A move to stop the clock in the State Assembly for ten days so Gov. Phil Murphy and the legislature can hammer out a deal on the legalization of marijuana is facing criticism from a freshman Republican lawmaker who says New Jersey is in crisis mode and can’t shut down while Democrats argue over cannabis.
“An internal political feud is not more important than providing funding to help businesses, keep renters in their homes and guarantee people don’t lose their full earned income tax credit,” said Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-Denville). ““Suspending all business because of one bill is completely unnecessary.”
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin announced the plan to hold all business to create a bigger window for the marijuana legislation on Friday.
Among the bills not being considered during the imposed détente is Bergen’s $300 million plan to help small businesses survive closures as a result of Covid pandemic and a proposal to assist at-risk renters facing eviction through an increased tax deduction.
“We should meet and do our jobs,” Bergen said. “To ignore all of the other important issues awaiting action because establishment Democrats have become myopic about everything other than their political needs is ridiculous.”
Bergen charged that the New Jersey Legislature is more dysfunctional than Congress by halting business for ten days.
“At least they meet in person and conduct their business. We are skipping meetings and having conference calls to vote on bills, while letting Governor Murphy make unilateral decisions affecting the entire state without our input,” the Morris County Republican said. “What is going on here?”