Travel Nursing Centers will be able to allow children as young as 14 years old to travel to school in New Jersey, according to a New York State Assembly bill that was passed Wednesday.
The bill was introduced in the New Jersey Assembly by State Assemblyman David Loeffler, D-Bergen.
Loeffley said the bill was prompted by the rise of the opioid epidemic, and he said the state would not only provide safe and legal transportation for the students but also provide services to the community.
He said he has worked with New Jersey Department of Health to develop a plan that includes transportation services and other safety measures that will allow students to attend school and continue their education, as long as they have a parent present and are under the supervision of a nurse practitioner.
Leyffler said the legislation would ensure the health and safety of the community and the health of New Jersey residents.
He added that his bill was not meant to discriminate against anyone.
“This legislation does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or any other characteristic protected by federal law or the state constitution,” Loefler said in a statement.
“No child should be denied transportation to school because of their gender identity or any health condition.
This bill does not target anyone.”
The bill has been referred to the Assembly Transportation Committee for further consideration.
The bill’s sponsors have argued that the state has no obligation to provide transportation for students and that New Jerseyans are able to travel on their own, according in the statement.
Loesler, who represents a district in Bergen County, said the decision to allow students as young in age as 14 will be based on their ability to safely return to school.
He said New Jersey has a law that makes it illegal to discriminate based on sex, age or disability.
Lines of vehicles in New Brunswick, New Jersey are being closed due to the high volume of traffic, said State Police Sgt. Paul Eller, who said the closure is expected to last until April 5.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.