Home>Highlight>Republicans will mull statehouse vaccination policy on today’s conference call

National Guardsmen and state police officers deconstruct a testing site outsite the capitol complex on December 6, 2021. (Photo: Jennifer Peacock/Assembly Republican Office).

Republicans will mull statehouse vaccination policy on today’s conference call

By David Wildstein, December 16 2021 9:12 am

Assembly Republicans will hold a conference call on Thursday to discuss next week’s in-person legislative session, with some GOP lawmakers advocating against another rebellion until an appellate court panel hears their case in April.

Republican legislators opposed to a State Capitol Joint Management Commission mandate that requires all visitors – including elected members of the legislature – show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test before entering the statehouse complex.  That led to a stand-off between several assemblymen and the New Jersey State Police until the troopers backed down.

Several Republicans believe they’ve made their point, that a judge declined to stay the policy, and that they should back off until the courts decide the matter in four months.

The Assembly is set to hold a voting session on Monday, meeting after two weeks of virtual committee meetings.  The Senate, where Republicans objected but ultimately followed the policy, has continued to meet in-person.

Since December 2, the State Police has set up screening at outdoor entrances to the statehouse complex.

Some Republicans have had enough and want to focus votes being taken at the lame duck session.  Others don’t want to put state troopers in a bad spot.

But at least one GOP assemblyman, Erik Peterson (R-Franklin), has said he would file criminal and civil charges against anyone who denies him entrance, claiming that the State Constitution prevents anyone from obstructing the travel of a legislator to Trenton, except for reasons of treason and high misdemeanor.

As a result of the GOP protest, several state troopers were reassigned out of the statehouse.  Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin criticized the “colossal failure of security” at the statehouse.  Gov. Phil Murphy, who initially sidestepped questions on how the State Police handled the issue, has now promised a full internal investigation.

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