NEW JERSEY – Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean has introduced legislation that would allow seniors to opt-out of jury duty during the COVID-19 crisis.
“We know that risk rises with age for those who contract COVID-19, so it’s important that we amend our jury duty service requirements to protect New Jersey’s seniors during the current public health emergency,” Kean (R-21) said. “By temporarily lowering the opt-out age for jury duty from 75 to 65, we will prevent elderly New Jerseyans from being forced into situations that might put their health or even their lives at risk.”
The legislation, S-2576, would temporarily reduce the minimum age at which a person may be excused from jury duty at the person’s own request, for any reason, for a period of time associated with the Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency declared by the Governor’s Executive Order 103 of 2020 concerning the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
The opt-out age currently starts at 75 years of age. Kean’s bill would reduce it to 65 years and apply retroactively to March 9, 2020, the date the emergency was declared in the executive order. The legislation would not apply to any person 65 years of age or older who is already a member of an empaneled jury.
The provisions of the legislation would expire 30 days following the declared end to the emergency, or January 1, 2021, whichever date occurs last.
“I have no doubt that our seniors would show up for jury duty when called to serve despite the heightened risk,” Kean said. “We can’t afford to put them in that position during a global pandemic that has been devastating to many in their demographic.”