Trenton – Acting to ensure the right to display the American flag over the highway overpasses on the New Jersey Turnpike and roadways operated by the South Jersey Transportation Authority, the Senate today unanimously approved a bill, sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senator Linda Greenstein and Senator Declan O’Scanlon, that would exempt the displays from the rules prohibiting the practice.
“There are no good reasons to prohibit the display of the American flag over New Jersey’s highways,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “It is a symbol of the values and principles we share as citizens. During this time of turmoil and uncertainty, it serves as a reminder of what unifies us as a Nation.”
“New Jerseyans have a right to express our support for our country and communities by responsibly displaying American flags over our major roadways,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer). “This has become a way to honor fallen first responders, and community leaders, and to convey a sense of unity in times when we need it most.”
“It started after 9/11….but who doesn’t still smile with pride when they see our flags flying on bridges throughout New Jersey? Old Glory should be allowed to fly high above the Turnpike without the risk of removal,” said Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth). “This measure will protect our residents’ patriotic rights to display the red, white, and blue for commuters and travelers on New Jersey’s busy highways. Together, we can keep this symbol of freedom and democracy flying proudly and secured on the Garden State’s bypasses and bridges.”
The bill, S-2909, authorizes private individuals and organizations, including law enforcement and veterans groups, to display the American flag on a bridge or overpass that is on or over property owned by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and South Jersey Transportation Authority, with the authority’s permission.
The legislation would have the authorities develop a permit process to make sure the flags are displayed and maintained, “in a manner consistent with the rules and customs deemed the proper manner to display the flag.”
The NJTA and SJTA would be prohibited from removing any American flag displayed in accordance with the bill.
The bill was approved with a vote of 34-0.