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New Jersey lawmakers recalling Roman empire in beach fight

February 1, 2018

MANTOLOKING, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey lawmakers are reaching back to the Roman empire in their latest effort to guarantee public access to the shoreline.

State lawmakers have introduced a new beach access bill that writes the Public Trust Doctrine — guaranteeing public access to waterways — into law.

The doctrine is a legal concept dating to the Emperor Justinian stating that oceans, bays and rivers are for all to enjoy.

It comes in a state where some shore towns have long sought to keep outsiders off their sand through exorbitant beach badge prices, drastic restrictions on parking, and rules prohibiting food on the beach.

The bill exempts critical infrastructure like waterfront chemical or nuclear plants.

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