Senator Declan O’Scanlon issued the following statement on the need to curtail Governor Phil Murphy’s emergency powers:
“Today, I signed onto a resolution that just strike me as peculiar. Peculiar in the sense that I never would have imagined the need for this to exist in a democracy. SCR-117 is intended to curtail the Governor’s power to issue emergency executive orders without reapproval by the legislature every 15 days. It’s a proposed constitutional amendment that if passed, would create a ballot question potentially altering our State’s constitution and let the public decide whether a Governor needs to have their power more frequently checked by the Legislature.
“Most people can easily agree on what an emergency is. Unfortunately, with the Governor’s often arbitrary enforcement of his executive orders and his seemingly random dates selected for the reopening of our economy, this odd proposal is now an apparent necessity. The Governor is picking winners and losers like this was some raffle intended to more than decimate our economy. It’s not right. It’s uncharacteristically cruel. Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery‘ was as cruel, but at least better organized and more transparent when it comes to selecting who gets destroyed.
“Could someone in the Governor’s office please explain to everyone why they wasted this past weekend’s perfect weather and why they would not yet permit outdoor dining? What metrics does he use when evaluating this emergency? There was some transparency on why we shut down, but it’s mind boggling that there are virtually none on reopening. It would be nice to know the facts and figures Governor Murphy regularly references when he proposes the extension of his orders or the dates he selects for his reopening.
“For some reason, the Governor does not feel like he can trust the public or the legislature with this. That’s just sad. The Governor needs to treat the legislature like a co-equal branch of government, be transparent, and answer the many questions that we and our constituents have.”