New Jersey law will make it illegal for beach towns to charge veterans for beach access

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TRENTON, NJ – If you served your country and were willing to storm foreign beachheads, putting your own life on the line, you might soon get free beach access right here in New Jersey. A bill sponsored by Tom Kean, a Republican would make it illegal for a municipality to charge a U.S. veteran to use their beaches.

The bill may not make it past state Democrats though after it cleared the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean that would require municipalities to provide free beach access to veterans was advanced this week by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

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“In recognition of our brave veterans who have defended this nation, it is fitting to offer them free admission to New Jersey’s incredible, award-winning beaches,” said Kean (R-21). “This is a small way to honor our country’s military personnel and show our appreciation for their service and sacrifice. I hope that this legislation will help our veterans enjoy the unique experience of New Jersey’s beaches with their family and friends.”

Kean’s legislation, S-929, prohibits a shore municipality from charging and collecting any fees for access to beaches and bathing or recreational facilities by veterans who have served in any of the Armed Forces of the United States; were discharged or released from service under conditions other than dishonorable; and either: served at least 90 days in active duty, or were discharged or released from active duty due to a service-incurred injury or disability.

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Current law permits shore municipalities, by ordinance, to provide free or reduced-fee beach access to qualifying veterans. This bill would require shore municipalities to provide free beach access to veterans.

“The brave men and women of our armed services risked their own lives to protect our freedom,” added Kean. “These individuals should not be charged to access beaches—they should be offered complimentary admission.”