Just in time for the unofficial kick-off of summer, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Connie Wagner, Jack Conners and Ruben J. Ramos Jr. is headed to the Governor’s desk, which would allow municipalities to offer free or discounted beach badges to military personnel and their families.
“These brave men and women give so much for our state and our country,” said Wagner (D-Bergen). “Giving our armed forces one more way to capitalize on their valuable down time is the least we can do to say ‘thank you’ for their service.”
Current law allows towns to offer free or reduced price beach tags for individuals over 65 years of age, disabled residents and children under 12.
The bill (A-2299/S-114) recently received final legislative approval by the General Assembly by a vote of 74-0-1. If signed by the Governor, it would allow municipalities to provide free or reduced fees for access to beach, bathing and recreational grounds for individuals in active military service, their spouses and children over the age of 12 and members of the New Jersey National Guard who have completed Initial Active Duty Training, their spouses and children over 12.
Municipalities choosing to provide free or reduced beach tags for service members would be required to track the number of individuals who qualify for them.
“The families of service men and women don’t always have a lot of discretionary spending money, whether it’s because they’re waiting on back-pay or are experiencing a salary cut due to the transition from civilian to active duty status,” said Conners (D-Camden) the chairman of the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs committee and a former Army National Guardsman and Army Reservist.
“Allowing them to take advantage of our beaches at a free or reduced rate will give them one more way to take their minds off of loved ones fighting for our freedoms and interests overseas,” said Ramos (D-Hudson).