TRENTON, N.J. – Republican lawmakers in the Assembly and state Senate Thursday again pushed to move forward legislation putting a 14-day cap on any rule Gov. Phil Murphy issues, citing the Civil Defense and Disaster Control Act, unless it receives legislative approval.
Murphy declared both a state of emergency and a public-health emergency on March 9, 2020 as Covid-19 began to spread in New Jersey. The public health emergency allows him to take even broader action under the state’s Emergency Health Powers Act. It expires every 30 days, which Murphy has extended 13 times to keep current restrictions in place.
Assemblyman Brian Bergen, who sponsors A-4147 in the Assembly, moved for his bill to be relieved from the Assembly State and Local Government Committee to be debated on the floor of the Assembly at its next session. Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick previously pushed for Assembly votes on the bill on Nov. 16 and June 18, which were unanimously rejected by Democrats then and today.
Bergen said lawmakers, as a coequal branch of government, should have a say in Murphy’s decisions on coronavirus-related directives.
“This is not what the American people think happens,” Bergen told lawmakers. “They think we bring bills up. We discuss them. We debate them. And we make them the best they could possibly be and then we vote on them. And they are either made into law or not. What they don’t know is sometimes bills like this never get the opportunity to be heard.”
Watch: Bergen puts Democrats on notice to do their job
Sen. Steve Oroho also motioned today to relieve a constitutional amendment echoing the language of Bergen’s bill. Legislative review was also rejected by Senate Democrats.