The bills would extend certain benefits currently unavailable to US Armed Forces & Reserves members
(TRENTON) -Assembly Democrats Vince Mazzeo and Bob Andrzejczak have introduced a legislative package to protect members of the United States Armed Forces and the Reserves from being ostracized and having their employment threatened because of their military affiliations.
“These soldiers make many sacrifices. Their ability to provide for themselves and their families should not be one,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “Threatening a person’s job or excluding them from a facility because of his or her military service is something that our service men and women should never have to deal with. Members of the New Jersey National Guard are already protected against this. This bill rightfully extends this protection to members of the Armed Forces and the Reserves.”
“No one who willfully gives his or her time and service to protect this country should ever have to worry about having their livelihood threatened, or being denied any accommodation because of the uniform they wear,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “These men and women have taken on the responsibility of keeping us safe here at home and abroad. These bills ensure that their service is not held against them, and that they are treated with the respect that they deserve.”
The first bill (A-4101) would protect US Armed Forces and Reserves members against interference with their employment, trade or business. Under current law, any person who willfully deprives, prevents or obstructs a member of the New Jersey National Guard in his or her employment because of his or her involvement with the organized militia, or dissuades a person from enlistment by threatening or harming his or her employment, is guilty of a misdemeanor. The bill would add members of the United States Armed Forces and the Reserves to those protected by the statute.
The second bill (A-4102) would protect US Armed Forces and Reserves members from being excluded from enjoying any accommodation or facility because of their uniform. Under current law, any person who excludes a person lawfully wearing a uniform of the New Jersey National Guard from the enjoyment of the aforementioned because of that uniform is guilty of a misdemeanor. The bill would add members of the US Armed Forces and the Reserves to those protected by the statute.
The bills also replace the term misdemeanor with the current equivalent designation of a crime of the fourth degree. Under the first bill, violation of the stature would result in a mandatory minimum fine of $2,500. Under the second bill, a violation would result in a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.
Mazzeo is also sponsoring a bill, which will be introduced this week, to add the US Armed Forces and the Reserves to the sections of law exempting service members on active duty from jury duty. The bill being introduced would also protect them against attacks while on active duty.
Under current law, any person who assaults, fires at, throws missiles at, against, or upon any uniformed member of the New Jersey National Guard, while on active duty, or a person aiding such member, is guilty of a misdemeanor. The bill would add members of the US Armed Forces and Reserves to those protected by the law and would replace the term misdemeanor with the current equivalent designation of a crime of the fourth degree. A violation of the statute would result in a mandatory fine of $1,000.
Any fines collected under the three bills would have to be deposited in the “NJ National Guard State Family Readiness Council Fund.” The bills would become effective immediately.
The bills (A-4101) and (A-4102) have been referred to the Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. The bill being introduced this week will also likely be referred to this committee.