March 10, 2023
84 NJ Legislators – 70% of Legislature — Are Now Co-Sponsoring Bills to Eliminate Casino Smoking Loophole
Assemblyman Sauickie Announced His Support Mid-Hearing Yesterday, Earning a Standing Ovation from Audience That was Nearly Unanimously in Favor of the Bill
Trenton, NJ — Three more New Jersey legislators are co-sponsoring legislation to close the casino smoking loophole, bringing the number of co-sponsors to 84 – that’s 70% of all legislators in Trenton. The new co-sponsors are Assemblyman Alex Sauickie, Assemblywoman DeAnne DeFuccio, and Senator Douglas Steinhardt. Assemblyman Sauickie announced his support in the middle of the hearing yesterday that featured compelling and heartbreaking testimony from casino workers battling cancer and fearful of having to return to a smoke-filled, dangerous work environment once their leave periods end.
“In my youth, before the smoking ban, I spent four years as a bartender, and it’s the only job I’ve ever had to shower after returning home, usually at 2 or 3 in the morning, just because of all the secondhand smoke that was literally all over me at the time, so I certainly appreciate what all of you are dealing with day in and day out. And the absurdity that you’d have to leave the smoke free beach to go inside the building isn’t lost on me either,” said Assemblyman Alex Sauickie, addressing casino workers during the hearing. “I’d like to be the 58th [Assembly] cosponsor.”
Members of Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) expressed their gratitude for the growing support of the legislation. “We thank Assemblyman Sauickie, Assemblywoman DeFuccio, and Senator Steinhardt for cosponsoring this bill,” said Pete Naccarelli, co-leader of CEASE. “Every new co-sponsor brings us one step closer to closing the casino smoking loophole and ensuring that we, as casino workers, can do our jobs knowing that our health won’t be put in danger.”
“With overwhelming support for the bill in both the New Jersey Senate and Assembly, it’s clear that the time has come to protect casino workers and end indoor smoking in casinos,” said Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. “New Jersey lawmakers have heard time and again about the detrimental and life-threatening health implications of indoor smoking, and they should act quickly to pass this essential piece of legislation. It’s time to hold a vote.”
The newest co-sponsors brings the total number of cosponsors of the bill to 84 legislators. S264 in the Senate has gained 26 co-sponsors, and its identical counterpart in the Assembly, A2151, is now co-sponsored by 58 assembly members.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has repeatedly said he will sign the legislation when it reaches his desk, saying “At the end of the day, we will still get good business. Atlantic City is an American gem. We’ve got the ocean and the other competitors don’t. And this is the right thing for our respective health.”
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/.