March 15, 2022
Bill Now Has 18 Primary or Co-Sponsors in the Assembly
Atlantic City, NJ – Legislation to eliminate the casino smoking loophole continues to gain bipartisan support in Trenton as 11 more Assemblymembers have co-sponsored A2151. The additional support in the Assembly comes after five more senators co-sponsored companion legislation in the Senate last week. The six new Democrats and five new Republicans from across New Jersey who have signed onto the bill are:
- Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese (D)
- Assembly Republican Leader John DiMaio (R)
- Assemblywoman Kim Eulner (R)
- Assemblywoman Michele Matsikoudis (R)
- Assemblyman Pedro Mejia (D)
- Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (D)
- Assemblywoman Marilyn Piperno (R)
- Assemblyman Erik Simonsen (R)
- Assemblyman Sterley Stanley (D)
- Assemblyman Christopher Tully (D)
- Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake (D)
“It’s wrong to subject casino workers to harmful secondhand smoke, and we must act to end this special exemption for casinos,” said Assemblyman Sterley Stanley. “I’m co-sponsoring this bipartisan legislation to eliminate the casino smoking loophole because it’s a commonsense way to improve the health of thousands of New Jerseyans.”
“Our state’s casino industry can thrive without forcing workers to breathe secondhand smoke on the job,” said Assembly Republican Leader John DiMaio. “I’m co-sponsoring this legislation to protect the health of Atlantic City casino workers who deserve a safe work environment as they provide for their families.”
“We thank this bipartisan group of Assemblymembers who are showing that they care about our health,” said Nicole Vitola, co-leader of Casino Employees Against Smoking’s Effects (CEASE), which has organized thousands of AC casino workers since smoking returned in July 2021. “We casino workers should be treated like every other employee in New Jersey. We are done with having to choose between our health and a paycheck.”
“The same old industry scare tactics are going over like a lead balloon with legislators in Trenton, especially considering that every state legislator representing Atlantic City supports this bill,” said Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. “We applaud these legislators who are doing what’s right and also politically popular, considering the overwhelming public support for getting rid of smoking in casinos. In 2022, good luck defending a pro-indoor smoking position that threatens the health of casino workers and guests.”
A2151 “[e]liminates [the] smoking ban exemption for casinos and simulcasting facilities” and is identical to S264 in the Senate. The primary sponsors are Assemblyman William Moen (D), Health Committee Chair Herb Conaway (D), and Deputy Speaker Paul Moriarty (D). Previously announced co-sponsors are Assemblywomen Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Trenton), Shanique Speight (D-Essex) and Claire Swift (R-Atlantic City) and Assemblyman Don Guardian (R-Atlantic City). Every state legislator from Atlantic City supports the legislation.
In the Senate, 13 senators – or one-third of all New Jersey senators – are now either primary or co-sponsors of the legislation to protect casino workers’ health. The primary sponsors are Health Committee Chair Joseph Vitale (D) and Senator Shirley Turner (D). The full list of co-sponsors – consisting of nine Democrats and four Republicans – can be viewed here.
A new video, “A Loophole in NJ Law Is Killing Casino Workers,” highlights the urgency of the casino workers’ fight to close the casino loophole.
ABOUT AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS’ RIGHTS
Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for 45 years, since 1976, to protect everyone’s right to breathe nontoxic air in workplaces and public places, from offices and airplanes to restaurants, bars, and casinos. ANR has continuously shined a light on the tobacco industry’s interference with sound and life-saving public health measures and successfully protected 61% of the population with local or statewide smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar laws. ANR aims to close gaps in smokefree protections for workers in all workplaces, including bars, music venues, casinos, and hotels. For more information, please visit https://no-smoke.org/ and https://smokefreecasinos.org/.