Bills benefiting NJ veterans signed into law
Guadagno signed the measures at American Legion Post 338 in Brick Township, before a standing-room-only crowd mostly comprised of veterans who applauded the state's effort to honor them.
"Taken individually, they're not earth-shattering, but when you put all three together, it shows New Jersey's commitment to all of the veterans, the people who have served and the people serving now, and as I like to say is, the next generation," Guadagno said.
One of the bills dedicates the second week in November as "Veterans Education Awareness Week," a second waives fees for death certificates, and a third renames a span over the Manasquan River "Veterans of All Wars Memorial Bridge," connecting Point Pleasant and Brielle. That's the same name originally given to the bridge in 1951, but a resolution expired that same year. The new bill makes the designation permanent.
"We want to raise education about the fact that there is a GI bill that can send our returning veterans to school when they come back," Guadagno said.
Until Tuesday's signing, families of deceased veterans had to pay a $25 fee for a death certificate, according to Guadagno.
"Last year, New Jersey issued about 2,700 death certificates to veterans, and that waives the fees for those death certificates, which I think is the right thing to do," she said, also pointing out the deaths cost the state of New Jersey roughly $34,000. "I think the service of our veterans is worth that and more."
Dozens of veterans who attended the bill signing were elated to have the state honor and recognize their service.
"They have served us in so many different ways," Guadagno said. "The very least we can do is return the favor, and let them know we will never forget them and that we continue to respect and honor their sacrifices for New Jersey."
The bills passed unanimously with complete, bipartisan support from the New Jersey Legislature.
Several sponsors of the bills were present, as well as municipal politicians.