Lawmakers advance bill to end health emergency, keep 15 pandemic-related executive orders into 2022

New Jersey’s public health state of emergency could be over in a month after a state Assembly panel approved new legislation.

News 12 Staff

May 18, 2021, 10:23 PM

Updated 1,103 days ago

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New Jersey’s public health state of emergency could be over in a month after a state Assembly panel approved new legislation.
The bill would keep 15 of Gov. Phil Murphy’s pandemic executive orders in effect through the end of 2021, leading state Republicans to say that the governor is ending the emergency in name only.
The Murphy administration said Friday part of the bill is about protecting the state’s vaccine rollout.
The 15 executive orders that would remain in place through January include moratoriums on evictions, allowing retired health care workers to have their licenses reinstated and banning gas, electric and water utility shutoffs for non-payment. Four of the orders simply extend deadlines and rule proposals by state agencies, while others involve vaccination and outdoor dining.
Murphy was confident on Monday that months of negotiations with Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin would produce a bill he could sign. The governor first declared a public health emergency on March 9, 2020.
The bill still must pass the Assembly and Senate. It will also include the governor's most recent mask mandate, which currently requires indoor masking. That order can only be made less restrictive unless the state sees a surge in coronavirus hospitalizations or a rate of transmission above 1.
Republican state Sen. Steve Oroho called the legislation "some kind of joke.” He is asking the Legislature to end all the governor's executive orders effective immediately.


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