New Jersey is the first state in the union to require most of its hoteliers to equip their employees with mobile, wireless, on-person panic alarm buttons after Governor Phil Murphy signed the then-proposed bill into law today, Tuesday, June 10, 2019.
The change does not have to be reviewed by any higher authoritative bodies akin to the rash of other state-level bills that several states’ governors have passed into being. Those that are likely to be reviewed – namely the abortion-related bills that were signed in Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, and Ohio, to name a few – by the U.S. Supreme Court are only likely going to be reviewed because they don’t rule in concordance with the federal, country-wide precedents set by the panel’s ruling on Roe v. Wade, supporting women’s choice to abort fetuses as part of their personal liberty.
All hotels in the state that have at least 100 rooms – in other words, those with 99 or fewer rooms don’t have to adhere to the regulation – are required to distribute the panic buttons to their employees.
This law came from a bill that was inspired by an attack on a 50-plus-year-old hotel employee at Bally’s, a popular casino and hotel in New Jersey, that took place last year. The housekeeper was assaulted sexually by the perpetrator, who has since been charged and incarcerated, after being forcefully taken into a secluded room in the Atlantic City hotel.
Although not all hotel employees forced into similar situations in the future will undoubtedly, assuredly be able to successfully utilize their own panic buttons, the majority of them will be able to press the button in time to send off a request for help. Through the panic buttons, which aren’t legally required to be worn by hotel employees in the Garden State, more violent and potentially sexual perpetrators will be caught and incarcerated and – hopefully – reformed.
Recent legislative proceedings among the state-level congressional bodies of Florida, Illinois, and Washington indicate that proposals similar to the regulation signed into law in New Jersey earlier today are on the table in each of them.
Hilton, Marriott, and a select few other major hotel chains across the United States have keyed in on developments in New Jersey, hoping to have implemented them company-wide without having any more state governments regulate their domestic operations.