Majority Leader Greenwald Discusses 25% Property Tax Relief for Seniors with NJ AARP
NJ lawmakers try again to end wait period for marriages
Burlington County Times
June 13, 2012
By David Levinsky
TRENTON — New Jersey legislators are trying again to abolish the state’s 72-hour waiting period for marriage or civil union licenses.
A bill to eliminate the waiting period was approved by both the Senate and Assembly in January during the Legislature’s lame-duck session, but it was one of 40 approved measures that Gov. Chris Christie pocket-vetoed.
The bill’s sponsors decided to reintroduce the measure this session, and it was approved a second time by the full Assembly last month by a 44-33 vote, sending it to the Senate for consideration.
The sponsors say the bill will help the state’s economy by making it easier for couples to wed at destinations in the Garden State.
“By gaining a competitive edge over our neighboring states, we will create jobs and jump-start the small businesses that make New Jersey’s wedding and tourism industry,” said Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, D-6th of Voorhees, after the Assembly approved the measure May 24.
Connecticut and Rhode Island are the only states in the Northeast without a waiting period. Pennsylvania has a 72-hour waiting period, and New York and Delaware require couples to wait 24 hours before obtaining a license.
The legislation also calls for the license fee to increase from $28 to $60, and allows automatic annulments if either party asks for one within 30 days of a marriage or civil union ceremony.
Currently, $3 of the $28 fee is kept by the town that issues the license, and $25 is forwarded to a state Department of Children and Families trust fund for programs aiding the victims of domestic violence.
If the legislation becomes law, towns issuing licenses would keep $13 of the fee and $35 would go to the victims’ trust fund. The remaining $12 would go to the state’s general fund.
The Office of Legislative Services has estimated that the increase in the license fee would generate an additional $1.6 million in revenue for the state and its municipalities.
The increase also would bring New Jersey’s fee in line with neighboring states or other competitors in the wedding destination market.
For example, in Pennsylvania, where marriage license fees are set by the counties that issue them, the fee is $60 in Bucks County and $80 in Philadelphia. In Nevada, the fee is $60; in New York, it is $35 in New York City and $40 outside the city.