NJ statehouse COVID vaccine mandate still in effect despite GOP outcry

New Jersey

A day after New Jersey Assembly Republicans successfully defied a mandate to show COVID-19 vaccination proof or a negative test, signs stood around entryways and outside committee rooms at the statehouse showing the mandate remained policy on Dec. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Mike Catalini)

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey statehouse requirement for visitors to show proof of COVID-19 or a negative test is still in effect after Republican lawmakers defied it ahead of a voting session Thursday.

That’s according to signage posted around entryways to the statehouse complex Friday as well as outside committee rooms.

“All visitors to the statehouse complex must have the following: A valid state-issued ID, proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. If you are not vaccinated then you must provide the following instead: a negative COVID-19 test,” the poster boards said.

It remains unclear, though, how the order will be enforced.

State troopers on Thursday permitted GOP lawmakers to enter the Assembly chamber without showing the required documentation.

The mandate comes from a resolution set by a commission that manages the statehouse and a rule set by the Assembly speaker and Senate president, according to signs posted around the complex.

A state trooper stationed at an entryway said Friday the requirement was still in effect, but unlike Thursday when the statehouse bustled with activity, hallways were mostly quiet and no hearings or votes were scheduled.

The disorderly scene Thursday unfolded as Republicans protested legislative leadership’s vaccination mandate, calling it unconstitutional.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said he was outraged by the circumstance and called the episode a “colossal failure” of security on Thursday. Assembly hearings are set to be held remotely next week, according to Coughlin’s spokesperson Kevin McArdle.

Republicans, who sued to stop the requirements, claimed legal victory after an appellate division court permitted their challenge of the requirement to go forward. The judge’s order does not address the underlying arguments and stops short of a temporary injunction that would suspend the mandate to show vaccination or provide a negative test result.

The judge set a possible hearing date of Dec. 13.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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