TRENTON, NJ — Legislation to create a special “Support Recovery” license plate to provide housing assistance to individuals in recovery has been approved by the Senate and is awaiting Gov. Phil Murphy's consideration.

Under the bill (A-268/S-469) introduced by Assemblyman Sean T. Kean (R-Monmouth/Ocean), the fees collected from New Jersey drivers with the new license plate would be allocated to sober living facilities to offset housing costs for both long-term residents in recovery.

“The ‘Support Recovery’ license plate will provide a source of funding for recovery services and serve as an outward sign of support for addiction recovery which has impacted the lives of so many New Jerseyans,” said Kean, who represents the 30th District, which includes Belmar and Lake Como.

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The measure would also help reduce homelessness as a barrier to recovery by funding needed housing, said the lawmaker, who first introduced the bill in 2017.

Donna DeStefano of Allenwood, whose daughter is in recovery from substance abuse, suggested the license plate idea to Kean. “Specialty license plates have brought in huge amounts of money to various causes, some such as the Battleship plate and the Shore to Please plate. This money will help fight this epidemic, defray some of the cost and best of all its sustainable,” said DeStefano, founder and CEO of Parents in Connection for Kids Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides substance abuse treatment resources and referrals to parents of children with alcohol and drug addictions.

“These plates will also raise awareness and help reduce the stigma of Substance Use Disorders. New Jersey has been on the forefront of fighting this epidemic. We are in a public health emergency regarding opioids. There is a real urgency to help this population and to save lives. This is another tool to do just that,” added DeStefano, who served on Governor’s Council of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.

The legislation was approved unanimously by the General Assembly on February 15. With the recent approval of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, the next step for the bill is to be considered by the full Senate for a vote.

The specially created plate would consist of an image of a compass rose with cardinal direction indicators enclosed in a circle, with the words “Support Recovery” on the bottom. The plate would initially cost $50, with a $10 annual renewal fee.

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