Senate passes variety of bills: wheelchair-locks, ID cards, accident victim pictures

TRENTON – The Senate moved through a variety of bills today, including measures that addressed wheelchairs for disabled passengers, first responders who want to take photos of accident victims, and ID cards created by county clerks.

 A2036/S715:  The bill requires so-called four-point fastening systems for wheelchairs in vehicles operated by transportation agencies primarily engaged in transporting disabled passengers.

It passed 36-0.

S115: This bill provides for a cause of action against creditors who are foreclosing on a residential property that is vacant if the property falls into disrepair. The court may impose a fine  of up to $2,500 for each day the property is deemed to have been in violation.  The bill provides that at least 20 percent of any money collected be allocated for municipal code enforcement purposes.

It passed 32-0.

S199: The bill ensures the privacy of accident victims by prohibiting first responders from photographing them without written consent. This bill would make such an act a fourth-degree crime punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, or a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months, or both.

It passed 36-0.

S323: This bill permits county clerks to create an identification card for veterans who are residents of that county and do not hold an identification card issued by the federal government that identifies the person as a veteran. 

It passed unanimously.

S455: This bill prohibits an employer from requiring a credit check on a current or prospective employee, unless the employer is required to do so by law, or reasonably believes that an employee has engaged in a specific activity that is financial in nature and constitutes a violation of law. 

It passed 22-12.

S530: This bill would increase the fines imposed for failure by a motorist to keep right unless overtaking another vehicle.  The bill would increase the fine from between $50 and $200 to between $100 and $300. 

It passed 32-2.

S608: This bill permits licensed firearms dealers to auction firearms at fundraising events sponsored by nonprofit organizations. A trigger locking device, however, must be installed in each firearm to be auctioned, with the exception of antique handguns. 

It passed 33-0.

S778: This bill changes the length of time between public questions in certain municipalities.  The bill would provide that, with respect to propositions to increase or decrease the term of office of the members of the governing body or the number of members of the governing body, or the division of the municipality into a number of wards, if such a proposition is approved by the voters of the municipality, no similar proposition shall be submitted to the voters of the municipality until after the fifth calendar year following that approval.

It passed

S829: This bill requires the Council on Affordable Housing, or its successor, to promulgate rules to provide a preference for veterans who qualify for affordable housing assistance and to hold harmless military personnel from any affordable housing application deadlines which may have lapsed during their period of deployment in active military service.

It passed 36-0.

S872: This bill would authorize incinerator authorities to perform sanitation, public works and environmental services.  At this time, there is only one incinerator authority in operation – the Jersey City Incinerator Authority.  Apparently, the Jersey City Incinerator Authority functions not only as a collector but carries out other responsibilities, including enforcing city ordinances relative to solid waste disposal and recycling; educating various city groups and entities about environmental issues; and  property maintenance through the coordination of cleanups of city and privately owned vacant lots.

It passed 21-13.

S881: This bill would allow more persons to have access to the drug court program.  This bill would allow courts greater discretion to place a person on special probation by making the eligibility criteria permissive, instead of mandatory, for the court.  A person who does not meet all of the eligibility criteria but who would nevertheless benefit from participation in the program would thus be eligible for special probation.

It passed 32-1.

S1114: This bill would allow a municipality to authorize a special emergency appropriation for expenses incurred to implement a consolidation with another municipality.

It passed 35-0.

A1121: This bill modifies rating provisions of the unemployment insurance law used to set employer tax rates.  Under the current law, the highest UI tax rate imposed on any employer is 7 percent, which applies to any employer with an “Employer Reserve Ratio” of negative 35 percent or lower.  The lack of appropriate contribution rates for employers with much more negative reserve ratios has compelled employers with positive reserve ratios to subsidize the employers with highly negative reserve ratios.

It passed 35-0.

S1173: This bill would require the Department of Corrections to transfer to the Victims of Crime Compensation Office restitution payments owed to victims who have not been located by the DOC and have not come forward to claim the payment for two years. 

It passed 35-0.

 

S1323: This bill will allow electronic gaming on mobile devices within an approved hotel, provided the player has established an account with the casino, the wager is placed by and paid to the patron in person within the hotel, and the mobile gaming device is inoperable outside the hotel.

It passed 34-0.

S1369: This bill authorizes an institution of higher education to establish a textbook rental program for the students at each campus. 

It passed 34-0.

S1460: This bill requires a municipality to pay any property tax refund ordered by a county tax board or by the state Tax Court resulting from an assessment appeal to the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection to be used to ensure compliance with environmental remediation orders. 

It passed 22-9.

S1503: This bill designates the portion of Route 35 that runs through Ocean County as the “Chosin Few Memorial Highway” in honor of those soldiers who fought in the brutal Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War.

It passed 36-0.

S1540: This bill would permit the installation of a motor vehicle global positioning system navigation device on the dashboard, console, or windshield of a motor vehicle, provided that the device is mounted or located in a position that does not unduly restrict or interfere with the vision of the operator of that motor vehicle.

It passed 34-0.

S1562: This bill increases the maximum amount of tax credits allowable under the “Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Act” from $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion, and the maximum amount of tax credits allowable under the “Grow New Jersey Assistance Act” from $200 million to $400 million.

It passed 35-0.

S1755: This bill enacts the “New Jersey Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act,” recommended by the New Jersey Law Revision Commission in its February 18, 2011 Final Report.  This bill is modeled after “Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act” (UAGPPJA) approved in 2007 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws which has been adopted in 19 states and the District of Columbia. This bill would establish uniform procedures designed to address interstate conflicts regarding adult guardianship issues.

It passed 36-0.

S1914: This bill would bar towns from assessing user fees on some services as a way to avoid the 2 percent tax cap.

It passed 32-0.

S1925: The bill directs the Board of Public Utilities to establish a program to provide solar renewable energy certificates to owners of solar power electric generation facility projects certified as being located on a brownfield or a properly closed sanitary landfill facility.

It passed 24-6.

SJR12: This joint resolution designates Nov. 10 of each year as “Neuroendocrine Tumor Cancer Awareness Day” in New Jersey.

It passed 35-0.

These bills were moved back for purposes of amendments:

S1928: The bill, sent back for amendments, would remove gift cards from the ranks of escheatable property and would do away with a provision that requires companies to record data such as ZIP codes of card purchasers.

This is in reaction to the controversy over companies such as American Express saying they would no longer do gift card business in New Jersey because of the administration’s policy of taking control of funds of unused gift cards as opposed to the card issuer reclaiming such monies.

S1566: This bill establishes the “New Jersey Foreclosure Relief Corporation” to purchase foreclosed residential properties from institutional lenders and dedicate them for occupancy as affordable housing. 

Senate passes variety of bills: wheelchair-locks, ID cards, accident victim pictures