Professional drivers watching movement of New Jersey bills

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Monday, October 24, 2016

The use of trooper-issued tickets in New Jersey and driving with a suspended CDL are the subjects of legislation moving through the statehouse.

New Jersey law now makes available for the state’s general use all motor vehicle fine, penalty and forfeiture revenue generated through tickets written by state troopers.

The Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously to advance a bill to give local governments more motor vehicle fine revenue. Specifically, one-third of fine revenue generated through tickets issued by the State Police would be routed to the municipality where the violations occurred. The other two-thirds would stay with the state.

Sen. Mike Doherty, R-Warren, said the legislation addresses an inequity.

“When a local police officer issues a traffic ticket, the municipality collects half of the fine revenues to offset the cost of enforcement and running the local court where the ticket may be contested,” Doherty said in prepared remarks. “An identical ticket issued by a state trooper may end up in the same courtroom, but the town doesn’t currently get a share of the fine to help cover expenses.”

Municipalities could use the revenue for “general municipal use” and to defray costs of operating municipal courts.

The bill, S568, is in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee awaiting clearance to the chamber floor. If approved there, it would move to the Assembly for further consideration.

Another bill covers driving truck with a suspended commercial driver’s license. State law now gives prosecutors up to 30 days after the offense to file complaints to a judge.

The Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee voted to advance a Senate-approved bill that would extend the time period to 90 days.

Sen. Kip Bateman, R-Somerset, said the change is necessary because prosecutors often need more time to get the necessary information.

“Prosecutors don’t always get the information right away,” Bateman testified. “Because some of these drivers are out of state, (prosecutors) don’t always have enough time to access a driver’s history or record. This would give them an additional 60 days to file complaints.”

S1148 now moves to the Assembly floor. If approved there, it would head to the governor’s desk.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Jersey, click here.

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