SPARTA, N.J. – In response to a recommendation that NJ Transit be exempt from the current residency law so it can hire trained engineers from out of state, Assemblyman Hal Wirths said the Legislature should pass a bill he sponsors calling for a full repeal of the law.

“New Jersey Transit is in crisis, but what happens when another state agency faces a crisis?” said Wirths (R-Sussex). “People should be free to choose where they want to live and work. Repealing the residency requirement will allow New Jersey to hire the brightest and most qualified personnel. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If an exemption is good for NJ Transit then it should be good for everyone else.”

Wirths sponsors A3580 repealing the state residency requirement law enacted in 2011.

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“When I was commissioner of Labor, I saw firsthand at the heartbreak and pain this law caused,” Wirths said.  “Since the hearings were on my floor, I would constantly see people come out in tears.  Public employees would talk about needing to take care of loved ones in Pennsylvania or New York or that they’re spouses would be getting a job in neighboring states as police officers or fire fighters; and they would plead for waivers in order to move there.”

NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett called for the exemption at today’s joint legislative Transportation hearing regarding repeated train cancellations and delays that have plagued commuters during the past few weeks.