Conford, Gaulkin and Kilkenny. The opinion of the court was delivered by Kilkenny, J.A.D.
Defendants were convicted in the Bergen County District Court of violating N.J.S.A. 45:9-42.21, upon complaint of the State Board of Medical Examiners of New Jersey. Plaintiff was given a judgment allowing a recovery from each of the defendants of a $100 penalty and costs of the proceedings. This is an appeal by defendants from that judgment.
N.J.S.A. 45:9-42.21 provides that whoever conducts, operates or directs a bio-analytical laboratory in this State without having first obtained from the State Board of Medical Examiners a license to do so, or who performs such bio-analytical laboratory work except in a registered bio-analytical laboratory under the specific direction and supervision of a licensed bio-analytical laboratory director, or who solicits, receives, accepts or delivers material originating from the
human body on behalf of any bio-analytical laboratory located without the State and which is not under the direction of a licensed bio-analytical laboratory director and registered under this act, " or similarly licensed and registered under the laws of the State in which it is located ," or who violates any of the provisions of this act or rules of the Board issued pursuant thereto, shall be liable to a penalty of not less than $100 nor more than $500 for each such offense. This penalty shall be sued for and recovered in the name of the board in a summary manner, pursuant to the penalty enforcement law and the rules of the Supreme Court.
The facts are undisputed and have been stipulated in the trial record. It is admitted that the defendant, Charles Wagner, did receive, accept or deliver material originating from the human body, on behalf of the defendant, Laboratory Delivery Service, Inc., and the defendant, Kings County Research Laboratories, a bio-analytical laboratory of the State of New York which is not under the direction of a bio-analytical laboratory director licensed and registered under our law. It is also stipulated that Kings County Research Laboratories did receive said material originating from the human body.
The defendants concede that they come within the purview of N.J.S.A. 45:9-42.21, but it is their contention that it was erroneous to impose penalties against them, because they are "similarly licensed and registered under the laws of the State" of New York in which they are located. The evidence shows that Kings County Research Laboratories, Murray A. Blaivas and Abraham J. Blaivas, as owners and directors, is licensed and registered under section 13.05 of the New York City Health Code.
The State Board of Medical Examiners contends that this license and registration under the New York City Health Code is not equivalent to license and registration under laws of the State of New York. The State Board further maintains that the defendant laboratory is not "similarly licensed" within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 45:9-42.21.
The first inquiry is whether Kings County Research Laboratories, by virtue of its license and registration under the New York City Health Code, can be deemed to be licensed and registered under the laws of the State of New York in which it is located.
The State Board argues that our Legislature did not reasonably intend that a license to conduct a bio-analytical laboratory, obtained pursuant to the provisions of a "municipal ordinance," should come within the exception of N.J.S.A. 45:9-42.21, whereby sanction is given to such a laboratory without the State licensed by the "laws of the State" where it is located. It is true that a municipal ordinance is not normally equated with state law. But the State Board overlooks the fact that the New York City Health Code is more than a mere municipal ordinance. The New York State Legislature has, by legislative enactment, elevated the city health code to the status of state law applicable within the city.
This was accomplished when the New York State Legislature enacted chapter 610 of the 1961 Session Laws of New York , effective April 17, 1961, amending section 558 of the New York city charter to read as follows:
a. The health code which is in force in the city on the date at which this section takes effect and all existing provisions of law fixing penalties for violations of the code and all regulations of the board of health on file with the city clerk on the date when this section as amended takes effect shall continue to be binding and in force except as amended or repealed from time to time. Such code shall have the force and effect of law." (Emphasis added)
The State Board contends that our Legislature intended by the expression "laws of the State" only those enactments by the foreign state legislature which had state-wide applicability, and not merely a state law applicable only to New York City. We find no sound basis for that contention. An enactment
by the legislature is a law of the state, even though it may be special, local or private in character. So, too, our Legislature was presumably well aware of the common device of classifying the political subdivisions of the State for the purpose of legislation and then adopting laws general in language, but, in practical effect, operative only within certain counties or municipalities of the State. Thus, we have counties and cities of various classes, towns, townships, boroughs and villages, with "general" laws applicable only to those within the classification. We take judicial notice that New York City is made up of five counties and is inhabited by approximately 8,000,000 people -- more than the population of our entire State. It is in a class by itself and subject to ...