Senate panel moves first responder surviving spouses bill

TRENTON – Surviving spouses of certain first responders who die in the line of duty will be eligible for worker compensation benefits regardless of whether they remarry, according to proposed legislation that cleared a Senate panel.

The bill, S1469, would permit surviving spouses to remarry and still collect worker compensation benefits they are currently entitled to following the death of their spouse.

The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee released the bill after hearing testimony from a surviving spouse and following little debate.

Surviving spouse worker compensation benefits apply to members of the New Jersey State Police, state municipal police and fire departments.

Advocates of the bill argue they should be eligible to remarry years after a spouse has died in the line of duty. Currently, surviving spouses receive a lump sum upon any remarriage which occurs during the first 450 weeks of benefits.

Under the proposal, a surviving spouse will continue to receive weekly compensation benefits as long as the surviving spouse lives, even after marriage and even if the remarriage occurs after the first 450 weeks of benefits, according to the bill.

Marriage

The Senate panel held a bill that would make it easier to annul a marriage soon after the ceremony.

The legislation, S2106 and A1335, would authorize annulments of marriages and civil unions without cause when either party requests an annulment within 30 days of the date of the ceremony.

The bill would also change the requirements concerning locations in which marriage and civil union licenses may be properly issued, abolish the waiting period for obtaining such licenses, and increase the license application fee from $28 to $60, according to the bill.

The wait time of at least 72 hours between applying for a marriage or civil union license and the issuance of that license would be abolished by the bill.

Bleeding Disorders Treatment Fund

Senate lawmakers released legislation that would establish a Bleeding Disorders Treatment Fund in the state.

The bill, S2132, would establish the fund that would be used to fund the operating expenses of hemophilia treatment centers and to support the purchase of insurance policies and patient-related services provided by the Hemophilia Association of New Jersey.

The proposal would require manufacturers and home care companies to enter into agreements with the Department of Health and Senior Services to pay a 6 percent rebate for each unit of clotting factor that they sell for use by patients with bleeding disorders in the state, according to the bill.

Senate panel moves first responder surviving spouses bill