Legislation introduced by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove to increase the penalty for trespassing offenses committed in a nuclear generating plant from a 4th degree crime to 3rd degree crime was passed by the Assembly.
The New Jersey Assembly passed legislation to upgrade the crime of trespassing at a nuclear facility. (Flickr)
The 9th District Delegation issued a joint statement following the Assembly’s passage of its legislative initiative (A-3186): “In this age of terrorism, any unauthorized presence in a nuclear generating plant constitutes a serious risk to public safety. Those who would threaten public safety by trespassing at this type of site should face a harsher penalty to reflect the seriousness of the crime.
“With the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station being located in our Legislative District, we certainly understand the importance of establishing deterrents for trespassing at such protected sites. Aside from the obvious concern for public safety and homeland security, there are complications associated with disruption of these facilities’ critical operations that may arise from a security incident.
“Accordingly, we are seeking to upgrade State law to better protect nuclear plants in view of the fact that domestic terrorist incidents have increased in the United States.”
Under current law, trespassing in a nuclear generating plant is a crime of the fourth degree, which is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment for up to 18 months, or both. A crime of the third degree is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000, imprisonment for three to five years, or both.
Senator Connors was a sponsor of the successful 9th District Delegation-led effort that updated State law in 2003 to authorize nuclear facility security personnel to use hollow nose ammunition and semi-automatic firearms on the premises.
The Senate companion version, S-2961, was referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee upon introduction.
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