8 of 12 Assembly Health Committee Members Are Co-Sponsoring Bill to Protect Health of AC Casino Workers
Casino Workers to Hold Rally in Atlantic City Next Week Marking 16th Anniversary of Loophole
April 7, 2022
Atlantic City, NJ – Ahead of a rally on Tuesday in Atlantic City marking the 16th anniversary of the casino smoking loophole, four more members of the New Jersey General Assembly today announced they have added their names as co-sponsors of bipartisan legislation to eliminate the casino smoking loophole and protect the health of casino workers. As a result, two-thirds of New Jersey Assembly Health Committee members are now co-sponsors, while a majority of Senate Health Committee members are also co-sponsors. The new co-sponsors are:
- Assemblyman John Catalano (R)
- Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer (D), Health Committee member
- Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera (D)
- Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D)
“As a member of the Assembly Health Committee, I’m committed to supporting legislation that protects the health of New Jersey workers,” said Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer. “Casino workers are no exception – they deserve to have safe and healthy work environments. I’m proud to sponsor A2151.”
“I represent casino workers who every day are forced to make the difficult choice of putting their health at risk in order to provide for their families,” said Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera. “My colleagues and I are co-sponsoring A2151 because we know that secondhand smoke is dangerous and that the casinos can still thrive while also protecting their workers.”
“No employer should be allowed to knowingly subject their workers to a carcinogen,” said Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly. “I’m co-sponsoring A2151 to protect casino workers from the harmful effects of what has been documented to those who breathe in secondhand smoke. The time is now to get this done.”
A total of 43 legislators are now co-sponsoring this bipartisan legislation. Of 40 New Jersey senators, 15 are co-sponsors of S264. Of 80 New Jersey members of the General Assembly, 28 are co-sponsors of A2151. These numbers do not include state legislators who are not co-sponsors but would vote for either bill when brought up in their full respective chambers. Governor Murphy has repeatedly said he’d sign this legislation.
On Tuesday, casino workers, state legislators who represent Atlantic City and supporters will gather at 10:00am at McClinton Waterfront Park in Atlantic City to continue to draw attention to this life-or-death issue and push for further action in Trenton. (Email email@example.com to RSVP.)
“When we gather next week, we will both highlight the unprecedented support for protecting our lives — and urge legislators to get this bill across the finish line,” said Lamont White, co-leader of Casino Employees Against Smoking’s Effects (CEASE), which has organized thousands of AC casino workers since smoking returned in July 2021. “Across parties and among South Jersey legislators, we have strong support. It’s time to post the bill in the Health Committees, where we already know it will pass with flying colors.”
“Every week, more legislators are signing on and speaking up for casinos workers, who deserve the same protection from deadly secondhand smoke as every other New Jersey worker,” said Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. “It’s time to take the next step and hold hearings on this legislation in both the Senate and Assembly Health Committees.”
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). View the full list of 28 co-sponsors here, which includes 17 Democrats and 11 Republicans.
In the Senate, the primary sponsors of S264 are Health Committee Chair Joseph Vitale (D) and Senator Shirley Turner (D). The full list of 15 co-sponsors – consisting of 11 Democrats and four Republicans – can be viewed here.
The Smoke Free Air Act took effect on April 15, 2006 and prohibited smoking in almost every workplace and place open to the public – except casinos. The New Jersey Department of Health says, “New Jersey’s Smoke-Free Air Act of 2006 ensures that workers have a safe, smoke-free workplace and that all nonsmokers — including children and senior citizens — can breathe smoke-free air in public places. Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard that can lead to illness and premature death in children and non-smoking adults, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. As New Jersey’s Smoke-Free Air Act states, it is clearly in the public interest to prohibit smoking in enclosed indoor spaces.”
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/.