Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano (all R-10) called Governor Murphy’s renewal of his public health emergency powers, which were set to expire on January 11, a blatant disregard for the legislative process.
District 10 lawmakers called Governor Murphy’s renewal of his public health emergency powers, which were set to expire on January 11, a blatant disregard for the legislative process. (©iStock)
“One individual should not be able to have such a far-reaching impact on our state for so long without the input of the entire Legislature,” said Senator Holzapfel. “The New Jersey Legislature, as envisioned in our State Constitution, should be playing a more direct role in determining the state’s pandemic response. As elected officials, our objective is to provide for the public’s general welfare—and the Legislature should be having more of a say on issues that affect our constituents’ lives. The Governor’s unilateral reign is antithetical to that purpose.”
Governor Murphy’s executive powers, which were provided by legislation passed in June 2020, were set to expire on January 11, 2021 unless an extension was granted by the Legislature. On Monday, January 10, during the last Senate and Assembly session before reorganization, the Legislature chose to not extend those powers. Shortly thereafter, the Governor reinstated the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency to retain his executive powers.
The District 10 legislators have sponsored, and repeatedly introduced, legislation designed to curb the Governor’s executive powers as they relate to public health.
Their bill, S-2482/A-4147, which would require the Governor’s executive orders to expire in 14 days unless extended by the Legislature, has not advanced since its introduction in the Senate and Assembly in May 2020—despite multiple attempts by Republican lawmakers to move the bill forward. Motions to force a vote on the bill have been repeatedly blocked by the Democrat majority.
“Murphy’s renewal of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency yesterday is a significant blow to those who want to get back to normal,” added Assemblyman McGuckin. “For far too long, New Jersey has been subject to the Governor’s dictatorial-style orders that blatantly ignore the entire legislative process. It’s time to rein in the Governor and restore power to the elected representatives in the Senate and Assembly, as intended by our constitution.”
The District 10 lawmakers also sponsored a constitutional amendment, SCR-117/ACR-181, which would place strict limits on the Governor’s ability to issue unilateral emergency mandates to 14 days unless the Legislature approved an extension. Similar to S-2482 and A-4147, the constitutional amendment was repeatedly blocked by Democrats in both the Senate and the Assembly.
“The Legislature needs to do its job and finally vote on the bills that we have been sponsoring for more than a year,” said Assemblyman Catalano. “We were all elected by the people of New Jersey to represent them in Trenton and we cannot allow the Governor to continue with his emperor-like rule without consenting with legislators. With reorganization behind us, now is the perfect moment to re-establish the Legislature as a true, coequal branch of government.”
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