Senate OKs bills affecting guide dogs, organ transplants, premarital agreements

TRENTON – The Senate passed several bills today by either unanimous or nearly unanimous votes.

S1269: This bill, passed 33-0, protects the rights of disabled passengers who need guide dogs.

It mandates that N.J. Transit could not deny access to riders with guide dogs who seek to use buses or trains.

S1456: This proposal, also passed unanimously, addresses the concerns regarding people with physical or mental disabilities who need an organ transplant.

The bill would ban discrimination against such organ recipients based solely on their disability.

The bill states that although the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits such treatment many people still experience such discrimination.

S2151: This bill, which passed 29-1, would strengthen enforceability of premarital or pre-civil union agreements.

A key issue of such agreements is their possible “unconscionability.”

According to the bill, traditionally such “an agreement may be set aside if it was unconscionable at the time enforcement was sought. This can be many years after the agreement was originally executed. The bill eliminates this basis for setting aside an agreement and provides instead that an agreement will not be set aside unless it was unconscionable when it was executed (i.e., when the parties signed it).”

S1614/A2024: This bill, passed 33-0, creates the New Jersey Civilian Honor Guard Ribbon to be presented by the governor to buglers at military funeral services. 

S325:  This bill, passed 33-0, requires the Secretary of State to create an e-mail notification system for persons who sign up to be notified when the governor orders the United States flag and the New Jersey State flag flown at half-staff.  The notification will include the date and purpose for the flags being flown at half-staff. 

S327/A1380: This bill, passed 33-0 amends the 1982 “Food Bank Good Samaritan Act,” which was enacted to encourage the distribution of food that would otherwise go to waste, by providing immunity to certain food donors.  This bill extends that immunity to colleges and universities.

S765/A1086: This bill, also passed 33-0, clarifies a trustee’s discretionary authority concerning income tax liability.

It amends a statute that allows creditors to make claims against the assets of a trust from which the creator can receive income. 

This bill specifies that the trustee’s discretion to pay taxes does not mean the assets of the trust are subject to the claims of  creditors of the trust’s creator.

S1042/A673: This bill, another unanimously passed bill, permits municipalities and counties to increase the service charge imposed for checks returned for insufficient funds up to, but not to exceed, the usual service charge of the commercial banking institution where the municipality or county deposits its checks.

S1899/A2750: This bill, passed 33-0, designates the Route 206 bypass in Hillsborough Township in Somerset County as the “Peter J. Biondi Bypass.” 

Assemblyman Biondi was a resident of Hillsborough for 35 years, where he served on the Hillsborough Township Committee and as the mayor, as well as a county freeholder before being elected to the General Assembly in 1997 where he represented the 16th Legislative District for 14 years. 

S1961: This bill, passed 33-0, establishes the “Veterans Higher Education Commission.”

This 13-member board will identify programs helping veterans pursue college degrees, and examine ways to help faculty better educate and support veterans, among other things.

SJR15: This joint resolution, passed 33-0, creates a “Passenger Rail System Study Commission.”  Its purpose is to study and evaluate the state’s passenger rail system and to develop recommendations to increase efficiency and decrease costs. 

SJR40: This joint resolution, passed 33-0, designates November of each year as “Children’s Product Safety Awareness Month.”

SR929: This resolution, passed on a voice vote, memorializes Congress and the president to reform federal trade policy, including improving consultation between the federal government and the states; providing for state input into trade negotiations by allowing a state to give informed consent or to opt out if bound by nontariff provisions in a trade agreement and providing that a state is not bound to those provisions without consent from its legislature; and providing federal funding for research in trade issues, among other things.

Senate OKs bills affecting guide dogs, organ transplants, premarital agreements