A monumental step forward was taken for the Jersey Boys State and Jersey Girls State programs tonight in the chambers of the New Jersey Assembly on this, the final day of the 216th session. Bill S489 passed by a vote of 73-0-1 in the Assembly in the evening of January 11, 2016. The bill had previously passed the Senate during the 216th session on June 12, 2014. The Bill has floated between both chambers of the legislature since 2009. The bill has roots with the American Legion Jersey Boys State program going back to 2008 when it passed both the ALJBS Senate and Assembly that June prior to being forwarded to alumni of the Jersey Boys State program in the NJ Legislature.
From the text of the Bill Summary:
"This bill permits public and independent institutions of higher education to grant up to three college credits to high school students who successfully complete the American Legion Jersey Boys State or American Legion Auxiliary Jersey Girls State program. The bill directs the Secretary of Higher Education to encourage public and independent institutions of higher education to award credit for successful completion of the programs.
The American Legion founded the Boys State program in 1935. Jersey Boys State was founded in 1946 and has been based at Rider University since 1969. Jersey Girls State was founded in 1947 and is currently based at Georgian Court College. The program goals of Boys State and Girls State are to: develop leadership and pride in American citizens; educate participants about our system of government; instill in participants a greater understanding of American traditions; and stimulate a desire to maintain our government processes."
Director David Bagatelle issued the statement below regarding the passage of this legislation. "I applaud the New Jersey Legislature for passing the Jersey Boys and Girls State College Credit Bill. This legislation recognizes the importance of educating New Jersey's youth so that each student participating in American Legion Jersey Boys State or Auxiliary Jersey Girls State program may become a citizen leader dedicated to service, respect, and Americanism. Following the Governor's signature, each student participant will be eligible to receive up to three college credits for their completion of these college-level programs."
The Bill now awaits the signature of Governor Christopher Christie to become enacted. Governor Christie, a graduate of the ALJBS program in 1979, also represented NJ as 1979 Boys Nation Senator.