New showdown over NJ statehouse vax mandate looms on Monday
It appears the next showdown over the vaccine or test mandate at New Jersey's statehouse will come Monday, the same day Republicans will be in court arguing the policy is unconstitutional.
A regular voting session is scheduled on Dec. 12, but NJ.com is reporting Democratic Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin has scheduled an in-person committee hearing for Monday.
The hearing is for the Assembly Appropriations Committee. One of the committee members is Republican Assemblyman Brian Bergen. He was the most vocal critic of the statehouse vaccine mandate last week, and led some of his GOP colleagues past State Police and into the Assembly chamber.
It remains unclear how this will all play out on Monday.
Both Gov. Phil Murphy and State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan deflected questions about statehouse security during a virtual COVID briefing on Wednesday.
Instead, Murphy laid into Republicans, calling their behavior "unforgivable."
The State Police have come under criticism for not physically blocking GOP lawmakers from entering the Assembly chamber or removing them after they took their seats.
The troopers seen in photos and video of the confrontation with lawmakers have been reassigned, but a spokesman refuted claims it was for disciplinary reasons.
It's unclear if Bergen and his GOP colleagues are angling for another fight.
When asked what they will do if the court doesn't rule in favor of them, Bergen said he didn't know.
"I honestly do not know. There's going to have to be a lot of discussion amongst the Republicans about how we're going to handle this situation ” Bergen said.