NEW JERSEY – After a court struck down Governor Tom Wolf’s school mask mandate in Pennsylvania this week, Senator Joe Pennacchio urged Governor Phil Murphy to lift his mask orders for New Jersey’s schools and children.
“I think Pennsylvania courts made the right decision in striking down the Wolf administration’s school mask mandate after taking the time to conduct a thorough legal review,” Pennacchio (R-26) said. “Hopefully the Pennsylvania ruling will put more scrutiny on Governor Murphy’s mask mandates here in New Jersey and lead to their repeal. We believe masking decisions should be made by parents, not government.”
Pennacchio has consistently pushed for the Legislature to limit Governor Murphy’s ability to issue open-ended executive orders and fought against mask mandates for school children and toddlers as young as two years of age in child care settings.
In July, Pennacchio chaired an independent hearing where medical experts, school officials, parents, and advocates discussed how science, data, and experience supported the case for unmasking New Jersey children.
The Pennsylvania court ruled that Governor Wolf’s school mask mandate was voided and unenforceable immediately. In the days prior to the ruling, Wolf had said he expected to allow local school officials to make decisions on modifying or ending mask mandates starting in January.
While Governor Murphy refuses to say when he might loosen control on masks for kids in New Jersey, his current school mask mandate expires on January 11.
“We think Governor Murphy should lift his mask mandates on children today,” Pennacchio said. “That’s what parents want and it’s what drove voters to the polls to take seats from Democrats and school board members who refused to push back. It would be tone-deaf for the Murphy administration to do anything else.”