In Brief

N.J. Senate passes bill to ban discrimination based on height and weight

By: - February 12, 2024 1:16 pm

Republican critics of the discrimination bill said the state’s existing anti-discrimination law offers enough protections already. (Photo by New Jersey Monitor)

New Jersey Senate lawmakers passed a bill Monday that would ban discrimination based on height and weight, despite objections from Republicans who said the state’s existing anti-discrimination law offers enough protections already.

State law now bars landlords, employers, business owners, and others from discriminating against people based on gender, race, religion, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, and more.

That prompted Sen. Jon Bramnick (R-Union) to stand in opposition to the bill, saying the state already has “some very significant rules” against discrimination.

“This is a bridge too far that will create havoc in terms of labor law,” said Bramnick, who is seeking the GOP nomination for governor next year.

But the Senate passed the bill along party lines by a vote of 22 to 14 during the first voting session of its new legislative term, which started last month.

The bill, which was sponsored by Sens. Andrew Zwicker (D-Middlesex) and Angela McKnight (D-Hudson), includes an exemption for “occupational qualifications and safety reasons,” which means if someone’s height or weight prevents them from performing the work.

New Jersey would be the second state to bar discrimination based on height and weight, behind MichiganNew York City recently enacted similar protections.

The measure has no companion bill in the Assembly.

Other bills the Senate passed Monday would:

  • Require telemarketers to disclose their name and number on caller ID, a measure meant to increase telemarketing transparency.
  • Expand culpability for firearm dealers who sell guns to buyers who then transfer them to people disqualified by law from gun ownership.

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Dana DiFilippo
Dana DiFilippo

Dana DiFilippo comes to the New Jersey Monitor from WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station, and the Philadelphia Daily News, a paper known for exposing corruption and holding public officials accountable. Prior to that, she worked at newspapers in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and suburban Philadelphia and has freelanced for various local and national magazines, newspapers and websites. She lives in Central Jersey with her husband, a photojournalist, and their two children.

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