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For his sixth State of the State address, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy tackled a myriad of issues from housing affordability and taxes to reproductive rights, universal Pre-K, criminal justice reform, voting rights and medical debt resolution. He also issued a call for positioning New Jersey as a potential leader in the realm of generative AI.
“We may be a small state, but we have always thought and acted big,” he said. “And it is time to start thinking and acting big about generative AI.”
State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Dist. 15) thought Murphy “was firing on all cylinders.”
“He has a very, very comprehensive and very dynamic agenda for this year,” she said.
Asm. Erik Simonsen (R-Dist. 1) said he believes there is common ground on a lot of issues the governor raised in his speech.
“I think we’re in bipartisan agreements on a large majority of things he talked about,” he said.
On certain issues, where opinions do differ, he expressed keeping an open mind.
“I’m always open to negotiation and to hear other people’s opinions,” he added.
GOP Assembly Minority Leader John DiMaio was not impressed.
“The reality is the governor was talking some pie-in-the-sky things, our whole tax burden on our society is pretty much miserable,” he said.
‘Working even harder’ to make New Jersey more affordable
With world events, including a rise in hate crimes and the two wars overseas, as the backdrop, Murphy said “building a stronger, fairer, more inclusive New Jersey has never been more necessary.”
The governor is calling for a package of bills that helps families avoid medical debt and requires doctor bills “to be clear and transparent.”
“Pulling people out from crushing medical debt is vital,” he said. “But so is protecting them from falling down that hole in the first place.”
Murphy asked that the first part of the package be named for Louisa Carman, an aide to the governor who was killed in a car crash on New Year’s Day.
Citing a shortage of affordable housing units, the governor called for accessible homes to be built where they are needed most: “close to jobs, transit hubs, and Main Street businesses.”
The governor also announced a new clemency initiative and renewed his support for universal pre-K and same-day voter registration.