At today’s twice-a-week Covid briefing, Gov. Phil Murphy left the door open on the possibility of calling the legislature back into session before the November general election, something that the legislative leaders in both chambers have indicated they are not planning to do.
“I have not thought about the question on the legislature coming back in or not – I mean, you have to leave all options on the table given the world we’re in right now, with the pandemic, with Mother Nature, with you name it,” Murphy said.
Murphy faces a number of calls from both sides of the aisle to bring the legislature back to address a variety of issues.
Legislative Republicans are currently circulating a petition which would force Murphy to call a special session to address an upcoming payroll tax hike. Some on the left, meanwhile, have pushed for swift action on the abortion-related Reproductive Freedom Act, especially in the wake of Texas’ restrictive new abortion law that the Supreme Court allowed to stand.
If the legislature were called back into session, it would mean that legislators currently campaigning – or, for those in safer districts, relaxing – on their home turf would be forced to start making the journey to Trenton once again.
It would also mean that State Sen.-elect Vince Polistina (R-Egg Harbor Township), who has been languishing in limbo since being elected in an August 4 special election convention, would finally be sworn in. Legislative Democrats would like to avoid this if possible, believing that Polistina would be a stronger candidate if he were allowed to become the formal incumbent.