Measure Would Make It Easier for Vets to Access Discount Programs
TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Jim Whelan which would authorize counties to create a county ID for military vets in order to make it easier for them to access discount programs and courtesies extended to military personnel was approved by the Assembly yesterday by a vote of 76-0, receiving final legislative approval.
“New Jersey’s brave men and women in uniform have risked their lives and safety in combat zones around the world to protect America’s interests abroad,” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic. “Our State’s military vets and active duty personnel deserve some measure of support from a grateful State. This bill would make it easier for veterans to access programs designed specifically to say thank you for their service. It’s a small token, but at the end of the day it’s the very least we can do for people who’ve sacrificed so much for our freedom.”
The bill, S-323, would permit county clerks to create an identification card for veterans who live within the county and do not already hold a veteran ID card issued by the federal government. The cards would not serve as sufficient proof of service for official government business or to secure veterans’ benefits – such as the state-administered veteran property tax deduction, or GI Bill education benefits. According to Senator Whelan, the intention of the cards is to help veterans receive discounts and other courtesies extended to military veterans.
Senator Whelan noted that some shore towns offer free or reduced cost beach badges to military veterans and their families in the summertime. Many local businesses also provide discounts to veterans for a variety of services and goods, including deals on electronics, travel and restaurants, according to the Atlantic City lawmaker.
“Many of our State’s places of business – and even some of our communities – have stepped up to run programs designed to give something back to our returning vets,” said Senator Whelan. “These discounts and courtesies are reserved specifically for those who’ve served in the military. By making it easier for veterans to identify themselves as such, we can ensure that the benefits being offered are only used by the folks who qualify.”
The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate in May. It now heads to the Governor to be signed into law.