New Jersey's 24th Legislative District

Senator Steven Oroho

Senator Steve Oroho

Oroho Moves Hostile Amendment to Democrats’ Bill Extending Murphy’s Emergency Powers

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Democrats Block Oroho’s Effort to End Public Health Emergency in Full Immediately

Senator Steven Oroho (R-24) proposed a hostile amendment during the Senate floor debate on flawed legislation (S-3866) proposed by Democrats that would extend Governor Phil Murphy’s emergency powers until next year.

The Democrats’ bill extends pandemic-related executive orders and restrictions issued by the governor until 2022, including mask mandates for children.

Oroho moved a hostile amendment that would have amended the bill to end the public health emergency immediately and stripped Governor Murphy of the power to spend billions in federal relief funds without legislative oversight. His amendment was blocked by the Senate Democratic Majority.

Included below are Senator Oroho’s floor remarks on the bill as prepared for delivery:

This bill would end the public health emergency in name only. It’s not fooling anyone, not us, and certainly not the public.

This bill would allow Governor Murphy’s executive orders and restrictions to remain in place until next year. When infection rates are plummeting and signs of the virus are rapidly disappearing, that doesn’t make any sense.

This bill doesn’t do away with unnecessary mandates, including orders that continue to force our kids to wear masks when they face very little risk. We have thousands of parents saying it’s time to unmask our kids. In fact, 10,000 people have already signed our online petition saying just that.

If this bill passes, Governor Murphy could continue forcing our children to wear masks when the next school year starts in the fall. He recently said that’s a possibility. Well, it shouldn’t be.

Other restrictions that could continue under this bill would cause real harm to real people.

People who own rental properties, for example, would have to wait until next year to seek relief for tenants who haven’t paid rent.

It’s not just big companies that are impacted by this. It’s families and retirees who have their savings invested in a former home that they rent out for a little extra income.

They can’t afford to go two years without collecting rent, but that’s exactly what’ll happen if this bill is signed into law.

It’s funny, I don’t remember Governor Murphy issuing a property tax moratorium for them. They’re still forced to pay their tax bills every quarter with no relief.

And this bill does almost nothing to address the administration’s lack of transparency during the pandemic.

It would allow the governor to continue hiding important documents and records that could help us to understand what went wrong with New Jersey’s pandemic response.

Thousands of families still want to know why their loved ones died unnecessarily in our nursing homes and veterans homes. If this bill becomes law, the may never get the answers they deserve.

And finally, this bill perpetuates Governor Murphy’s authority to spend billions in federal relief funds without any legislative oversight whatsoever.

He misspent $2.4 billion in CARES Act funds already and failed to use the money effectively to help struggling New Jerseyans.

More than a third of our small businesses disappeared and two-million people lost their jobs while the governor sat on billions in unspent federal aid for six months.

We’re concerned that history will repeat itself.

Treasurer Muoio told us a few days ago that the administration doesn’t have a plan for spending the $6.3 billion in new federal funds that was just sent to New Jersey.

Even though they don’t have a plan, the governor could go out tomorrow and wastefully spend all of the money without any requirement that he consult us. That’s not how government should work.

We believe it should be the Legislature’s job to decide how that money is spent through an open, transparent, and public process.

For all of these reasons, Senate President, I oppose this bill in its current form.

I am proposing amendments that would end the public health emergency with no exceptions and limit the governor’s ability to spend federal relief money without legislative approval.

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