Measure Would Limit Certain Emergency Orders, Rules & Regulations to 14 Days Unless Extended by the Legislature
During today’s session of the New Jersey Senate, Democrats blocked an effort by Senator Michael Testa (R-1) to force a vote on legislation that would limit the effective period of emergency executive orders to 14 days unless the Legislature approves an extension.
Testa’s motion to bring the measure (S-2482) up for a vote by the Senate was immediately tabled by Senate Democrats.
Included below are Testa’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Since March, Governor Murphy has made monumental decisions – without legislative input — that have impacted the lives and livelihoods of every New Jerseyan.
“For example, he issued an executive order that directed the nearly nine million people of New Jersey to stay home.
“He issued other orders that closed open spaces, including parks, and he closed or placed severe restrictions on virtually every business and workplace in New Jersey through orders which – to some extent – continue to this day.
“Many businesses have not survived the economic impact of his orders, and more are sure to go under, including many of our beloved local restaurants.
“According to the New Jersey Department of Labor, more than 1.65 million New Jerseyans have filed unemployment claims since mid-March.
“Most of those unemployment claims can be directly tied to the impact of the executive orders issued by Governor Phil Murphy.
“Sadly, this Legislature has done absolutely nothing to push back against Governor Murphy’s extreme executive orders and to reassert our authority as a co-equal branch of government.
“In the early days of the pandemic – when a quick response seemed prudent and the Legislature hadn’t implemented a strategy to work remotely or meet together safely, as we are today – it made some sense.
“Today, however, the urgency of March is no longer present. We have a better understanding of the scope and rules of this crisis, and we have the ability as a Legislature to be part of the governing process, as our New Jersey Constitution requires.
“Ceding our authority – our sacred obligation – to the governor is wrong and it’s a disservice to the millions of New Jerseyans who elected us to represent them.
“The Legislature has been back in business for months. Our committees are operating again. We’re here in Trenton. The Senate is meeting. It’s time to get back in the game.
“We have a bill that we can vote on today that wouldn’t stop the Governor from issuing executive orders in an emergent situation like we were in this past March, but it would require the Governor to consult with and gain the approval of the Legislature if he wants to extend those orders for longer than two weeks.
“It requires the governor to share information with the Legislature and to build consensus for important policies that impact our constituents.
“There’s no reason any legislator of either party should oppose this.”
Testa and Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) are the primary sponsors of the legislation, which is co-sponsored by every member of the Senate Republican caucus.
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