TRENTON, N.J. – A little-known New Jersey commission that gained a lot of notoriety for its recent decision to implement a controversial Covid policy would see a shakeup under a bill that will be introduced by Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips on Thursday.
The bill increases the State Capitol Joint Management Commission’s legislative representation to eight members from four and removes voting rights from the four executive branch members.
“It is imperative that we give lawmakers who were elected to serve as the voice of their constituents a seat at the decision-making table. Any matters that concern the legislative process and people’s ability to participate fully in that process must include legislators,” DePhillips (R-Bergen) said.
The new Statehouse policy, which goes into effect Dec. 1, requires all visitors, including legislators, to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test before entering. Democrats have a majority on the commission that voted to implement the policy.
“The governor’s office does not even occupy the capitol complex, but they want to tell the legislative branch how to operate. They are completely overstepping their authority and attempting to derail democracy,” DePhillips added.
DePhillips’ bill would give Senate and Assembly minority leaders two appointments each to the commission. Additionally, executive branch members would be responsible for executive facility management and the others would oversee the legislative portions of the capitol complex.
“My bill restores a commonsense balance and ensures the appropriate separation of powers,” DePhillips said.
The commission presently consists of four members from the executive branch and four members from the legislative branch, including two members from the minority party, which is currently the Senate and Assembly Republican offices’ executive directors.