TRENTON – The Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Monday released bill S2991, which would enable county clerks to create identification cards for military veterans living in those counties.
The cards could help veterans who do not hold an identification card from the federal government that identifies that person as a veteran.
One county clerk, Ed McGettigan, of Atlantic County, who has had a veteran ID card program in place since January, expressed support for the bill.
He said the cards have provided a “tremendous” service to the estimated 3,000 veterans that live in his county because they can get discounts ranging between 5 percent and 15 percent at various department stores, like Lowe’s and Boscov’s.
Other types of businesses that also accept discounts include restaurants, bakeries, and medical services.
McGettigan said he and others promoted the identification card program to some 40 businesses.
He made a recommendation to implement the veterans identification card statewide, instead of letting county clerks themselves establish a program, as the bill currently states.
Still, he doubts any official would not adhere to the program.
“We’d love to see this take on a larger-scale basis,” he said. “I don’t see any reason why a county wouldn’t do it.”
The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Jim Whelan, praised the release of the bill.
“This is a matter of convenience to New Jersey veterans and will allow them to more easily access the programs that are meant as a ‘thank you’ for their service and sacrifice,” Whelan said in a statement. “By creating a government-issued ‘proof of service’ ID card, we’re taking some of the guesswork out of veterans’ discounts and other privileges reserved for our men and women in uniform, and making sure these discounts are reserved only for legitimate veterans.”