“Since May, Senate Republicans have sought a bipartisan investigation to understand the policy and management failures of the Murphy Administration that led to preventable deaths, destroyed businesses and jobs, and left millions of New Jerseyans without access to important services and support,” Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said in a statement.
Kean noted that Democrats, who control both chambers of the Legislature, have opposed the formation of a select committee that could make full use of lawmakers' oversight powers.
“While we had hoped to investigate these matters through a select committee with subpoena power – which continues to be our preferred forum – we have been left with no choice but to pursue independent hearings that we will conduct with or without the participation of the Senate Majority,” he said.
Kean appointed state Sen. Joe Pennacchio, R-Montville, to lead the hearings with state Sens. Kristin Corrado, R-Totowa; Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth; and Michael Testa, R-Vineland. Kean also said he invited Democrats to participate in the hearings and “designate members of their caucus to participate in these hearings.”
The first virtual hearing is scheduled to take place March 5. The hearings will examine the impact of executive orders and include a review of veterans homes, nursing homes and long-term care facilities where about 8,000 residents and staff members have died from COVID-19.
A spokesperson for Murphy did not immediately respond to a request from The Center Square for comment.
“New Jersey has lost nearly one-third of our small businesses, including many of the restaurants and Main Street shops that once served our communities,” O’Scanlon said in a news release.
“They weren’t forced out of business by the coronavirus, but by arbitrary restrictions imposed by Governor Murphy that made it impossible for them to keep their doors open and pay their employees,” O’Scanlon added. “The governor’s directives were never based on science or data. We’ll hear from business owners how ridiculous and harmful those executive orders have been, and just how pitiful the State’s relief programs continue to be.”
published here with permission