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NJ lawmakers want coronavirus records to be public after Gov. Murphy admin says no

Stacey Barchenger | July 28, 2020 | |

New Jersey residents would gain a better understanding of how officials handled the coronavirus under a bill two Senate Democrats plan to introduce Tuesday to make more government documents subject to public scrutiny.

The bill changes a sentence in state law that Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration has repeatedly used to withhold information, including documents showing supplies of protective gear and equipment at hospitals and long-term care facilities or how officials coordinated with federal health experts in the pandemic’s earliest days.

“Emergencies are not the time for darkness because darkness breeds skepticism, suspicion and mistrust — the very last things New Jersey needs as we navigate these unchartered waters,” Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, said in a statement announcing the bill.

Weinberg said the bill is a response to reports by the Trenton Bureau of the USA TODAY NETWORK Atlantic Group, the Associated Press and NJ Advance Media, which publishes the Star-Ledger. The three individual news organizations in May compared notes about what records were being withheld.


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