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(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly members Louis D. Greenwald, Ralph R. Caputo, Annette Quijano and John Burzichelli to invigorate the state’s wedding market was approved Monday by the Senate and now heads to the Governor’s desk.

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 (D-Camden). “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.”

“Making the licensing application process more convenient for couples will push the wedding market in New Jersey ahead of the competition,” said Caputo (D-Essex). “With the economy still recovering, this will give the wedding and hospitality industries in our state a great boost.”

“This bill makes planning a wedding at one of the many wonderful destination wedding facilities in our state more practical,” said Quijano (D-Union). “New Jersey will be able to offer a new benefit that the competition does not, which will help stimulate local economies and create jobs.”

“Simplifying the licensing rules gives us a competitive advantage over neighboring states, which should help attract more couples to the wedding locales here in New Jersey, and create employment opportunities as demand in the wedding market grows,” said Burzichelli (D-Salem/Cumberland/Gloucester).

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.

The bill was approved 21-13 by the Senate and 47-21-7 by the Assembly.