Commission approves vaccination mandate or negative COVID test to enter New Jersey capitol

(The Center Square) – A state commission has approved a rule requiring anyone entering the legislative areas of the state capitol prove they are vaccinated against COVID-19 or show they received a negative test within the previous 72 hours.

The State Capitol Joint Management Commission, an eight-member body, voted 5-2 on party lines to pass the requirement. The new mandate takes effect on Dec. 1.

“If any member of the Legislature is found to be in non-compliance with this policy, the presiding officer of that member’s house will be notified and will determine whether to admit the member and under what conditions or accommodations admission will be permitted,” the policy states.

However, Republicans say the requirement is an attempt to stifle democracy. The entire Republican caucus sent a letter to Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, opposing the plan.

“I object to any policy that further divides us and inhibits fair, equal and unobstructed access to the Statehouse,” Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, R-Union, said in a statement. “Creating barriers is an insult to democracy.

“People have the right to have their voices heard at the time and in the actual place decisions are made by those elected to serve them,” Munoz continued. “The legislative process depends on the full participation of any resident.”

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