Passed in Senate: Tougher child porn laws, early voting, more

TRENTON –The Senate approved bills today dealing with early voting, possible lottery privatization, child porn offenders, and more.

S2363: Passed 37-1. Requires home improvement contractors to display State-issued identification badge.

S2364: Passed 24-16. This bill establishes an early voting procedure to allow voters to cast their votes at specially designated polling places, starting on the 15th day before the primary election for the general election and the general election, and ending on the second day before the election.  A municipality holding municipal elections on the second Tuesday in May, by an ordinance adopted by its governing body, may also conduct early voting for those municipal elections.

Sponsor Sen. Nia Gill said this is not an unfunded mandate for counties, but is a means of ensuring a fundamental right. “It’s well past time we in the state of New Jersey update our laws,’’ she said.

But Sen. Joe Pennacchio said there is a $20 million price tag attached to the bill.

S2391: Passed 39-0. This bill prohibits retail dealers of motor fuels from requiring any person to display identification or proof of residency in order to purchase motor fuel, or refusing to sell motor fuel to any person on the basis of the location of that person’s place of residence.  The provisions of the bill may be suspended pursuant to the emergency powers granted to the Governor, on a finding that the suspension is necessary to alleviate an existing or impending energy supply shortage.

S2410: Passed 38-0. This bill would validate the school bond authorization proceedings taken by the Board of Education of the Monmouth Regional High School District, and approved by the voters at the school election held Nov. 6, 2012.

S2422/A3614: Passed 22-17. Requires that contract for private operation of State Lottery be subject to approval by Legislature.

S2482/A3410: Passed 38-0. Requires school districts to provide pupil directory information to county vocational schools upon request.

S2493: Passed 40-0. Revises statutes and enhances penalties for offenses involving child pornography; makes crime of causing a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act subject to the “No Early Release Act.”

Sponsor Sen. Kevin O’Toole spoke passionately about the bill on the floor as he did previously in committee.

“We in New Jersey have not done enough’’ regarding child pornography, he said.  In conjunction with the Attorney General’s office and other lawmakers, they crafted a bill that O’Toole said is the defining moment for him as a lawmaker.

“These predators have been skirting the law,’’ he said. “They have been hiding behind technicalities.”

Criminals must serve 85 percent of their prison sentence, the bill increases the crime to that of a first degree, and increases the age of protected victims up to 18 years old.

“This is the good work we have been sent down here to do,’’ he said.

S2502/A3642: Passed 38-0. Requires homeowners insurance consumer information brochure to contain one page summary of policy.

S2524: Passed 33-4. This bill allows persons covered under dental plans with out-of- network benefits to assign the right to receive reimbursement from the plan to an out-of-network dentist.

S2551: Passed 32-2. Permits real estate licensees to prepare broker price opinions and comparative market analyses.

S2581: Passed 39-0. This bill temporarily waives the requirement that fuel merchants obtain a distributor’s license to import or deliver motor fuel from another state into this State when the Governor declares a state of energy emergency.

S2582: Passed 40-0.  This bill provides that when a retail motor fuel dealer exhausts the supply of his lowest grade motor fuel during a state of energy emergency that dealer may sell any remaining supply of higher octane motor fuel at the same price per gallon as the price the dealer charged for a gallon or liter of the lowest grade motor fuel.

Passed in Senate: Tougher child porn laws, early voting, more