Gopal Bill Clarifies Provision of Free Beach Badges to Veterans

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - In response to recent events in Belmar where non-disabled veterans were accidentally required to pay to access public beaches, Senators Vin Gopal and Robert Singer are working to introduce a bipartisan resolution to clarify the existing State statute that allows municipalities to provide free beach badges to military veterans.

“I was surprised to hear that officials in Belmar had interpreted current law to mean that non-disabled veterans aren’t allowed to receive complimentary beach badges when other Shore towns like Long Branch, Sea Bright, and Ocean City have been doing that for years,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch). “Our veterans and active servicemembers have done so much in service to this country, and we should make sure that our hardworking local elected officials are fully aware of the small ways in which we can honor that dedication.”

Under current law, a New Jersey municipality can choose to allow certain veterans to obtain beach passes for free or at a reduced price. To qualify, a veteran must have served at least 90 days in active duty or been discharged or released from active duty due to a service-caused injury or disability. This resolution would affirm the law’s original intent that veterans can qualify for free beach access if they meet either the 90-day or injury/disability requirements, rather than needing to meet both.

“When they signed up to defend our nation, many of our veterans and service members did so with the knowledge that they might not come home after serving - and have nevertheless faithfully fought to protect our ideals at home and abroad without fear or hesitation,” said Singer (R-Lakewood). “Providing free access to the Jersey Shore for veterans is another small opportunity for us to welcome them home and recognize their devoted service.”