Another Surcharge for Motor Vehicle Fines – N.J.S.A. 39:5-41(h)

On January 2, 2004, the governor signed A1771, which will be known as the Brain Injury Research Act (BIRA). The statute will add another $1 to all Title 39 fines and penalties for offenses occurring on or after its effective date (180 days from 1/2/04).

When BIRA goes into effect, there will be a total of $6 added to every motor vehicle fine and penalty. As of today, there is a total of $4 surcharges. This amount will increase to $5 on February 2nd.

I suspect that BIRA will be codified by the Office of Legislative Services as N.J.S.A. 39:5-41(h). All of the surcharges are set forth under N.J.S.A. 39:5-41.

Included for your review is the relevant portion of the statute and a press release from the governor’s office explaining the law.

(c) 2004 – Muni-Mail – All Rights Reserved

N.J.S.A. 39:5-41(h) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections a. and b. of this section, $1 shall be added to the amount of each fine and penalty imposed and collected under authority of any law for any violation of the provisions of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes or any other motor vehicle or traffic violation in this State and shall be forwarded by the person to whom the same are paid to the State Treasurer. The State Treasurer shall annually deposit those moneys so forwarded in the “New Jersey Brain Injury Research Fund” established pursuant to section 9 of P.L. , c. (C. )(pending before the Legislature as this bill). 1[In order to comply with the provisions of Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 5 of the State Constitution, a municipal or county agency which forwards moneys to the State Treasurer pursuant to this subsection] The Administrative Office of the Courts1 may retain an amount equal to 1[2% of] $475,000 from1 the moneys which it initially collects pursuant to this subsection 1[as compensation for its administrative costs associated with implementing], prior to depositing any moneys in the “New Jersey Brain Injury Research Fund,” in order to meet the expenses associated with utilizing the Automated Traffic System Fund created pursuant to N.J.S.2B:12-30 to implement1 the provisions of this subsection 1and serve other statutory purposes1.

(cf: P.L.1999, c.201, s.10)

11. The commission shall adopt regulations pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this act.

12. This act shall take effect on the 1[90th] 180th1 day following enactment

(CLIFTON) – Governor James E. McGreevey today signed into law A1771, the “Brain Injury Research” Act, making New Jersey the first state with a dedicated source of funding for medical research to treat traumatic brain injuries. In signing this bill into law, the Governor continues to fulfill his commitment to make New Jersey the nation’s leader for medical research. “It is our obligation to provide our families access to the best and most cutting-edge medical technology possible and today we take a momentous step towards making New Jersey the nation’s leader in medical research,” said McGreevey. “Starting today New Jersey will be the first state in the nation to set up a fund dedicated solely to brain injury research. By creating a continuous source of funding we finally bring hope to thousands of New Jersey families, and indeed offer miraculous possibilities for families across the nation.” The Governor signed the legislation from the home of Dennis Benigno, a father who has dedicated his life to furthering medical research for traumatic brain injuries. Benigno’s son, Dennis John, was hit by a car nearly twenty years ago and has been disabled ever since. Benigno founded the Coalition for Brain Injury Research to promote research for brain cell repair. The new law provides for a $1 surcharge on motor vehicle penalties to fund brain injury research. The fund will be administered by an 11-member New Jersey State Commission of Brain Injury Research, in, but not of, the Department of Health and Senior Services. The Commission will include the Commissioner of Health; one representative each from UMDNJ and Rutgers; six public members appointed by the Governor; and two public members to be appointed by the Senate President and the Speaker of the General Assembly, respectively. The Commission will review and approve research projects, ensure funds are not being diverted to any other use, provide the Governor and the Legislature with an annual report on the status of the Commission, and will compile a directory of all brain injury research projects being conducted in the state. “The Governor’s swift action on this bill gives the thousands of New Jerseyans suffering from, or caring for someone with, a debilitating brain injury the first glimmers of hope for a cure,” said Senator Nia H. Gill, D-Essex. “With time and the dedicated State funding provided by this law, the doctors, scientists and researchers working to find ways to reverse traumatic brain injury may finally have the means and the financial support to do so.” “With annual cases of cerebral trauma that easily surpass those diagnosed with breast cancer or HIV/AIDS in this country each year, we aren’t dealing with some little known health problem,” said Senator Joseph F. Vitale, the Democratic Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “We are dealing with a physically, emotionally and socially debilitating injury that is epidemic in scope. I believe we, as a state and society, have a moral obligation to help fund worthy medical research efforts into possible treatments or cures for traumatic brain injury.” “Brain injuries are traumatic and life-changing, and at this point, almost entirely incurable,” said Senator Joseph Coniglio, D-Bergen, a co-sponsor of the bill. “But research is being done as we speak which may one day change that, and bring the possibility of hope of a normal life to even the most critically injured person. The State owes it to families like Dennis Beningo’s, who have had to suffer the debilitating effects of a brain injury, to fully support this type of life-restoring research.” “Scientific research in neurological health care is key to finding cures for several life-threatening conditions that currently are considered untreatable,” said Assemblyman Willis Edwards III (D-Essex). “Through projects put into place by this commission, scientific advancements can be achieved to help people with severe brain injuries.” “Research on nerve regeneration as a method of brain cell repair should be pursued and encouraged not only for the purpose of helping humankind, but also as a means of strengthening New Jersey’s medical technology industries,” said Assemblyman Peter Eagler (D-Passaic).

copyright – 2004 Muni-mail, all rights reserved

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