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Senate President Steve Sweeney. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Sweeney suggests it’s time for Murphy to rein in executive actions

By Nikita Biryukov, March 25 2021 5:53 pm

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) said legislators are tiring of Gov. Phil Murphy’s use of executive orders, suggesting that it was perhaps time to wind down on unilateral responses to the pandemic.

“I think the governor’s done a very good job of managing the situation based on what we know,” he said during a press gaggle following Thursday’s voting session. “But I think a lot of us in the legislature would like to not continue these executive actions and start moving forward back to where we’re participating and partnering even further than we are.”

He went on to praise the administration’s handling of vaccine mega sites, predicting that New Jersey could be able to inoculate residents faster than any other state once supply catches up to demand.

Sweeney’s comments are just words for now. Though Republicans have long sought to curtail the governor’s executive authority in the handling of the pandemic, they’ve met with scarce success.

The Senate on Thursday again voted against weighing a Republican bill that would make executive actions sunset after 14 days unless approved by the legislature.

They’ve been pushing that bill since May, but the measure has and will likely continue to stall in the legislature, even if Democratic pushback grows.

With the governorship and every seat in the legislature on this year’s ballot, Democratic lawmakers will want to avoid appearing to return to the infighting that defined Murphy’s first two years in office.

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