Pair of New Jersey Senators say time is now to fully re-open MVC, restore state government services
As Covid metrics drop to healthier stats by the day, the calls increase for full re-openings of state government services from unemployment, to MVC, and beyond.
First on Tuesday, Senator Michael Testa (R-LD1), Assemblymen Erik Simonsen (R-LD1), and Antwan McClellan (R-LD1), announced that they're planning to introduce legislation that would cut the salaries of the top brass at the NJDOL if they don't open their doors to in-person services starting on March 1, 2022.
Then, Senator Kristin Corrado (R-40) announced that she will introduce a bill to require the Motor Vehicle Commission to fully reopen in the normal way it was with pre-pandemic guidelines.
“The continued delays and congestion at MVC facilities are inexcusable, and it is obvious the commission still needs some guidance from the Legislature on how to return to pre-pandemic operations,” Corrado said in a written statement. “We are more than two years into this pandemic and there are still some MVC employees that are working from home and facilities that offer some services but not all. As a result, many New Jerseyans need to drive out of their way to complete certain transactions, which imposes an unnecessary burden and cost. My legislation will return all MVC facilities to pre-pandemic status so that the people of this state can get the help they deserve in a timely manner.”
Corrado's legislation comes after she heard a story that an 81-year old woman, who lives in the 40th district and recently lost her husband, had to drive an additional 40-minutes recently to an MVC facility that would conduct a title transfer, something she said that hasn't been offered in the same facilty as vehicle and license transactions during the pandemic.
“The MVC needs to stop using COVID as an excuse for its subpar service,” Corrado said. “If private sector businesses can remain open and operate normally, despite the challenges of COVID-19, we should expect nothing less of critical government services like the MVC.”
State Senator Anthony Bucco (R-25), then followed up Senators Testa and Corrado by making a plea for Governor Phil Murphy to restore all State government services and staffing to pre-pandemic levels, including the aforementioned MVC offices and Senator Corrado's legislation.
“We’re still hearing from constituents who are having trouble with MVC and unemployment issues, and they’re going to agency offices where they’re denied help or told to go somewhere else,” Bucco said in a written statement. “With the rest of New Jersey getting back to normal, there’s no excuse for State employees to still be working from home or for a full range of services not to be offered at every location.”
Senator Bucco said he’s heard from frustrated constituents who are having trouble getitng in touch with State executive branch departments and agencies for things like human services, permitting, and taxation.
Bucco also said the Murphy administration failed to return all Executive branch employees to their offices by the October 18, 2021, which was a deadline set by the governor last summer.
“New Jerseyans are beyond frustrated that nobody’s home and the lights still seem to be off in many offices across the Murphy administration,” Bucco said. “Governor Murphy needs to get every single person in his administration back to work right now.”