New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D), in office since 2018, has been active in issuing executive orders. In 2022, Murphy issued a total of 39 Executive Orders; from January to August 2023, he approved 26. Throughout 2023, Governor Murphy has focused orders on advancing areas such as clean energy, sustainability, healthcare, and addressing the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19.
Clean Energy Executive Orders
Governor Murphy has dedicated efforts to mitigating the impacts of climate change throughout the state of New Jersey. One such effort was Executive Order 315, which details plans to transition towards clean and renewable energy. The order references the Global Warming Response Act (GWRA) and the state’s commitment to reducing fossil fuel usage to 100% clean energy by 2050. Such plans include obtaining 11,000 megawatts of energy from offshore wind by 2040 and 100% of electricity sold in New Jersey to come from clean sources by January 1, 2035. Building upon Executive Order 315, Murphy also issued Executive Order 316, which reinforces a transition to clean energy by 2050, including the electrification of 400,000 dwelling units and 20,000 commercial spaces by 2030.
Addressing the Opioid Crisis
With opioid-related deaths in the state nearly doubling from 1,587 in 2015 to 3,006 in 2018, Governor Murphy has prioritized combatting the crisis. Murphy’s 2023 goals, as outlined in Executive Order 323, revolve around directing funding toward prevention methods and treatments. Following lawsuit settlements with various companies related to opioids, New Jersey will receive $641 million over the next 18 years. Additional pending settlements with corporations due to their role in the opioid epidemic will lead to about $900 million for further investments in treatment and rehabilitation programs. Additional efforts include the creation of an advisory council to engage stakeholders and provide recommendations for fund allocation and disbursement.
Executive Order on Gender Affirming-Care
Governor Murphy emphasized the need to support LGBTQ+ community members in obtaining equal access to healthcare in Executive Order 326. The order addresses many challenges to the community, such as prohibiting denial of healthcare due to gender identity, protecting individuals seeking gender-affirming care in the state from outside areas, and emphasizing the need for correctional facilities to not discriminate against healthcare treatment based on gender identity.
Following national changes addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Murphy created new testing and vaccination requirements standards. Executive Order 325 changes requirements to rescind vaccination and testing requirements for high-risk congregate settings and states that healthcare workers must no longer submit to weekly or twice weekly COVID-19 testing. In the Order, Murphy also emphasized the importance of being current on COVID-19 vaccinations and staying vigilant in preventative measures.
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