Greenwald, Land, Andrzejczak, Mazzeo, Houghtaling, Benson & Danielsen Bill to Assist Gold Star Families Goes to Governor

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Lou Greenwald, Bruce R. Land, Bob Andrzejczak, Vince Mazzeo, Eric Houghtaling, Dan Benson and Joseph Danielsen to assist Gold Star families was approved 39-0 Monday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval.
The bill, approved by the Assembly in February, is part of a larger package of bills to help Gold Star families, two of which have already become law.
“Gold Star families have given the greatest sacrifice they can for our freedoms, and we need to do our part to support them,” said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). “These bills will provide needed support to navigate the challenges and difficulties they face in the wake of losing a loved one.”
“Gold Star” describes a family member who has lost a loved one in military service. A Gold Star Family member is defined to mean a spouse, domestic partner, partner in a civil union, parent, brother, sister, child, legal guardian, or other legal custodian.
The bill (A-4401) would authorize the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission to approve and issue a driver’s license and an identification card with a Gold Star Family designation for certain family members of servicemen and servicewomen who lost their lives while on active duty.
Under the bill, the holder of a driver’s license or identification card with a Gold Star Family designation would be eligible for certain benefits, including:
· Free or reduced price admission to New Jersey beaches;
· Free admission to State parks and forests;
· Free admission to the New Jersey State Museum;
· Waiver of license fees charged by several professional and occupational licensing boards in the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety; and
· Admission into homes, institutions, and hospitals administered by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA).
“We are indebted to these brave soldiers and their families. Anything we can do to make life a little easier for them is the honorable thing to do,” said Land (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland).
“The untimely death of a loved is devastating,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland) “Behind every soldier is a military family that contributed to the safety of our country. We have a responsibility to ensure their stability and well-being when they suffer a loss.”
“Gold Star families deserve our support,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “While none of this will bring their loved one back, we should make every effort to let them know they are not alone.”
“Gold Star families deserve all the assistance we can provide, and this is a reasonable and compassionate step,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth).
“Grieving Gold Star families should not have to deal with bureaucratic hurdles,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex).
“A sudden death can take a toll on families not just emotionally, but financially,” said Danielsen (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “This can help ease some of that burden for Gold Star families.”