New Jersey Governor Extends State’s Public Health Emergency, Critics Say It Must End Now | Illinois

(The Center Square) – Governor Phil Murphy has signed an executive order to extend the state’s public health emergency.

With the signing of Executive Order No. 288, the state’s public health emergency is set to expire in 30 days. Murphy previously said he would let it expire then.

The declared emergency allows the state to continue distributing vaccines, collecting data on COVID-19, and enforcing vaccination or testing requirements in certain settings. However, Republicans noted that the statement gives Murphy, a Democrat, the authority to keep the school mask mandate in effect and release prisoners from state jails.

“By every metric, New Jersey’s COVID numbers have plummeted to the point that authoritarian mandates and executive orders are completely unnecessary,” Sen. Anthony M. Bucco, R-Boonton, said in a statement. “Governor Murphy should let the public health emergency expire this week and return the emergency powers and parental rights he took from the people of New Jersey,” he said.

“There is no justification for making this go on for another month while children continue to suffer both educationally and emotionally,” Bucco added. “Governor Murphy has exercised emergency powers for too long and he has taken away the rights of parents over all their objections. He should give it all back now.

Additionally, Republicans have sounded the alarm over reports that 260 additional prisoners were due for release on Thursday under COVID regulations. They say 40% of the pre-COVID prison population has been released since the start of the pandemic and note that leaders in many cities are seeking help fight against the resurgence of crime.

“As he has for more than a year, the Governor is using the pandemic as a cover to release felons in New Jersey neighborhoods,” Sen. Joe Pennacchio, R-Montville, said in a statement. “After announcing plans to lift further COVID restrictions and as statewide numbers continue to improve, he’s ready to roam cell blocks unlocking doors and letting the bad guys run. freely to protect them from a relatively mild omicron variant of the virus.”

A spokesperson for Murphy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Center Square. Separately, Murphy previously announced the state would end the mask mandate for schools and daycares starting March 7.

Meanwhile, State Sen. Kristin M. Corrado, R-Totowa, plans to introduce a pair of bills to ensure speech-language pathology students and students with intellectual and developmental disabilities aren’t required to wear hearing aids. masks. If approved, the measure would apply to students in school districts that maintain mask mandates after March 7.

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