspensions. 


S-2982 (Ruiz)/A-5324 (Lampitt)—If signed into law, this bill would clarify that a child may not be excluded from a public school based on membership in a protected category under the Law Against Discrimination or immigration status. In its statement on the bill, the NJSBA noted: “Eliminating immigration status as a basis for denying education is a necessary step in acknowledging the basic right to an education is fundamental in our state and discrimination of students will not be tolerated.” 


S-3528 (Scutari)/A-5396 (Vainieri Huttle)—The NJSBA supported this bill because it streamlines the process to obtain judgments of adoptions for civil union partners or spouses of natural or legal parents of a child when that person is named as a parent on a child’s birth certificate. It would make second-parent adoptions for married or civil union couples where one is the genetic or gestational parent and, therefore, the legal parent, easier to achieve. 


A-3150 (Lampitt)/S-2133 (Cruz-Perez)—This bill mandates health benefits coverage for fertility preservation services under certain health insurance plans. The NJSBA’s LGBT Rights Section past chair, Debra Guston, testified in support of the bill, which would permit transgender people who seek to utilize surgery, or some mediation therapies as part of their gender affirmation process, to have insurance coverage to preserve their sperm or eggs so they could have genetically related children in the future. 


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.