Governor Phil Murphy

This Week in New Jersey: October 23, 2020


Governor Murphy Nominates Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education

Governor Phil Murphy announced his nomination of Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, Ed.D., as the next Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education.

“From day one, I pledged to select a Commissioner of Education with experience in public education. We fulfilled that promise through the nomination of Dr. Repollet, and maintain that promise today,” said Governor Murphy. “A product of New Jersey’s public schools, Angelica has worked at all levels of education and knows exactly what our teachers and students need to succeed. She is an exemplary educator and I’m confident she is the leader we need to carry our school communities through the remainder of this pandemic and beyond.”
“I’d also like to thank outgoing Interim Commissioner Kevin Dehmer for his tireless service during an unprecedented time for the Department and our state,” continued Governor Murphy. “He’ll continue to serve the DOE as CFO and Assistant Commissioner and will work alongside Angelica to advance an agenda that puts our students’ health, achievement, and well-being first, and maintains our state’s reputation as home to the nation’s best public education system.”

“I am a proud product of New Jersey’s magnificent public education system and I have dedicated my career to ensuring that the children of this state continue to get the type of education I received,” said incoming Acting DOE Commissioner Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan. “I am extremely proud the Governor has put his faith in me to continue New Jersey’s tradition of educational excellence.”


Governor Murphy Signs Sentencing Reform Legislation

Governor Phil Murphy signed three bills (A2370, A4371, and A4373) which together establish a compassionate release program for certain inmates, require a cost savings study of compassionate release programs and elimination of mandatory minimum terms, establish a "Corrections Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention Fund,” and add a defendant’s youth to the list of permissible mitigating factors a court may consider when sentencing a defendant.

“Our administration has been committed to criminal justice reform since day one, and we have taken many steps to address the wide disparities present in our justice system,” said Governor Murphy. “I am proud to sign these three bills today, which will further our commitment to sentencing reform.”

“However, it is imperative that we also enact existing legislation that implements the recommendations of the Criminal Sentencing and Disposition Commission to eliminate certain mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment for offenses specified by the Commission, allow the mandatory minimum reforms to apply retroactively, and allow for the resentencing of some inmates. We have made great progress on remaking our criminal justice system into one that reforms people instead of breaking them, but there is still much to be done. I look forward to working with advocates and our partners in the Legislature to see through the adoption of the rest of this critical bill package.”

“Today the Governor has signed three important bills into law,” said former Chief Justice Deborah Poritz, Chair of the Criminal Sentencing and Disposition Commission. “I urge the swift enactment of the Commission’s other recommendations, including the elimination of mandatory minimums as specifically identified by the Commission in its initial report.”

“The New Jersey Department of Corrections is proud to be part of the bi-partisan Criminal Sentencing Disposition Committee and seeing the committee’s recommendations to right-size disparities in the judicial system come to fruition,” said New Jersey Department of Corrections Commissioner Marcus O. Hicks, Esq. “Together with my committee members, we will continue to explore opportunities that support the well-being of all those in state custody while balancing public safety.”


Governor Murphy Signs Legislation Requiring Public Health Emergency Credits To Be Awarded to Certain Inmates and Parolees During a Public Health Emergency

Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation (S2519) which requires public health emergency credits to be awarded to certain inmates and parolees during a public health emergency. The legislation includes certain exclusions and prohibits inmates or parolees to contact their victims upon their release.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our administration has worked tirelessly to save as many lives as possible and to stem the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Murphy. “Since March, the population in State correctional facilities has decreased by nearly 3,000 people (16%), including more than 1,200 people who were released under Executive Order 124. This dramatic reduction has allowed for critical social distancing as part of the fight against COVID-19.

“Thanks to the efforts of our correctional leadership, the COVID-19 positivity rate among our incarcerated population is at an impressive low of 0.09%. But the threat of COVID-19 is still present,” continued Governor Murphy. “Reducing our prison population will undoubtedly further our mission to combat COVID-19. This law further reduces the prison population to allow for even more social distancing.”

"The New Jersey Department of Corrections has taken numerous steps, grounded in public health guidance, to ensure staff safety and the safety of those in the state's custody during this unprecedented pandemic," said New Jersey Department of Corrections Commissioner Marcus O. Hicks. Esq. "These measures, including E.O. 124 providing for the release of certain offenders, combined with paroles and individuals completing their sentences, has decreased our population by more than 2,800. The Department will continue to lend support and take action in furtherance of public health and public safety.”

“The State Parole Board recognizes Governor Murphy and the New Jersey State Legislature for their commitment in creating a safe, healthy, and sustainable parolee release program,” said New Jersey State Parole Board Chairman Samuel J. Plumeri, Jr. “This law takes into consideration those serving their sentences in our state prisons as well as those within the communities that they will return to.”


Governor Murphy Signs Legislation Requiring Reforms to Long-Term Care Industry

Governor Phil Murphy signed two bills (S2712 and S2785) ordering reforms to the long-term care industry. The bills implement recommendations from the Manatt Health Report, released on June 3, 2020.

S2712 requires minimum direct care staff-to-resident ratios in New Jersey long-term care facilities. Additionally, the legislation will establish the Special Task Force on Direct Care Workforce Retention and Recruitment. S2785 requires long-term care facilities to institute policies that prevent social isolation of residents, addressing issues experienced by LTC residents and their families as a result of prohibitions and limitations on visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Sadly, too many nursing homes are run by companies more interested in making money than protecting patients," said Governor Murphy. "These long-sought reforms will help bring accountability to the industry and protect residents, staff, and family members with a loved one living in a long-term care facility. I am proud to have worked with our partners in organized labor, health care advocates, and legislative sponsors to finally implement safe staffing ratios in our nursing homes, as well as other long overdue reforms."

“Staff caring for our most vulnerable residents in long-term care settings are the backbone of these facilities,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “As a nurse, I know there is no more important role than as a caregiver and all of those working in these facilities are healthcare heroes. We have to support this workforce and give them an opportunity to grow and advance in their careers, so it is not only a more rewarding job, but also results in improved care.”


Governor Murphy, Congressman Norcross Announce New Workforce Development Programs from Coronavirus Relief Fund

Governor Phil Murphy and Congressman Donald Norcross announced $14 million in additional Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to develop workforce development programs. The programs are designed to help businesses impacted by COVID-19 replenish their workforce and help jobless residents learn new skills that lead to successful reemployment.

“As this pandemic continues to threaten our public health, we must work to ensure that a stronger, fairer, and more resilient New Jersey emerges on the other side of COVID-19,” said Governor Murphy. “With today’s announcement, we are investing in opportunities for job training in our workforce that will reignite and grow our economy.”

“The Coronavirus pandemic has upended our economy, but we will recover by working together,” said Congressman Norcross. “Using federal CARES Act funding, New Jersey is helping workers and businesses get back on their feet. These workforce programs will help employers provide skill-building opportunities and on the job training, connecting New Jerseyans with the services they need to get the job they deserve.”

“The need is everywhere,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “We all know of businesses that are struggling or have closed, and workers who have been laid off or have had their hours drastically reduced as a result of the pandemic. We are grateful for the opportunity to use these funds to turn lives around and help our state recover economically.”