Three bills aimed at assisting and honoring veterans and service members were signed into law Tuesday by acting Gov. Kim Guadagno, who assumed the leadership role because Gov. Chris Christie was outside the state for Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s inauguration.
The bills included a measure requiring the state Registrar of Vital Statistics to issue a free copy of a deceased veteran’s death certificate to an authorized family member or legal representative.
The other two bills designate the Route 35 bridge between Briell and Point Pleasant Beach in Ocean County as the Veterans of All Wars Memorial Bridge and designate the second week in November as Veterans’ Education Awareness Week.
Guadagno signed the bills during a ceremony at American Legion Post 348 in Brick, Ocean County.
“We take comfort knowing that our men and women in uniform are skilled, committed, and willing to confront whatever is necessary, wherever it’s necessary, to preserve our way of life,” Guadagno said. “There will never be an adequate way to recognize and reward our veterans. Today’s bills are just a few steps — important ones — to show New Jersey’s continuing commitment to honoring our service members.”
The death-certificate measure was sponsored by Sen. Diane Allen, R-7th of Edgewater Park, and Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-7th of Palmyra. It requires the Registrar of Vital Statistics to furnish, without a fee, one certified copy of a veteran’s death certificate if requested by an authorized family member or legal representative.
The fee is $25.
“Eliminating this hurdle for families mourning a loved one who served our country will give them one less thing to worry about during a very difficult time and hopefully provide some level of comfort,” Allen said in a statement. “Too often our society fails to recognize the sacrifices that veterans and their families have made. This measure is now another small way for us as a state to show our appreciation for veterans and their families.”
New Jersey is home to more than 400,000 veterans and 73,000 members of the armed services and civilian defense employees.
Guadagno has served as the state’s lieutenant governor for five years. She also chairs the New Jersey Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force.
The task force was formed last year to develop recommendations for how New Jersey can better protect and enhance Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and the state’s other remaining military installations and Coast Guard stations.