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 Transportation Committee today 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.
“The American flag is a symbol of unity and of the values and principles that define us as a Nation,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “There should be no doubt or confusion about the right to display the Stars and Stripes over some of the most heavily traveled roadways in the state.”
“Who doesn’t smile and feel a sense of pride when we see these displays? The flag of the United States is the most recognized emblem of democracy in the world, symbolizing our freedoms and our contributions on behalf of those across the globe,” said Senator O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth). “This bill will protect our residents’ patriotic rights to display the red, white and blue for commuters and travelers on New Jersey’s busy highways. Our flag shall again fly proud and secured on bypasses and bridges without risk of removal by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.”
“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, community leaders, and convey a sense of unity in times when we need it most.”
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 same bill has been introduced in the Assembly by Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex).
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.