March 22, 2022
Bill Now Has 22 Co-Sponsors in the Assembly, 13 in the Senate
Half of Assembly Health Committee Members Are Now Sponsors
Atlantic City, NJ – Four more members of the New Jersey Assembly have signed onto legislation, A2151, to eliminate the casino smoking loophole. The new co-sponsors are:
- Assemblywoman Nancy Muñoz (R), deputy Republican leader;
- Assemblywoman Ellen Park (D);
- Assemblywoman Victoria Flynn (R); and
- Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger (R)
“The health of all New Jerseyans should be our priority, which is why I’m co-sponsoring A2151 to protect the health of Atlantic City casino workers,” said Assemblywoman Muñoz. “Through this overdue legislation, we can ensure that all workers in our state have the same protections from dangerous secondhand smoke.”
“Casino workers have been waiting 16 years for the same rights and protections that every other worker has in our state: the right to work in a safe, smoke-free environment,” said Assemblywoman Ellen Park (D). “I’m proud to co-sponsor A2151 because I believe in the revitalization of Atlantic City and if the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that health comes first – without healthy workers, you can’t have a thriving industry.”
“Let’s be honest, secondhand smoke is disgusting and dangerous and it’s about time we ensure every New Jersey employee is protected from it in the workplace,” said Assemblywoman Victoria Flynn (R). “I’m co-sponsoring A2151 to help safeguard the health of casino workers and to support my Assembly colleagues who explained to me how much their constituents want this legislation.”
A surge in support from legislators this month has grown co-sponsorship to an unusually high number, a sign of bipartisan momentum to advance the bill during this session.
“With every new legislator who joins our fight, we get one step closer to ending the smoking in casinos that forces us to choose between our health and a paycheck,” 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. “Our fight for our health is resonating with legislators across New Jersey and regardless of party. This is just plain common sense. It’s past time for us to be treated like every other employee in New Jersey.”
“Health and common sense are winning out over scare tactics,” said Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. “New Jerseyans overwhelmingly support getting rid of indoor smoking at casinos. It’s time to get this done.”
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). Every state legislator from Atlantic City supports the legislation. View the full list of co-sponsors here.
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/.