Assemblyman RONALD S. DANCER
District 12 (Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean)
Assemblywoman ANNETTE QUIJANO
District 20 (Union)
Requires Secretary of State to promulgate rules and regulations governing use of official seal of local unit.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning the use of the official seal of a local unit and supplementing Title 52 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. As used in this section:
“Local unit” means a municipality, county, fire district, school district, or solid waste collection district.
b. The Secretary of State shall, pursuant to the provisions of the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), adopt rules and regulations governing the usage of the seal of any or local unit to prevent inappropriate or misleading use of the seal and to assure a high quality reproduction thereof. The rules and regulations shall require that:
(1) The clerk of a board of chosen freeholders, municipal clerk, secretary of a board of education, secretary of a board of fire commissioners, or other duly authorized official is authorized to give written consent to the use of reproductions of the respective seal in the preparation of commemorative items and for historical, civic, and educational purposes. An application for consent shall be accompanied by such information and specifications as the local unit shall deem necessary in order to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations.
(2) Each application for consent to use the seal of a local unit shall be accompanied by a filing fee of $10.00 and shall be valid for not longer than one year from the date of its issuance.
(3) Any person not authorized to use, exhibit, or display the seal of a local unit and who does so with intent to convey the false impression of having local unit sponsorship or approval shall be liable to a penalty of $50 for each violation. Such penalty shall be collected and enforced in a summary proceeding in accordance with the provisions of the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999,” P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).
2. This act shall take effect immediately
This legislation directs the Secretary of State to promulgate rules and regulations governing the use of the seal of a local unit. The bill defines a local unit as a municipality, county, fire district, or school district, or solid waste collection district. The rules and regulations would authorize the clerk of a county board of chosen freeholders, municipal clerk, secretary of a board of education, secretary of a board of fire commissioners, or other duly authorized official to give their written consent the use of reproductions of the seal of the local unit in the preparation of commemorative items and for historic, civic, and educational purposes. The bill establishes a filing fee of $10 per application and each application is valid for a maximum of one year from the date of its issuance. Any person who violates the provisions of the bill or the rules and regulations promulgated by the Secretary of the State is liable to a penalty of $50.00 for each violation. It is the sponsor’s view a local unit should provided with the authority to regulate the use of its official seal in order to prevent its incorrect or improper use.
In the matter of Renna v. County of Union. 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74112 (D.N.J. May 29, 2014), the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey ruled that Union County cannot register its county seal as a trademark under the provisions of the “Trademark Act of 1946,” (15 U.S.C. s.1051 et seq.) in order to prevent the display of a graphic of its county seal on a public access television show that focuses on the governance of and political activities within Union County. The court found that federal law specifically prohibits the flag, coat of arms, or insignia of any municipality from enrollment on the principal register of trademarks and service marks. N.J.S.A.56:3-13.2 also, in part, prohibits the registration, with the Secretary of State, of the flag, coat of arms, or insignia of any municipality as a trademark or service mark.