Yesterday, Governor Murphy signed legislation that is to date the most punishing law to New Jersey businesses that we’ve seen since the beginning of the coronavirus. The law will provide benefits to essential workers who contract COVID-19 while on the job. And according to an article on Patch.com these benefits will be provided on the back of New Jersey’s worker’s compensation system.

Although we have money from the New Jersey cares act specifically for this purpose, Governor Murphy chose to set that money aside, forget that it exists and instead place the burden on already suffering employers who now have to provide workers comp. benefits. What’s worse is that the bill, sponsored by Assembly Democrats Thomas Giblin, John Burzichelli, Carol Murphy and Joann Downey, does not require a worker to prove that he contracted COVID-19 on the job, but rather assumes that he did. The burden of proof otherwise—that perhaps the worker got sick from a party or from any of his day-to-day activities—will be on the employer.

What that translates is open season for abuse of the system. And, anyone who is an essential worker who gets Covid will immediately be eligible for benefits, as it will be a foregone conclusion that he got it on the job.

This is yet another example of Governor Murphy misusing the CARES act federal funds that he unabashedly begged for.

To add insult to injury, Governor Murphy had the opportunity to conditionally veto the bill, limiting its applicability to only the time when stay-at-home-orders were in effect. During that time, there was very little movement of these workers other than going to work and back. But no, he did not limit the benefits to that time period. Which means that it’s very possible that any essential worker can contracted COVID-19 anywhere in the state but claim that he contracted it on the job.

This is just more proof that all of Governor Murphy‘s false assurances that he really cares about New Jersey businesses and all they’ve had to endure during his emergency orders are just that, false.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.