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Gov. Phil Murphy, left, with Senate President Steve Sweeney.

Murphy executive orders no longer a problem for Sweeney

Senate President praises governor despite March call to rein in executive orders

By Nikita Biryukov, May 13 2021 4:00 pm

In late March, Senate President Steve Sweeney suggested the time for rule through executive action had passed, but nearly two months later, his approach has grown conciliatory.

“We’re having very strong conversations, very positive conversations with the administration. I think we’re working well together and things are going to work out,” he said when asked if he still believed Gov. Phil Murphy should lend greater deference to the legislature in handling the pandemic.

Republicans have long criticized Murphy for what they deemed a unilateral approach to controlling the spread of COVID-19. Their repeated calls for bills requiring legislative approval for the governor’s executive orders have met with little enthusiasm from the Democratic caucuses.

Though some of the party’s lawmakers have privately expressed dissatisfaction with elements of the governor’s response — some Democratic senators want state workers to return for their offices, for instance — the party’s public face, one Sweeney wore Thursday, has been that of support.

“I think the governor has done a very good job of managing the pandemic,” he said. “New Jersey is in a much better place because of the job that he did, and that we’re working together to wrap this thing up.”

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