Governor Signs Bills S641 and S1773
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Posted by: Lisa Dekovitch
The Governor has signed into law the following two bills. You can view the bills at the following url by typing in the bill number:
S641 - Upgrades penalty for failing to report act of sexual abuse against child.
This bill requires a person who has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been sexually abused to immediately report that abuse to law enforcement officials. A person’s failure to report sexual abuse is a fourth degree crime under the bill.
Under current law, a person who has reasonable cause to believe that an act of child abuse, including sexual abuse, has been committed is required to notify the Division of Child Protection and Permanency. Failure to report abuse to the division is a disorderly person’s offense. This bill ensures that law enforcement officials are immediately notified in instances where sexual abuse has occurred, and that the failure to report sexual abuse results in an enhanced criminal penalty.
The penalty for a disorderly persons offense is a term of imprisonment for up to 6 months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. The penalty for a fourth degree crime is up to 18 months imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. A third degree crime is punishable 3 to 5 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.
This bill takes effect immediately.
S1773 - Requires display of identifying information on rear of school bus so public may report bus driver misconduct.
This bill requires an agency, board of education, nonpublic school, or school bus contractor that operates school buses to display across the rear of the school bus a phone number, website address, or other identifying information that allows the public to report a bus driver’s misconduct while operating the school bus. A school bus operator that displays the identifying information would be required to use letters of a color that contrasts with the color of the bus.
Current regulations of the Department of Transportation (N.J.A.C.13:20-49C.18 (d)) provide that there can be no lettering on the front or rear of a school bus other than the words “SCHOOL BUS.” This bill allows school bus operators to display identifying information that would permit the public to report a bus driver’s misconduct. The bill is to take effect immediately and be applicable to the next school year beginning on July 1st.