Bills passed in Assembly: Health care exchange, distracted driving, more

TRENTON – The Assembly passed a number of bills today, including ones involving a public awareness campaign for Health Care Exchanges, developmental center locations, distracted driving laws, and more.

A3519: Passed 66-6-1. Establishes compensation limits for licensed public adjusters during certain emergencies. It sets limits of 10 percent of the insurance claims amounts and is in part a reaction to Sandy’s devastation and preventing adjusters from taking advantage of victims.

A3537: Passed 61-7-3. Provides that a person convicted of a sexual assault that resulted in the birth of a child shall not be awarded custody or visitation under any circumstances.

A3568: Passed 43-31-3. Requires the state to pay postage for voted ballots returned by mail.

A3572: Passed 74-0-1. Requires people licensed or appointed to inspect homes to pass criminal history background check.

A3586: Passed 63-13-1. Prohibits the Health Department  from requiring any specific criteria, test, or procedure in the determination of death by neurological criteria.

This bill requires that a declaration of death upon the basis of neurological criteria be made by a licensed physician.  

A3598: Passed 76-0. Establishes conditional dismissal program in municipal court for certain first-time offenders.

A3606: Passed 76-0. Passed Requires 20 hours of professional development for public school teachers to be devoted to reading disabilities.

A3608: Passed 75-0. Directs the state Board of Education to incorporate the International Dyslexia Association’s definition of dyslexia into special education regulations.

A3613/S2144: Passed 76-0. This bill repeals and replaces two chapters of New Jersey’s Uniform Commercial Code, makes significant revisions to another chapter, and makes certain conforming and other amendments throughout the code.

The most significant change proposed is in regard to specification of the name of debtors.  The current rule was found to be insufficiently specific as to the debtor’s name as it was to be included in a security filing.  The revisions provide clear rules as to names.  

A3628/S2353: Passed 75-0. Adds one member to New Jersey Epilepsy Task Force and extends its work for one year.

A3761: Passed 74-0-1. This bill would amend the Municipal Land Use Law to provide municipalities with flexibility to plan for livable neighborhoods while preserving farmland, open space, and historic sites.  The bill would clarify a provision of law that authorizes lot-size averaging.      Under current law, clustering is a planning tool that allows municipalities to permit development of one or more areas in a more compact pattern than otherwise required in the zone, resulting in the preservation of open space in the remaining land area.

The bill amends the law to make contiguous clustering and noncontiguous clustering more effective and usable planning tools. 

A3845/S2399: Passed 52-22-2. This bill provides for the immediate issuance of marriage and civil union licenses at the time the license application is made, except with respect to license applications by minors under the age of 18.

A3870: Passed 44-29-2. Requires at least one state developmental center in each region of the state.

The bill further requires that in the case of a transfer of a resident from one developmental center to another, the commissioner is to equally consider things such as the resident’s medical and social needs; and the distance between the resident’s family or guardian.

A3873: Passed 73-0. Requires the Transportation Commissioner to erect signs and use variable message signs to inform motorists of the state law prohibiting texting while driving.

The bill, Nikki’s Law, is named for an 18-year-old equestrian and Honor Society member who was killed by a distracted driver.

A3878: Passed 45-32. Requires the Banking and Insurance Department to undertake a public awareness campaign on Health Care Exchanges.

Assemblyman Jay Webber said the bill should truly reflect the issues of such exchanges and called it incomplete. He encouraged the state to tell residents and businesses all about the Affordable Care Act and how it will really affect their lives, including such areas as tax penalties.

“We should tell them about the sticks if we’re going to tell them about the carrots,’’ he said.

Sponsor Assemblyman Herb Conaway objected that Webber was not directing comments about the specific bill but about the Affordable Care Act in general.

And Speaker Sheila Oliver said the Banking and Insurance Department is simply being directed to create a public awareness campaign, that’s all, and that Webber should introduce a bill on his concerns if he wishes.

“You are litigating an issue that’s already been decided in Congress,’’ Oliver said.

Webber’s motion to return the bill for more action failed.

A3905: Passed 73-3. Revises offenses concerning animal abandonment and failure to report injuring certain animals with a motor vehicle.

S2151: Passed 61-12-1. This bill would strengthen the enforceability of premarital and pre-civil union agreements. 

Bills passed in Assembly: Health care exchange, distracted driving, more