CRITERIA FOR REVIEWING LEGISLATION
The NJSBA shall use the following criteria to determine if the NJSBA should take a position on a particular bill:
- The bill directly affects lawyers as a profession.
- The bill affects public access to the judicial system, fairness in the administration of justice or the independence and integrity of the judicial branch.
- The bill affects a constitutional right.
- The bill has the potential of making substantial changes to the practice of law in a substantive practice area.
- The bill was drafted by an NJSBA Section/Committees/Division.
FORMATION OF THE LEGISLATIVE POLICY
Legislative policy is formed by the NJSBA Board of Trustees, with the assistance of the Legislative Committee and the association’s sections, committees and division. The Legislative Committee consists of county and section/committee trustees and non-trustees who review and discuss legislation to recommend an overall position to the Board. The Committee may move a bill to the Board agenda with a recommendation or it can remand legislation back to a section or committee for further examination or analysis. The Committee’s recommendation gives the Board a high level of confidence that legislation has been carefully studied, not only by NJSBA groups requesting the Board’s policy determination, but by an independent committee, representing the views of the entire Association. A final policy determination on legislation is the sole province of the Board of Trustees.
LEGISLATION POLICY MAKING PROCESS
Step One – Bill Referral
Bills are referred to NJSBA groups based on a review of the bills flagged by the NJSBA Government Affairs Department and approved by the Legislative Committee with an evaluation of the areas of law it may affect. Bills may also be flagged as a result of a direct request from specific NJSBA groups.
Step Two – Section Review
Bills are reviewed by the relevant NJSBA groups who evaluate the bill and make a determination in accordance with their bylaws. An LPF is generated stating the group’s position, comments and if applicable, proposed amendments.
Step Three – Legislative Committee Review
The Legislative Committee reviews the various LPFs received from NJSBA groups and makes a recommendation to the Board based on its analysis. Please note, prior to making a recommendation to the Board, the Legislative Committee may vote to refer the bill to another relevant NJSBA group the bill may impact or refer the bill to further clarify a particular position.
Step Four – Board of Trustees Review
The Board of Trustees reviews the recommendations and underlying LPFs received from the Legislative Committee. The Board may vote to adopt the position of the Legislative Committee, take a different position or vote to take no position. Similar to the Legislative Committee, the Board may choose to refer the bill to another NJSBA group to clarify a position.
Step Five – Official NJSBA Position
Once the Board takes action on a bill, it represents the official NJSBA position that will be advanced. NJSBA’s Legal & Government Affairs Department will contact legislators to advance the Association’s position as appropriate and work with the group(s) to coordinate any communication, testimony or discussions about potential amendments.
It is important to note, NJSBA groups cannot represent the NJSBA position directly to legislators, press or other organizations, it must go through the NJSBA Government Affairs Department.
NJSBA Board of Trustees Policy on Confidentiality of Legislative Materials
Click here for Policy on Confidentiality of Legislative Materials
The Annual Distinguished Legislative Service Award is presented to the NJSBA member(s) who helps to further the advancement of the Association’s legislative efforts.
The New Jersey State Bar Association’s award-winning Government Affairs Department, which consists of full-time attorney/lobbyists and a paralegal, advocates on behalf of NJSBA members. Our efforts include:
• Providing public testimony on legislation before the Legislature.
• Establishing contacts between NJSBA members and federal and state legislators.
• Building a consensus among constituencies to bolster cooperation between various groups and the NJSBA.
• Prepare the “Capitol Report” in the New Jersey Law Journal to keep members informed of the latest legislative
activity in Trenton.
• Working with sections and committees to proactively draft legislation and suggest reforms in the law to respective
areas of practice.
• Sharing of information between the NJSBA and county and specialty bar associations on legislative issues.
Contact us at:
New Jersey State Bar Association
New Jersey Law Center
One Constitution Square
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1520