Gloucester Township Council on Wednesday passed a resolution calling on the New Jersey Legislature to override Gov. Chris Christie's Oct. 5 veto of the so-called "911 Good Samaritan" bill.
The township's governing body became the fourth in the state to support Drug Policy Alliance's push for the override by doing so, joining fellow Camden County towns Audubon and Magnolia, as well as Red Bank in North Jersey.
The 911 Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act would provide limited immunity to those who call 911 upon witnessing a drug overdose.
Christie has indicated he was not comfortable signing into law a bill he feels could result in immunity for drug dealers.
Blackwood resident Patty DiRenzo, whose son, Salvatore Marchese, died of a heroin overdose at the age of 26 in September 2010, is an advocate for the 911 Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act.
Supporters say the law, which has already been approved in 10 states, would help save thousands of lives.
“I’m thrilled that a growing number of New Jersey towns are taking the initiative to stand up and fight for a policy that will literally save thousands of lives," DiRenzo said in a statement released by Drug Policy Alliance on Thursday. "I was devastated to learn of the governor’s veto but these resolutions are an encouraging sign that the fight is not over.
"I will do whatever I need to do in Sal’s memory to save lives. The Legislature must stand up and do the right thing.”
DiRenzo met with the all-Democrat Township Council at its Nov. 5 workshop to discuss Drug Policy Alliance's override support resolution, which she also presented to Magnolia Council for its consideration. She told Council the "911 Good Samaritan" bill was specific to not provide immunity to drug suppliers.
"The bill does not give immunity to somebody for distribution. It's for possession. Minor possession," she told Council, adding she was the "last person" who'd support a law that would give drug dealers immunity.
The resolution was approved as part of Council's consent agenda Wednesday night. Township Clerk Rosemary DiJosie indicated Thursday she had sent copies of the measure to Christie's office and 4th Legislative District officials.