Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation on Thursday that will hike fines for texting or phoning while driving without a hands-free device, with local governments and the state splitting the revenue.
The bill, S-69, will increase the present $100 fine to a minimum of $200 and a maximum of $400 for a first offense, $400 to $600 for a second offense, and $600 to $800 for a subsequent offense. It also will allow a judge to suspend a third-time offender's license for 90 days. Third and subsequent offenders would get three motor vehicle penalty points.
The new fines go into effect in 13 months.
The Assembly passed the bill in March but amended it to say that 50 percent of the fines collected would go to the town and county where the violation occurred, the rest to the Motor Vehicle Commission for an education program on the dangers of texting or phoning while driving. The Senate passed the bill in May.
Christie also signed a bill that restricts challenges to prenuptial or precivil union agreements.
The measure, S-2151, provides that a prenup can be voided as unconscionable only if found to be so when it was drafted, not when it is enforced. A judge would have to determine, among other factors, whether a party was provided full disclosure of the other party's earnings, property and financial obligations, and consulted with independent legal counsel.
The New Jersey State Bar Association opposed the bill, saying it could create inequities. "Over time, a person may become more and more economically dependent on the other person," Amanda Trigg, of Lesnevich & Marzano-Lesnevich in Hackensack, told the Assembly Judiciary Committee last October.
The Assembly sponsors — Democrats Jerry Green and Linda Stender of Union, and Marlene Caride of Bergen — amended the bill in March to say it would apply only to agreements reached on or after the date the bill is signed.
The Senate first voted last year to pass the bill, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari, D-Union. The Senate went along with the amendment in May.
The new law goes into effect immediately.