State Sen. Testa calls extension of health emergency ‘perpetual power grab’

It was no surprise that Gov. Phil Murphy extended the public health emergency Friday for an additional 30 days. It’s the seventh time he has done so since the COVID-19 pandemic began crushing the state.

It was also no surprise that Republicans were bothered by it — calling it an abuse of power, something they have done countless of times in recent months.

Sen. Michael Testa. (File photo)

The only question: When does the pandemic stop being a health emergency? When does the Legislature attempt to get back its role in the power-sharing agreement that is government?

State Sen. Michael Testa (R-Cape May Court House), calling Murphy’s actions a “perpetual power grab,” said that day has come.

“For the seventh time since March, Gov. Murphy has extended the public health emergency that he has used to justify overbearing executive orders that have caused unimaginable disruption to the lives and livelihoods of our friends and neighbors,” he said in a release.

“New Jerseyans did exactly what the governor asked back in March. They stayed home and many lost their jobs as employers ordered closed by the governor have shuttered forever. It has to end.”

Testa noted that the Legislature has met numerous times since the public health emergency was first declared in March, providing ample opportunity for the Legislature to be consulted and perform oversight as a co-equal branch of government.

“Shame on the Democrats who control Trenton for failing to make the governor justify each and every one of the restrictions he placed on New Jerseyans,” he said. “We can’t let him get away with this for another year. It’s time for the Legislature to stop hiding meekly in the shadows, to put an end to Gov. Murphy’s perpetual emergency and power grab. We flattened the curve — steamrolled it, actually — and now it’s time to help New Jerseyans begin recovering from the damage these incredibly destructive executive orders have caused.”

Other news from the weekend:

Health metrics

The state reported 1,472 new cases this weekend — much higher than usual. It brings the overall total to 203,548.

Just why isn’t as clear.

A large number of the new cases appear to be coming from Lakewood, which has had repeated issues with COVID-19. In addition, it appears the state tested an even higher number than normal.

The state also reported nine additional COVID-19 fatalities over the weekend, bringing the overall total to 14,315. On Sunday — using metrics from 10 p.m. Saturday — the state said there were 88 patients in intensive care and 47 on ventilators.

Final word

In a tweet, Murphy noted the start of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews.

“As the sun sets tonight beginning Yom Kippur, (first lady Tammy Murphy) and I wish our friends in the Jewish community an easy fast. G’mar Chatimah Tova — may you be sealed in the Book of Life.”