Turner/Norcross Legislation Prohibiting Bias Against Nj Transit Passengers With Guide/Service Dog Clears Senate

A view of the Senate Chambers from the 2010-2011 Senate Reorganization.

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Shirley K. Turner (D – Mercer, Hunterdon) and Donald Norcross (D – Camden) that would prohibit New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) from denying entry or use of any vehicle to a person who uses a guide or service dog cleared the full Senate today.

“We should be doing everything we can to prevent discrimination against those with special needs,” said Senator Turner. “Allowing those who use guide or service dogs the same access to transportation as everyone else is really a matter of common sense. They are entitled to the same rights as any other individual who enjoys public transportation.”

“Denying access to someone who is traveling with a service animal is discriminatory and unjust,” said Senator Norcross. “This legislation will make clear under state law that all New Jersey residents must be provided equal access to public transportation. At the same time, it will help to educate public agencies about their responsibility to provide proper accommodations for riders with special needs.”

The bill, S-1269, would amend the “New Jersey Public Transportation Act of 1979” to prohibit this kind of discrimination. Moreover, it would allow anyone using a guide or service dog to keep the dog with them while riding on any NJ Transit vehicle. The dog would have to appropriately controlled while in transit.

In addition, the legislation would require NJ Transit to designate an Access Link Customer Service Group to receive and act on any complaints regarding Access Link service to people with disabilities. The bill would establish procedures by which complaints would be processed and resolved.

The legislation now heads to the Assembly.

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