ASSEMBLY, No. 3888

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 23, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  ERIC HOUGHTALING

District 11 (Monmouth)

Assemblywoman  JOANN DOWNEY

District 11 (Monmouth)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires persons to anchor beach umbrellas at public beaches; requires certain retailers to post signs regarding risks associated with use of beach umbrellas.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning beach umbrellas and supplementing Titles 13 and 56 of the Revised Statutes.

 

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

 

     1.    a.  A person shall not use a beach umbrella at a public beach unless the beach umbrella is secured to the ground using an auger, sandbag, or other anchoring device that restricts the uncontrolled movement of the beach umbrella due to wind.

     b.    A person who violates the provisions of subsection a. of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense, and $250 for the third or subsequent offense.  A local law enforcement agency of the government entity having control of the pubic beach shall have exclusive authority to enforce this section and the penalty imposed shall be collected and enforced by summary proceedings under the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).  If the violation is of a continuing nature, each day during which the violation continues shall constitute an additional, separate, and distinct offense.  The Superior Court and the municipal court shall have jurisdiction of proceedings for the enforcement of the penalty provided by this section.  Any penalty recovered under this section shall be retained by the enforcing government entity.

     c.     The government entity having control of a public beach shall install, and maintain in good order, signs at appropriate locations that notify persons of the provisions of subsections a. and b. of this section.

     d.    The provisions of this section shall supersede and preempt any county or municipal law, ordinance, resolution, or regulation concerning the anchoring of beach umbrellas at a public beach and the penalties established for failure to properly anchor a beach umbrella at a public beach.

     e.     As used in this section:

     "Beach umbrella" means a shade structure, commonly used on the beach, consisting of a single, center pole with a shade fabric affixed to a frame that can be lowered or raised along the pole.

     "Government entity having control of the public beach" means the entity having supervisory authority over a public beach or its designee or agents, as applicable.

     "Public beach" means a State, county, or municipal beach.

     2.    The Department of Environmental Protection shall create and provide to local governments at no cost notification signs to be installed and maintained pursuant to subsection c. of section 1 of P.L.    , c.    (C.          ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  The department may contract with another entity in order to implement the provisions of this section.

     3.    a.  Every retail establishment in this State that sells or offers for sale or rent beach umbrellas shall post a sign where the beach umbrellas are displayed informing consumers of the risks associated with the use of beach umbrellas.

     b.    A retail establishment that violates the provisions of subsection a. of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of $500, which may be collected and enforced by the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety in a summary proceeding pursuant to the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).  The Superior Court shall have jurisdiction of proceedings for the enforcement of the penalty provided by this section.

     c.     The Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs shall adopt rules and regulations pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) to implement the provisions of this section.

     d.    As used in this section:

     "Beach umbrella" means a shade structure, commonly used on the beach, consisting of a single, center pole with a shade fabric affixed to a frame that can be lowered or raised along the pole.

     "Retail establishment" means any place of business where merchandise is displayed or offered for sale or rent at retail to members of the consuming public.

 

     4.    This act shall take effect on the first day of the fourth month next following the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would prohibit persons from using a beach umbrella at a public beach, unless the beach umbrella is secured to the ground using an auger, sandbag, or other anchoring device that restricts the uncontrolled movement of the beach umbrella due to wind.  The bill requires the governmental entity that manages the beach to place signs that notify beachgoers of this provision.

     A person who violates this provision of the bill would be subject to a civil penalty of $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense, and $250 for the third or subsequent offense.  The bill also provides that the bill’s provisions supersede and preempt any county or municipal law, ordinance, resolution, or regulation concerning the anchoring of beach umbrellas at a public beach and the penalties for failure to properly anchor a beach umbrella at a public beach.

     This bill also requires every retail establishment in the State to post a sign where beach umbrellas are displayed for sale or rent informing consumers of the risks associated with the use of beach umbrellas.  A retail establishment that fails to post a sign would be subject to a civil penalty of $500.

     An average of about 300 people nationwide go to emergency rooms each year with injuries from beach umbrellas, according to the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission.  Some injuries are serious.  In 2016, a visitor to Virginia Beach, Virginia died after being struck by an umbrella and going into cardiac arrest.  During the summer of 2018, a British tourist was impaled through the ankle by an umbrella while on the beach in Seaside Heights, NJ.  Injuries from beach umbrellas may also cost taxpayers money.  In 1999, a woman was struck by an umbrella while on a beach in New York state.  She needed 13 stitches and suffered permanent nerve damage to her neck. New York state settled her lawsuit for $200,000 in 2006.