TRENTON – The Senate passed bills Thursday dealing with homeless shelters, conversion of diesel vehicles to natural gas, contractors who elevate flood-prone homes, and electronic monitoring of domestic violence offenders.
S116: Passed 33-0. This bill established the Disparity in Treatment of Persons with Disabilities in Underrepresented Communities Commission.
The purpose is to help minorities who often have less access to healthcare, educational opportunities, and treatment for disabling conditions.
Gov. Chris Christie, in a conditional veto, recommended instead that the Health commissioner review the impact of disabilities on minorities.
S1888: Passed 36-0. This bill requires emergency shelters to admit persons with mental illness, unless they pose a danger to self, others, or property.
S1889: Passed 36-0. This bill prohibits emergency shelters for the homeless from refusing to provide shelter for a minimum of 72 hours unless the shelter is at maximum occupancy.
In each case, Gov. Chris Christie said the proposals failed to provide guidance or standards.
S374: Passed 37-0. This bill exempts permanent cosmetic make-up services such as tattooing from sales tax if they are provided pursuant to a doctor’s prescription in conjunction with reconstructive breast surgery.
S2779: Passed 37-0. This bill eliminates the prohibition on certain patient referrals for lithotripsy, which is a procedure that uses shock waves to break up kidney stones.
If certain conditions are met, a practitioner can refer a patient to a health care service in which the practitioner has a financial interest.
S2832/A3978: Passed 36-0. This bill requires hospitals and birthing facilities to provide new mothers with information about the pertussis vaccines for adults.
Energy and utilities
S2145/A753: Passed 36-0. This bill would require a cable television company to make available for public inspection on its Internet website a schedule of rates, terms, and conditions. The company would file such information electronically with the Board of Public Utilities as well.
S2181/A2132: Passed 36-0. This bill authorizes the Board of Public Utilities to promulgate regulations requiring each electric public utility to provide price information to the BPU. The BPU shall then compile the information into a single, understandable database and make it available on its website so customers can compare prices and services.
S2250: Passed 36-0. This bill would allow the owner of a diesel commercial bus or solid waste vehicle to convert to one that is powered by compressed natural gas, electricity or liquefied petroleum gas.
The bill also would authorize the Department of Environmental Protection to provide a grant from the Diesel Risk Mitigation Fund for this purpose.
S2758/A2887: Passed 36-0. This bill requires the state’s Energy Master Plan to specifically address long-term capacity and infrastructure planning within its long-term objectives.
S2976: Passed 35-0. This bill would require any contractor offering services to elevate homes to be registered with the Division of Consumer Affairs as a home elevation contractor.
Among other things, contractors must have two years of experience under another elevation contractor and be required to use a unified jacking machine.
Home elevation contractors would also be required to carry commercial general liability insurance in a minimum amount of $1 million.
S1682: Passed 23-12. This bill provides that a registered voter can choose to vote by mail-in ballot in all future elections, or for future general elections only. Under current law, a voter can opt for mail-in ballots in future general elections.
S2984: Passed 36-0. This bill would amend the special charter of Gloucester City in Camden County. As requested by Gloucester City’s Common Council, this bill would amend that charter to provide that of the six Common Council members, three members would be elected at-large and one Common Council member would be elected from each of the city’s three election wards.
S645: Passed 35-1. The bill provides that when an indigent person is imprisoned as a result of a default on payment of a court imposed financial obligation, the court may order that credit be given against the amount owed for each day of confinement.
S780: Passed 36-0. This bill requires cemeteries to accept human remains for interment when the only means of payment available is the burial allowance permitted for recipients under the Work First New Jersey and Supplemental Security Income programs.
S1400: Passed 36-0. This bill provides that the Division of Local Government Services shall not approve a budget until the local unit or authority has provided a report outlining lawsuits to which it is a party, which will not be covered by a liability insurer and in which the local unit or authority expects to spend more than $50,000 in legal fees or settlement costs.
S1479: Passed 35-0. This bill makes it a third-degree crime, up from fourth degree, to recruit gang members on school property.
S1804/A3445: Passed 35-0. This bill allows pet owners to board public transportation with any pet in the event that a state of emergency has been declared and an evacuation is in progress.
S1828: Passed 36-0. This bill would prohibit homeowners’ associations from adopting rules that limit alterations on the property of a single-family dwelling unit that is reasonably necessary for the accommodation or therapy of a physically disabled person.
S2343: Passed 37-0. This bill requires the owners of age-restricted multiple dwellings, those with more than 20 units, to annually prepare and maintain emergency building operations plans.
S2507/A3321: Passed 36-0. This bill requires the state’s administrative agencies to employ various technologies, including the Internet, to streamline rule-making notice and comment procedures.
S2609: Passed 28-4. This bill increases the rate of interest that a licensed pawnbroker may charge per month with respect to pledge transactions from the current rate of 3.7 to 4.5 percent and increases the minimum charge for these transactions from $1.00 to $1.50. These amounts were last increased more than 10 years ago.
S2626/A3812: Passed 36-0. This bill requires certain cross-checking notifications to discourage fraud in the unemployment insurance system. The state registrar is directed to notify the Labor and Human Services Departments of a deceased person’s name, Social Security number and other information.
S2643/A3624: Passed 36-0. This bill provides that participation by a New Jersey resident in a contest of skill in which a participant pays an entry fee does not constitute unlawful gambling.
S2910/A321: Passed 35-0. This bill would establish a four-year pilot program in Ocean County for electronic monitoring of domestic violence offenders and notification to victims. The pilot program would be designated as “Lisa’s Law” in remembrance of Letizia Zindell of Toms River, a domestic violence victim murdered by her former fiancée.
S2980: Passed 35-0. This bill provides that while on duty, local health inspectors and building inspectors may carry cans of pepper spray for self defense, of the size carried by law enforcement.
S3058: Passed 33-0. This bill stipulates that real estate brokers, broker-salespersons and salespersons licensed in New Jersey shall be permitted to prepare a broker price opinion or comparative market analysis.
S3076/A3997: Passed 32-1. This bill prohibits a board of education from including within the employment contract of a superintendent of schools a provision that offers a bonus for reducing the number of special education students enrolled in an out-of-district placement.
S3088: Passed 34-0. This bill extends the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance’s ability to waive the statutory limit on liability exposure for a mortgage guaranty insurance company from 36 months after the effective date of the law in question, Feb. 1, 2014, to 72 months after the effective date of that act, Feb. 1, 2017.