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State Sen. and former Gov. Richard J. Codey. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Codey: Lagana shouldn’t lose committee assignments over vaccine vote

Senator pulled from Judiciary, Health Committees over opposition to religious exemption bill

By Nikita Biryukov, January 22 2020 1:46 pm

Former Gov. Dick Codey said Senate President Steve Sweeney was wrong to pull State Sen. Joe Lagana from the Senate Judiciary Committee over Lagana’s opposition to a bill eliminating the religious exemption for vaccinations.

“What happened last week to Senator Lagana should never happen to any legislator,” Codey, a state senator, said. “Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this play. We’ve seen it much too often over the past ten years. I understand the hardball of politics, but this goes too far.”

Lagana was one of five Democratic senators to oppose the bill when it originally came before the full chamber on Dec. 16.

Lagana was also pulled from the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and will instead sit on the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.

Perhaps most importantly, his opposition to the vaccine bill, which lawmaker failed to pass during the lame duck session, cost Lagana leadership money that was used to supplement his annual staff allowance.

“On that vote, I didn’t agree with Senator Lagana, but I would expect him to vote his conscious and that is what he was doing,” Codey said. “We have to show that we are better than that. We want people to vote their conscious”

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