ASSEMBLY, No. 2162

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 16, 2014

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE

District 37 (Bergen)

Assemblyman  TIMOTHY J. EUSTACE

District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblywoman  CAROLINE CASAGRANDE

District 11 (Monmouth)

Assemblywoman  NANCY J. PINKIN

District 18 (Middlesex)

Assemblyman  PAUL D. MORIARTY

District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywomen Mosquera, Lampitt, Riley and Assemblyman McKeon

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Exempts nursing mothers from jury duty.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning exemption from jury service and amending N.J.S.2B:20-10.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  N.J.S.2B:20-10 is amended to read as follows:

     2B:20-10.  Grounds for excuse from jury service. 

     An excuse from jury service shall be granted only if:

     a.  The prospective juror is 75 years of age or older;

     b. The prospective juror has served as a juror within the last three years in the county to which the juror is being summoned; 

     c.  Jury service will impose a severe hardship due to circumstances which are not likely to change within the following year.  Severe hardship includes the following circumstances: 

     (1)   The prospective juror has a medical inability to serve which is verified by a licensed physician. 

     (2)   The prospective juror will suffer a severe financial hardship which will compromise the juror's ability to support himself, herself, or dependents.  In determining whether to excuse the prospective juror, the Assignment Judge shall consider: 

     (a)    the sources of the prospective juror's household income; and

     (b)    the availability and extent of income reimbursement; and

     (c)    the expected length of service.

     (3)  The prospective juror has a personal obligation to care for another, including :

     (a) a sick, aged or infirm dependent or a minor child, who requires the prospective juror's personal care and attention, and no alternative care is available without severe financial hardship on the prospective juror or the person requiring care; or

     (b) a child who is one year of age or younger where the  prospective juror is the child’s mother and is nursing or expressing milk for the child.

     (4)   The prospective juror provides highly specialized technical health care services for which replacement cannot reasonably be obtained. 

     (5)   The prospective juror is a health care worker directly involved in the care of a mentally or physically handicapped person, and the prospective juror's continued presence is essential to the regular and personal treatment of that person. 

     (6)   The prospective juror is a member of the full-time instructional staff of a grammar school or high school, the scheduled jury service is during the school term, and a replacement cannot reasonably be obtained.  In determining whether to excuse the prospective juror or grant a deferral of service, the Assignment Judge shall consider: 

     (a)   the impact on the school considering the number and function of teachers called for jury service during the current academic year; and 

     (b)   the special role of certified special education teachers in providing continuity of instruction to handicapped students; 

     d.    The prospective juror is a member of a volunteer fire department or fire patrol; or 

     e.    The prospective juror is a volunteer member of a first aid or rescue squad. 

(cf: N.J.S.2B:20-10)

 

     2.  This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to jurors impaneled on or after the effective date.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill exempts nursing mothers from jury duty.  Under current law, nursing mothers are not explicitly exempted from jury duty, which can present a hardship to mothers who are nursing or expressing milk for their babies. 

     Currently, exemptions from jury duty are statutorily authorized for persons: 75 years of age or older; who have served on a jury within the previous three years; or who will suffer severe hardship due to circumstances that are unlikely to change within a year (e.g. medical conditions, care of another or financial hardship).  Members of volunteer fire departments and first aid or rescue squads and, under certain circumstances, teachers are exempted.

     Medical professionals state breastfeeding provides health benefits to infants.  Breastfeeding has been associated with reduced risk of respiratory infections, gastrointestinal tract infections, sudden infant death syndrome, allergic disease, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, diabetes, childhood leukemia and lymphoma, and neurodevelopmental disorders.  Breastfeeding has also been associated with health benefits to mothers such as reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

     In 2011, the United States Surgeon General issued a “Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding.” The State of New Jersey Department of Health has recognized the benefits associated with breastfeeding and has issued proposed guidelines for New Jersey hospitals which are designed to encourage more mothers to breastfeed in order to improve health outcomes of both mothers and infants. 

     It is the view of the sponsor that nursing mothers should be supported in their efforts to breastfeed their babies.  This bill provides assistance to mothers who are nursing or expressing milk by enabling them to claim an exemption from jury duty during the first year of their child’s life.