PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — As the country for the first time commemorates Juneteenth as a federal holiday, it is also for the first time a state holiday in New Jersey.

The Garden State is marking the occasion with a new law that prevents housing discrimination.

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Friday, at the Calvary Baptist Church in Paterson, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the Fair Chance in Housing Act into law.

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The legislation bans landlords from asking about criminal history on housing applications. The governor says it’s a step in the right direction to address racial wealth disparity.

“I am proud to sign into law a measure to further level what has been for too long an unlevel playing field when it comes to access to housing,” Murphy said. “This is nothing less than a game changer.”

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In some cases, federal law will still allow landlords to ask about certain convictions.

CBSNewYork Team