TRENTON – Legislation aimed at invigorating the state’s wedding market was released Thursday by an Assembly committee.
The bill (A-4366) would eliminate the current 72-hour waiting period and streamline residency requirements to try to give New Jersey’s tourism and hospitality industry a competitive advantage over states across the region.
“This bill makes planning a wedding at one of the many wonderful destination wedding facilities in our state more practical,” said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Union), one of the sponsors of the bill. “New Jersey will be able to offer a new benefit that the competition does not, which will help stimulate local economies and create jobs.”
The bill would eliminate the current mandatory 72-hour waiting period for issuance of a marriage or civil union license after an application is made, giving New Jersey a competitive edge over neighboring states. The current waiting period, established in 1934, makes it cumbersome for out of state residents to plan weddings at New Jersey’s many tourism destinations, depriving local economies of needed tourism dollars.
In addition, A-4366 streamlines residency requirements for New Jerseyans applying for marriage and civil union licenses. Under current law, residents must apply for a marriage or civil union license in the municipality where either applicant resides, making it less convenient for residents to wed at one of the state’s over 50 destination wedding facilities and other premier accommodations. A-4366 allows residents to apply for licenses in the municipality where the wedding ceremony is to be performed as well.
By eliminating the waiting period, A-4366 also makes New Jersey more competitive with neighboring states, including Pennsylvania (72 hour waiting period), New York (24 hours), Delaware (24 hours), and Maryland (48 hours). Under A-4366, New Jersey would join Connecticut and Rhode Island as the only states in the Northeast with no waiting period. 27 other states do not require a minimum waiting period for issuing a marriage or civil union license.
The bill was released 7-4 by the Assembly Budget Committee. It now heads to the Assembly Speaker who decides if and when to post it for a floor vote.
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