Home>Highlight>Republicans cry foul as capitol vaccine mandate moves forward

The New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Republicans cry foul as capitol vaccine mandate moves forward

By Joey Fox, October 26 2021 9:46 am

Ahead of new vaccine-or-test mandate for entry into the state capitol complex from the State Capitol Joint Management Commission, legislative Republicans are pushing back on what they’re claiming is an “inappropriate” policy.

The mandate, which was approved by a 5-2 party-line commission vote this morning, will require anyone wishing to enter the legislative portions state capitol complex show proof of vaccination or the negative results of a Covid test from the preceding 72 hours, and wear a mask inside the building. The offices of the governor, meanwhile, have a similar mandate in place for employees but not for visitors.

Included in the mandate is something of a carve-out for legislators themselves, who are subject to the policy but may still skirt around it in certain circumstances.

“If any member of the legislature is found to be in non-compliance with this policy, the presiding officer of that member’s house will be notified and will determine whether to admit the member and under what conditions or accommodations admission will be permitted,” it reads.

Nevertheless, in a letter signed by every member of the Senate Republican caucus, Republicans have called on the joint management commission to reject the policy because of its adverse effects on the willfully unvaccinated.

“We are deeply concerned that this policy, if enacted, will prevent public participation in the legislative process,” they wrote in the letter. “Quite simply, the policy under consideration will exclude the large segment of New Jersey society that is unvaccinated from the legislative process in a manner that could be perceived as deliberate.”

This story was updated at 10:24 a.m. to reflect the successful passage of the new mandate, and again at 12:33 p.m. with a clarification on mandates in the governor’s office.

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