TRENTON, N.J. – State Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13) mocked the Murphy Administration on Thursday over its decision to permit resumed indoor casino smoking, but the veteran Monmouth legislator’s public derision wasn’t motivated by second hand smoke.
“The administration is consistently hiding behind emergency powers lately until they apparently need to do a favor for…who the hell knows,” said O’Scanlon. “When the Governor relaxed the rules for eating indoors he also says that now you can smoke indoors at a casino. I don’t care what anyone thinks about smoking indoors at casinos in normal times–whatever your position might be–but the idea that the Governor would allow this NOW during a pandemic is ludicrous.”
“We are in the middle of a pandemic where we are trying to do everything in our power for people not to forcibly exhale without a mask around others. But that is exactly what smoking is! Even Pennsylvania, one of the few states that still allow smoking in a casino, has temporarily banned it due to face-covering regulations. And they did this while also allowing for indoor dining–proof that you can do both, expand indoor dining while temporarily banning smoking at casinos,” added O’Scanlon who recently shared comparative data showing the failure of New Jersey’s COVID-19 policies relative to nearby states.
Meanwhile, anyone who wants to run on a treadmill at a New Jersey gym is required to remain masked.
“Constantly, they have snubbed the legislature throughout this pandemic. Circumventing statute and legislative intent, and governing basically by executive order. But somehow the Governor has decided that for this issue he couldn’t possibly have the ability to govern unilaterally without surviving a challenge,” O’Scanlon concluded. “What is really absurd here is that the administration hasn’t responded to other businesses in the state imploring–honestly, begging–him to allow them to open up. Yet he’s doing a bizarre favor for some unseen entity in this case. There is no logic to it–only hypocrisy.”
O’Scanlon didn’t reveal for whom he thinks the Governor is trying to do a favor. Still, arbitrary COVID-19 decisions which benefit his allies aren’t out-of-character for Phil Murphy. For example, the Governor changed his mind on letting schools open remotely approximately 12 hours after the NJEA – which donated millions to Democrat campaigns and a pro-Murphy dark money group – came out publicly in favor of remote learning.