IN 2021 STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS, GOVERNOR MURPHY REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO LEADING NEW JERSEY THROUGH THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND BUILDING A STRONGER, FAIRER, AND MORE RESILIENT ECONOMY FOR ALL
Governor Phil Murphy aired his third State of the State Address from Trenton on Tuesday, January 12th, 2021. Governor Murphy highlighted accomplishments from his first three years in office and reaffirmed his commitment to leading New Jersey through the COVID-19 public health crisis and improving the lives of New Jersey’s families. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the address was pre-recorded without an audience at the Patriots Theater at the Trenton War Memorial and streamed on the Governor’s official social media channels.
“Although wounded deeply, we enter 2021 tougher than ever, wiser than before, and ready to move forward together,” said Governor Murphy. “Despite the ongoing pandemic, our mission of making New Jersey a stronger and fairer state for every family has not changed. We’re proving that the best way to beat COVID-19 is by leaning in to smart investments with a forward-looking, principled vision for the future. Our priorities for the year ahead focus on the public health challenges at hand, while charting a path forward to build a stronger, fairer, and more resilient economy that works for every New Jersey family.”
For text of the Governor’s full address as delivered, click here.
For the State of the State introduction video, click here.
For the biographies and headshots of the New Jerseyans featured in the State of the State video, click here.
For pool photography of the Governor’s address by Ed Murray of NJ Advance Media, click here.
GOVERNOR MURPHY ANNOUNCES ALL NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS AGES 65 AND OLDER ELIGIBLE FOR COVID-19 VACCINE BEGINNING ON JANUARY 14
Governor Phil Murphy announced two additional categories of New Jersey residents eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Beginning Thursday, January 14, all New Jersey residents ages 65 and older, and individuals ages 16-64 with certain medical conditions, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus, are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination.
“Over the last several months, our Administration has built the infrastructure and laid the groundwork to support New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination demand,” said Governor Murphy. “Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we are ready to begin ramping up our vaccination efforts exponentially and are confident in our ability to provide every willing New Jersey resident with a vaccine when it is available and they are eligible.”
“Expanding access to vaccine to individuals in these categories is critical as we know they are at greater risk for severe COVID-19 illness and death,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Eighty percent of COVID-19 deaths in New Jersey have been among those 65 and older and overall 67 percent of deaths had one or more underlying conditions reported.”
MURPHY ADMINISTRATION CELEBRATES FINAL STEP TOWARD CONSTRUCTION OF NEW PORTAL NORTH BRIDGE
Governor Phil Murphy, alongside Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, Congressman Tom Malinowski, and Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia, celebrated the finalization of the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to construct a new Portal North Bridge. NJ TRANSIT CEO and President Kevin Corbett executed the agreement with the FTA today, which will provide $766.5 million dollars in federal funding for the Portal North Bridge.
The new Portal North Bridge, a $1.8 billion project, is fully designed and fully permitted, having received a Record-of-Decision from the Federal Railroad Administration in 2013, which was adopted by the FTA in August 2017. NJ TRANSIT also announced that it has released an Invitation for Bid (IFB) on the project to build a new higher, fixed span across the Hackensack River in Kearny. The current 110-year old Portal Bridge has long been a source of major service disruptions for NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak customers traveling on the Northeast Corridor.
“After years of advocacy from my Administration, federal and state transportation leaders, and elected officials up and down our impacted rail lines, we are ready to put our capital to work to create a modern, reliable, and safe span that will carry our economy and our people forward for the next 100 years,” said Governor Murphy. “With construction of a new bridge, we’ll eliminate one of the most-frustrating choke-points in the entire Northeast Corridor, improving commutes for hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans. I look forward to working alongside President-elect Biden and his team to ensure the full Gateway Program is delivered, including new tunnels under the Hudson River.”
“This funding agreement demonstrates that state and federal agencies can partner together to make needed investments that will modernize and improve our infrastructure to meet future demands,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti . “The new Portal Bridge will improve the speed and reliability of regional and commuter rail traffic, and will allow marine traffic to move freely without having to wait for the old bridge to open.”
“Executing the Full Funding Grant Agreement marks a key milestone in our efforts to replace this critical yet unreliable 110-year-old bridge, and finally give our customers the reliability they deserve as they commute to and from Penn Station New York,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin S. Corbett. “I want to once again thank our New Jersey Congressional Delegation for their steadfast advocacy, and our partners at Amtrak for their support. We’re looking forward to getting shovels in the ground later this year.”
GOVERNOR MURPHY ANNOUNCES SHAWN LATOURETTE AS ACTING COMMISSIONER OF NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Governor Phil Murphy announced that Shawn LaTourette will serve as Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) beginning on January 16. LaTourette, currently the Department’s Deputy Commissioner, takes the helm from Catherine R. McCabe, who will retire from public service on January 15 having spent more than 40 years protecting the environment, including three years as DEP Commissioner. LaTourette will serve as Acting Commissioner until a permanent replacement for McCabe is identified.
With twenty years of environmental experience, LaTourette began his career partnering with the Erin Brockovich law firm to organize and defend New Jersey communities whose drinking water was contaminated by petrochemicals. Born and raised in New Jersey, LaTourette graduated magna cum laude from Rutgers University and earned his law degree summa cum laude from Rutgers Law School, where he was the class salutatorian and the recipient of multiple environmental and governance awards, and published scholarship on environmental law, natural resource damage, and climate issues. Before entering public service, LaTourette specialized in protecting the rights of victims of toxic injuries while also advising infrastructure, transportation, energy, and other industries on compliance with state and federal environmental laws and policies. Prior to joining the Murphy Administration, he was most recently a Director of the Environmental Law Department at Gibbons PC, where he focused on brownfields redevelopment projects and litigated environmental cases in state and federal court.
GOVERNOR MURPHY SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER TO IMPLEMENT NEW POLICIES FOR THE 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR
Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 214 to affect the following changes for the 2020-2021 school year: 1) waiver of the graduation assessment test requirement for any 12th grade student who has satisfied all other statutory graduation requirements; 2) removal of Student Growth Objectives (SGOs) as a component of formal educator evaluations; and 3) extension of the time in which certificated teachers or those in the process of becoming certificated teachers can serve as substitute teachers.
“The pandemic has presented significant challenges to school districts across our State that have affected our administrators, educators, staff, and students,” said Governor Murphy. “Today’s executive order will provide sensible adjustments to support our school districts during this unprecedented time.”
“Today’s action, which provides a meaningful step towards helping our education system adapt to the challenges posed by COVID-19, is the direct result of ongoing engagement with stakeholders,” said Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, Acting Commissioner of Education. “This collaboration will help ensure that districts have the flexibility needed to better address students’ and educators’ instructional and support needs, while maintaining stability and continuity in classroom instruction.”