Testa to Democrats: What Took So Long to Challenge Governor on Dysfunction Department of Labor

March 3, 2022  Contact: Robbie Kenney / (609) 847-3600

Says Republicans Proposed a Solution in 2020

Senator Michael Testa today complimented the Senate’s unanimous approval of a bipartisan resolution calling on Governor Murphy to address ongoing unemployment issues but questioned why it took two years to finally act.

“I don’t understand what took so long,” said Testa (R-40). “Two years ago, Republicans proposed forcing the Governor’s hand to address problems within the Department of Labor. This is a good idea in 2022, but it was an even better idea in 2020.”

With the pandemic running wild and an eruption of unemployment claims pouring in on May 12, 2020, Testa and Republican colleague Michael Doherty called on Murphy to immediately reopen the Department of Labor’s unemployment centers and staff them with idle workers from other state agencies.

In-person unemployment services had been suspended on March 16, two months earlier, in response to the coronavirus.

“Once again, Republicans were ahead of the curve,” said Testa. “I commend my majority Democrat colleagues for finally rising up to send a strong message to the Administration that the embarrassing dysfunction within the Department of Labor cannot continue, but New Jersey residents shouldn’t have had to suffer this long waiting for the Legislature to say ‘enough is enough.’”

The resolution, SR-66, urges Governor Murphy to immediately address unemployment claim backlog and reopen State offices closed to public.

This week, Testa introduced legislation, S-2082, calling on the Department of Labor to ensure State unemployment offices reopen immediately and remain open during and after public health emergency.