New Jersey Republicans sue to block COVID vaccine or test requirement to enter state Capitol

The new restrictions apply to visitors, legislators and staff.

Updated: December 1, 2021 - 10:55pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

New Jersey Republicans have taken legal action to block a requirement that visitors to the statehouse in Trenton either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or show a recent negative COVID test.

The new restrictions apply to visitors, legislators and staff. The state Capitol Joint Management Commission approved the new requirement over the objections of Republicans.

Republicans want a New Jersey Superior Court judge to block the state from enforcing the requirement.

“We’re petitioning the Court for emergent relief to block enforcement of an exclusionary policy that we believe is unconstitutional and undemocratic,” state Sen. Steven Oroho, R-Sussex, said in a statement. “With the policy taking effect today, we felt compelled to take action to ensure continued public access to the Statehouse and the legislative process.”

Oroho is the incoming Senate Republican leader.

At a media briefing on Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy addressed a question about what the state might do if Republicans tried to bypass the vaccination mandate.

“It is a requirement to either be vaccinated, to prove that you’ve got a negative test or again, I give credit to the legislative leadership. They’ve got rapid tests at the State House,” Murphy said at a Monday briefing.

“It is 20 seconds of time, 20 seconds, 10 seconds in each nostril,” Murphy added. “It’s just ridiculous.”