TRENTON, N.J. – State Sen. Steve Oroho and Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths assailed legislative Democrats for blocking attempts to end government by executive orders and restore legislative checks and balances.
“It is astonishing to me that the legislative process is now viewed as a burden to effective governance,” said Wirths. “There is no disagreement between the governor and the Democratic party about what needs to be done, so they will allow unilateral rule under a virtually single-party government. That is one reason why Democrats are leaving the Legislature behind on Covid-19 restrictions: it only slows down the final, inevitable decisions made by Governor Murphy.”
Republican lawmakers pushed a state Assembly floor vote Monday on requiring the governor to seek legislative approval for his executive orders after 14 days. Democrats unanimously rejected the motion and voted to table with a 47-27 vote.
A companion bill in the Senate was tabled on Oct. 29.
“Another reason is so legislative Democrats don’t have to take responsibility for the actions of the governor,” said Space. “Executive orders are decreed by one person and one person only. To disagree that the Legislature should have input on issues that affect the people who elected them for fear of having to take responsibility is spineless.”
Every 30 days since the outbreak of the coronavirus in March, Gov. Phil Murphy has declared and renewed his state of emergency order dramatically altering virtually every facet of daily life.
“The Assembly Democrats followed the same script as their partisan colleagues in the Senate and shot down our legislation to reestablish the constitutional role of elected legislators as a co-equal branch of government during times of crisis,” said Senator Oroho, sponsor of the identical bill (S-2482) in the upper house. “Our constituents elected each member of the Legislature to represent their interests in Trenton. This bill would restore that intended power and provide a check on the governor, who continues to make unilateral decisions that impact our everyday lives without input from the Legislature.
“As we approach Thanksgiving and the holiday season, and the governor announcing new restrictions with the looming threat of another shutdown, it’s critical that the Legislature play a more active role and bring a more deliberative approach when considering the impact of further restrictions on our economy and personal freedoms,” Oroho said.