Lawmakers delay consideration of bill to end New Jersey public health emergency
AAssembly Speaker Craig Coughlin D-Middlesex postponed action on a bill to end the New Jersey public health emergency shortly before lawmakers consider it.
Republicans lambasted Bill A-5777, saying it ended the public health emergency in place since March 2020 in name only. The plenary assembly was set to consider the measure on Thursday.
âAfter speaking with fellow legislators, lawyers and other interested parties, I have decided to postpone today’s vote on A-5777 in order to refine it so that it is the project of fairest and most responsible law possible, âCoughlin said in a statement.
âI am determined to end the public health emergency,â Coughlin added. “This is extremely important legislation that we need to pass.”
While the bill apparently ended the emergency, it would have left in place a series of executive orders by Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat, transmitted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It would also have allowed the governor to keep mask and social distancing restrictions in place.
“Trenton Democrats actually seemed surprised to learn that New Jersey residents oppose their convoluted bill allowing Governor Murphy to maintain an unnecessary mask and social distancing restrictions until 2022,” he said. Senator Anthony Bucco, R-Boonton, said in a press release. âIf they had paid attention before today, they would have known that people want the public health emergency and all dominant mandates to end immediately.
“The Democrats in Trenton are clearly feeling the heat, so the public pressure is working,” Bucco added. âFor once, they are not going for a bad plan in defiance of public opinion. This does not happen often. Maybe they will really shock us and join with Republicans in ending the public health emergency right now.