ITL Volume 13 Issue 12 - Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Murphy Drops Testing Mandate for Unvaccinated State Workers, Teachers, LaTourette Responds to Flood Plan Regulation Critics, Murphy Orders Investigation into NJCU’s Finances & more 

Murphy Drops Testing Mandate for Unvaccinated State Workers, Teachers

This week, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 302 lifting State mandates that require public and private school districts, child care centers, and state contractors be vaccinated or be subject to routine COVID testing. 

Governor Murphy’s office said that the state will also stop testing unvaccinated workers at the end of the month, including State Troopers and employees at public colleges and universities. 

The Murphy Administration plans to continue its vaccine mandate requirement for health care workers, employees in nursing homes and correctional facilities.

LaTourette Responds to Flood Plan Critics

In testimony before a special joint meeting of the Senate and Assembly environment committees in Toms River last week, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette told state lawmakers that New Jersey developers are “wrong” or “lying” about the affect flood rules would have on the building industry.

Developers have warned that DEP’s plans to release an emergency flood rule could have “dire economic consequences on potentially thousands of projects.”

“We cannot accept developers telling falsehoods and running around with their hair on fire because DEP wants to change a rule,” LaTourette said

LaTourette’s comments were the most directed, pointed and illuminating by any official in Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration amid weeks of pushback from environmentalists over the state’s failure to release long-awaited rules to change building standards in flood-prone areas.

The new rules would substantially change development standards in parts of the state that have grown increasingly susceptible to flooding because of a changing climate. Opponents of the potential regulation point to the emergency timing aspect that the Department seemingly was moving forward on, which would expedite the process. The business and development community requested that it go through the traditional rulemaking process which provides for more public input and comment before formal adoption.

Murphy Orders Investigation into NJCU’s Finances

In late June, New Jersey City University’s Board of Trustees announced a $20 million deficit and adopted a 90-day “rightsizing” emergency budget which included layoffs, staff reduction and cut-backs on expenses.

Concerns about the University’s finances were first raised by faculty in September 2021 which was followed by a vote of “no confidence” in then- NJCU President Sue Henderson. Henderson announced her retirement at the same Board of Trustees meeting in June when the financial emergency was announced.

Governor Murphy has asked State Comptroller Kevin Walsh to look into the University’s finances. Walsh said he would “follow the facts where they lead us.”

The University’s new Acting President Jason Kroll promised openness in the process and proceeded to schedule a number of town hall meetings to address the school’s financial situation and its plan to cut back on operational expenses.

New Legislator Profile: Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer (R-3)

Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer was elected to the New Jersey State Assembly in November 2022. Assemblywoman Sawyer currently serves on the Assembly Aging and Senior Services Committee and the Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.

Assemblywoman Sawyer is a graduate of Penn State University and is an owner/broker, licensed real estate professional with over 26 years of industry experience.