Quick Hits: New Jersey news in brief for Friday, April 16

Murphy extends public health emergency in New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order to extend the public health emergency declared on March 9, 2020. The order extends executive branch department and agency actions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Previously this year, Murphy extended the order on Jan. 19, Feb. 17 and March 17. Last year, the governor extended the order on April 7, May 6, June 4, July 2, Aug. 1, Aug. 27, Sept. 25, Oct. 24, Nov. 22, and Dec. 21.

“Our vaccination program is expanding vigorously and quickly, but COVID-19 remains a threat to New Jerseyans,” Murphy said in a news release.

NJPP report makes recommendations to de-politicize the budget-making process

A new report, titled “Tools for Building a Healthy Budget,” from New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) Senior Policy Analyst Sheila Reynertson makes six recommendations to “de-politicize New Jersey’s budget-making process.”

The state’s budget process “threatens” public school and health care funding and reserve funds for economic downturns, NJPP said.

The report’s No. 1 recommendation is consensus revenue forecasting. It also recommends increased transparency, budget “stress tests,” a more robust “Rainy Day Fund” and multi-year revenue and spending forecasts.

“With these reforms in place, lawmakers would have more information available as they chart the state’s economic recovery from COVID-19,” NJPP said in an email.

Addiego wants to use opioid settlement money to support addiction services

State Sen Dawn Marie Addiego, D-Evesham, wants to use the opioid settlement money the state is to receive to support addiction services.

“It is crucial that any and all opioid settlement money goes back to the people and communities hurt most by the overprescription of opioids,” Addiego said in a statement.

“We must learn from the mistakes that were made around the country with the 1998 tobacco settlement,” Addiego added. “The millions of dollars that have already been received and any additional money that is expected should be solely dedicated to public health initiatives focused on prevention, treatment and recovery.”

Corrado calls for end to 200-person limit on graduation ceremonies

State Sen. Kristin Corrado, R-Totowa, wants Gov. Phil Murphy to eliminate the 200-person limit on upcoming graduation ceremonies, saying restrictions should be on par with other celebrations without outdoor gathering limits.

“Parents want to celebrate their children’s graduations without the gathering restrictions that don’t apply to other types of ceremonies and public events,” Corrado said in a news release.

“We know outdoor events with social distancing and masks pose little risk, especially when you factor in our progress with vaccinations,” Corrado added. “At this point, the 200-person limit for outdoor graduation ceremonies is an unnecessary inconvenience that Governor Murphy must address.”

– The Center Square

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