Bipartisan legislation Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo, Daniel Benson Carmelo Garcia and Sgt. Bob Andrzejczak sponsored to honor veterans by establishing special license plates was advanced Thursday by an Assembly panel.
“Men and women who have served in our armed forces deserve the opportunity to convey their pride in being veterans,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “No matter where they go – regardless of whether they’re traveling here in New Jersey or out of state – these military plates will be a tribute to their service.”
The bill (A-1485) would allow the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to issue special license plates to honorably discharged veterans. Applicants would have to present a DD-214 form as evidence of honorable discharge. The bill also would allow surviving spouses of deceased veterans to retain the special license plates for display on vehicles they own or lease.
While a number of available license plates honor specific subsets of service members, such as recipients of the Silver Star and the Purple Heart, no such honor exists for all veterans, DeAngelo said.
The plates would identify the registrant as a veteran and feature the insignia of the branch of the military in which he or she served. A $15 application fee would be required to obtain the special plates, in addition to the normal registration fee.
“Any New Jersey driver may obtain a personalized license plate, but it is fitting to have a specialized plate, bearing a symbol of the U.S. military, reserved for those brave citizens who served our country,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “This legislation is about recognizing the individuals who did not hesitate to answer when their nation called.”
“Veterans have made countless sacrifices for the United States and bear burdens most in this nation will never know,” said Garcia (D-Hudson). “More than just vanity plates, these military plates will serve as a badge of honor for all recipients, signifying their strength and dedication to this country.”
“There is a sense of pride and camaraderie among men and women who have served in the military that is entirely unique to them, and they ought to be able to express that,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland), who served in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Army. “This legislation is a way to show respect and gratitude for veterans’ service.”
The measure was advanced by the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, of which DeAngelo is vice-chair.