Measure Would Allow Use of Military IDs to Gain Free Access to NJ Beaches
(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Vincent Mazzeo, Robert Andrzejczak, Nancy J. Pinkin and Raj Mukherji sponsored that would make it easier for active duty members of the military, veterans, and their families to obtain free access to New Jersey beaches received final legislative approval Monday and now heads to the governor’s desk.
“With this legislation, we’re looking to cut out the middleman,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “Veterans and active duty military personnel and their families can already receive a number of benefits just by showing their military ID. We just want to add free beach access to that list.”
Under current New Jersey law, municipalities can provide free or reduced fee beach access to active military service members in the US Armed Forces and their spouses and dependents; active New Jersey National Guard members and their spouses and dependents; and veterans. The methods of denoting this free or reduced access vary from municipality to municipality, but usually involve some sort of separate class of beach badge or tag.
“For many disabled veterans, myself included, the added hassle of having to procure a separate badge just for beach access is, at best, a minor annoyance and, at worst, a significant deterrent to being able to enjoy a day at the beach,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May), a former sergeant in the US Army who lost his left leg during a roadside bombing in the Iraq War. “This small change has the potential to make life just a little bit easier for a number of New Jersey military families.”
Under the bill (A-3293), the above mentioned classes of US Armed Forces service members and their families would be able to gain free or reduced fee beach access simply by presenting a valid military identification card; form DD-214; or a state driver’s license or identification card indicating that the holder is a veteran.
“This is a simple step we can take to assist our veterans and their families,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “Expanding use of military ID in place of badges is another way to streamline government while assisting military and their families who sacrifice for us every day.”
“Our freedom is not free, but access to our beaches should be for those who safeguard our liberties,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson), a former Sergeant who left his role as CEO of a software company to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve two weeks after September 11th. “A military or veteran’s ID should be sufficient for free or reduced fee beach access for military families. This is a simple, common sense way of expressing our gratitude by cutting down on bureaucratic busywork and making trips to the beach more convenient for our military families.”
The bill was approved 36-0 by the Senate, and 72-0 by the Assembly in May.