Senate President Stephen Sweeney
Deputy Speaker John Burzichelli
Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro

Press of Atlantic City – Legislators are pressing forward with several bills in Trenton that focus on maternal and infant health, terminally ill patients and transgender residents.

A bill that would make special exceptions for couples looking to get married when one partner is terminally ill passed in the state Assembly on Thursday. The legislation is named Linnette Lebron’s Law after a Camden woman.

Lebron’s fiance, Omar Estevez, had to leave her bedside while she battled Stage 4 stomach cancer and spend time traveling between the hospital, city hall and the courts to seek a waiver to the required three-day waiting period for a marriage license. They were able to marry one day before she died.

“There are many couples like Linnette and Omar throughout New Jersey who have been forced to jump through hoops during one of the most trying times in their life to fulfill their wish to be married,” Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro, D-Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem, said in a statement.

The proposed law would eliminate that waiting period for marriages involving a terminally ill patient who is hospitalized and has less than one year to live. The bill goes to the Senate for consideration.

New legislation passed through the Assembly on Thursday that would make it easier for residents undergoing gender reassignment to get an amended birth certificate with their preferred gender and name.

Current law stipulates these residents have to get sex-reassignment surgery first in order to get an amended birth certificate. The proposed bill would no longer require a transgender person to have surgery.

Instead, residents could submit a form completed by their health provider that indicates they have gone through “clinically appropriate treatment” for gender transition.

“For many reasons, oftentimes financial, not everyone undergoes surgical procedures when they are transitioning,” Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti, D-Hudson, said in a statement. “This bill will recognize an individual as the gender they identify with, regardless of whether they’ve completed expensive surgeries.”

Legislation designating May as Preeclampsia Awareness Month got full support in an Assembly vote Thursday. Bill sponsors said they hope increased awareness will lead to more lives saved.

Preeclampsia is a life-threatening disorder related to high blood pressure in pregnant and postpartum women. It affects about 5 to 8 percent of pregnancies in the United States, according to national data, and can lead to death of the mother and/or baby.

“Awareness is vital,” Carol Murphy, D-Burlington, said in a statement. “If we can make people more aware of the existence and severity of this disorder, more people will reach out for medical help, and we can make further strides in understanding what causes and how to effectively treat the condition.”