Sen. Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic) Thursday announced he intends to introduce legislation designed to give a break to disabled New Jersey’s veterans and Purple Heart recipients, and a second bill to give residents the opportunity to honor a fallen service member.
The first bill would exempt disabled veterans and recipients of the Purple Heart from New Jersey parking meter fees. Under the bill, in order to be eligible for the fee exemption, the veteran has to have a special license plate issued by the state Motor Vehicle Commission indicating that they are a disabled vet or Purple Heart recipient, and the exemption would only apply when the veteran is either the driver or passenger of the vehicle. The legislation is modeled after a South Carolina law.
“In my opinion, if someone loses a limb fighting for their country, that should entitle them to park wherever they please, free of charge,” Whelan said. “Exempting disabled vets from municipal meter parking fees seems like the absolute least we can do, but it does result in a tangible convenience for those who’ve already given so much to defend our freedom and security abroad.”
The second bill would require the state Secretary of State to create an electronic mail notification system, in which a person could opt-in to receive automatic notification whenever the governor orders the United States flag and the New Jersey State flag to be flown at half-staff.
Typically, the governor orders the flags to be flown at half-staff to commemorate the passing of a New Jersey resident who died serving their country, in the case of military members, or who died serving their community through public service. Whelan said that by allowing people to opt-in to these notifications, we can allow patriotic New Jerseyans to show their collective sorrow in the passing of one of our state’s sons or daughters.
“This legislation would create – at minimal cost to the taxpayer – an opt-in e-mail distribution list to allow private citizens and business owners to find out when the State lowers its flags, and to act accordingly,” Whelan said. “The idea is that, when the state of New Jersey loses one of its sons or daughters in the line of duty, that we can stand together and honor the sacrifice of our fallen soldier, police officer, firefighter or other public servant. Respect for the dead should extend beyond public buildings, and to the homes and businesses which make up the fabric of the Garden State.”
—TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM