NEW JERSEY (PIX11) — Paper coupons could be a requirement in New Jersey under a bill being proposed by a state Assembly member. 

Many stores have pivoted to digital coupons in recent years. Advocacy groups, such as Consumer World, have called for other options. Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, head of the Assembly Consumer Affairs committee and sponsor of the bill, agreed.

“I think there’s an unfairness in the marketplace if companies are offering discounts to people who have computers and Wi-Fi and smartphones, but aren’t offering them to people who might be marginalized and do not have those same resources,” he said. 

Moriarty plans to introduce his bill Thursday. He said there could also be room for stores to offer discounts at checkout if customers ask for it. 

“My focus is on getting discounts to people who need those discounts the most,” Moriarty said.

About a quarter of adults with household incomes below $30,000 a year don’t own a smartphone, Pew Research published in 2021 found. Around 40% of adults with incomes in that range also don’t have a desktop or laptop. The digital divide also impacts certain age groups. Around 39% of adults 65 and older don’t own smartphones, Pew found. 

“It is unfair that large segments of the population cannot avail themselves of publicly advertised prices when there are ways for stores to easily make these offers available to the digitally-disconnected,” Consumer World founder and editor Edgar Dqorsky wrote in a November open letter to supermarket industry leaders.