Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove are calling for action on their legislative initiative to update, modernize and bring in line with existing federal law the benefits and protections afforded to military servicemembers and their dependents.
The “New Jersey Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act,” sponsored by Connors, Rumpf and Gove, would bring New Jersey law in line with federal law regarding the benefits and protections afforded to military service members and their dependents. (©iStock)
The 9th District delegation’s initiative, S-210 and A-743, entitled the “New Jersey Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act,” would replace the New Jersey Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1979 to expand the definition of those who are protected under state law by reconciling differences between State and federal law.
Senator Connors, Assemblyman Rumpf and Assemblywoman Gove issued the following statement regarding their legislation:
“In light of the complications that may occur due to the demands of their service, veterans should be afforded their legal protections pertaining to such matters as rental agreements, security deposits, prepaid rent, eviction, installment contracts, credit card interest rates and mortgage foreclosure, all of which are covered under our legislation.
“State law must be updated to conform with federal law, so there is no grey area whereby a veteran may be denied these protections. While civilians may take many of these protections for granted, it is important that the state recognize and take corrective action to address problems that veterans encounter, through no fault of their own, on such basic quality-of-life issues.
“Though we are pleased that our legislation has gained bipartisan support, we are certainly disappointed at the lack of action to move it through the legislative process. Accordingly, we are calling on the Legislative Leadership to move with all deliberate speed to advance the legislation with the intent of representing the interests of our veterans.”
Additional protections provided under the delegation’s legislation for servicemembers include:
- protections against default judgments which cannot be properly defended by reason of military service;
- relief from contracts that cannot be performed due to military service;
- a maximum six-percent rate of interest on debts incurred before military service;
- protections against liens for storage, repair, and cleaning of property and effects;
- protections regarding life insurance, professional liability insurance and health insurance; and
- reservation of land rights provided under federal law.
In March of last year, S-210 was favorably released by the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee and sent to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, which has taken no action. The identical companion measure, A-743, remains lodged in the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
Senator Connors, Assemblyman Rumpf and Assemblywoman Gove authored the landmark law enacted in 2013 that established protections for sevicemembers’ parental rights by prohibiting permanent changes in custody arrangements for deployed military personnel.
Members of the 9th District delegation serve on both the Senate and Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs committees.