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(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden) to invigorate the state’s wedding market was released Monday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-4366) gives New Jersey’s tourism and hospitality industry a competitive advantage over states across the region and the country by eliminating the current 72-hour waiting period and streamlining residency requirements.

“This bill provides New Jersey’s small weddings market with a shot in the arm,” said Greenwald. “By gaining a competitive edge over our neighboring states, we will create jobs and jump-start the small businesses that make up New Jersey’s wedding and tourism industry.”

The bill would eliminate the current mandatory 72-hour waiting period for issuance of a marriage or civil union license after an application is made, giving New Jersey a competitive edge over neighboring states. The current waiting period, established in 1934, makes it cumbersome for out of state residents to plan weddings at New Jersey’s many tourism destinations, depriving local economies of needed tourism dollars.

In addition, A-4366 streamlines residency requirements for New Jerseyans applying for marriage and civil union licenses. Under current law, residents must apply for a marriage or civil union license in the municipality where either applicant resides, making it less convenient for residents to wed at one of the state’s over 50 destination wedding facilities and other premier accommodations. A-4366 allows residents to apply for licenses in the municipality where the wedding ceremony is to be performed as well.

By eliminating the waiting period, A-4366 also makes New Jersey more competitive with neighboring states, including Pennsylvania (72 hour waiting period), New York (24 hours), Delaware (24 hours), and Maryland (48 hours). Under A-4366, New Jersey would join Connecticut and Rhode Island as the only states in the Northeast with no waiting period. 27 other states do not require a minimum waiting period for issuing a marriage or civil union license.

“In streamlining the marriage and civil union license application process, New Jersey will offer a new benefit that our biggest competitors do not,” said Greenwald. “With unemployment still at 9 percent, this common-sense bill will stimulate local economies and create jobs in our state.”

The bill was released 5-0 by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.