Board of Trustees Report - March 20, 2015

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The following is a summary of actions taken at the March 20, 2015, meeting of the New Jersey State Bar Association Board of Trustees at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick. This summary does not constitute official minutes.

Budget: The board gave preliminary approval to a proposed $12 million budget for the New Jersey State Bar Association’s coming fiscal year. The plan reflects no increase in dues or fees, while investing in infrastructure upgrades and producing conventions and events that keep its members up-to-date on the developments in the law, as well as providing information and opportunities that benefit the practice and professional endeavors of members. The budget will be published in the New Jersey Law Journal in the coming weeks, and a public hearing will be held at the Annual Meeting and Convention in May. The board is expected to take a final vote on the budget at its meeting in June.

Amicus: The association will seek amicus status in State v. Denelsbeck, which focuses on whether jury trials should be available to a defendant charged with a fourth offense of driving while intoxicated, since, when coupled with additional charges, a jail term of 180 days is possible. The trustees approved taking a broad position in favor of jury trials for the third, or subsequent, charges. The position will also note the practical consequences of such a change for attorneys and the justice system, and ask that they be addressed before any change related to trials takes effect.

Political action committee: To ensure that consideration is given to all issues related to the possible formation of a political action committee as a complement to the association’s government affairs program, the trustees approved retaining an expert in campaign and election law to provide guidance and advice about structure, compliance and other concerns.

Proposed tax regulations: The board approved sending comments, as suggested by the association’s Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section, to the Division of Taxation about proposed regulation changes. The proposals are meant to make the tax rules consistent with the ruling recognizing same-sex marriage in Garden State Equality v. Dow, and relate specifically to transfer and inheritance and estate tax regulations.

Foundation trustees: The board approved the reappointments of several trustees to the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s governing body, including Steven M. Richman, who is the foundation’s first vice president, and trustees Paulette Brown; Norberto A. Garcia, who is the foundation’s secretary; William A. Krais, who is also a trustee of the association; and Ralph J. Lamparello, the immediate past president of the association.

Meetings: The trustees approved contracts for the 2016 Annual Meeting and Convention to be held at the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa, where the event has been held for several years. They also approved the Hyatt Savannah as the headquarters hotel of next year’s Family Law Section Retreat.