GOP Lawmakers Blocked From Entering New Jersey Statehouse Over COVID-19 Mandate; People Rally to Protest the Mandate

By Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska
Reporter
Ella Kietlinska is a New York-based reporter for The Epoch Times.
December 22, 2021 Updated: December 22, 2021

On Monday six Republican lawmakers who refused to show their COVID-19 vaccine card or test were blocked by state police from entering the New Jersey Statehouse. New Jerseyans rallied on the same day to protest the recently adopted COVID-19 policy for entering the state legislature.

People gathered in front of the New Jersey Statehouse to protest against the COVID-19 policy enacted in November that requires all persons including lawmakers, staff, and the public who attend all gatherings and meetings in the state capitol building to show either proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or the negative result of a COVID-19 PCR test performed within the last 72 hours.

Epoch Times Photo
Assemblyman Jay Webber (L) and Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R) speak at the United We Stand Freedom Rally in Trenton, N.J., on Dec. 20, 2021. (Courtesy of Children’s Health Defense/CDH.TV/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

When speaking at the rally, Assemblyman Jay Webber (R) and Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R) said that they and four other Republican assemblymen earlier in the morning were prohibited from entering the legislature building because they refused to show their vaccination or negative test proof.

The Republican lawmakers, however, were able to enter the Assembly chambers on Dec. 2 when the new COVID-19 policy took effect. At that time they were able to go to their seats in the Statehouse without showing any proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status, Webber said.

On Dec. 2 the lawmakers asked security guards very politely but very firmly whether they would restrain the lawmakers physically if they go to their seats and the guards answered ‘no,’ Webber explained. As a result, the legislators were able to attend the voting session on that day.

“We stood up back on December 2, we had a voting session, we went to the floor and we refused to comply with what we believe to be an unconstitutional and illegal mandate.”

The policy to restrict entry to the Statehouse “was a discriminatory move, but it stands for us,” Webber said.

The next voting session, originally planned for last week, was pushed to Monday, Dec. 20, but the security was “amped up” and the six Republican lawmakers were not allowed to enter the legislative building, Webber said.

On Monday around 9 a.m., Webber and DiMaso together with the four other Republican Assemblymen tried to enter the Statehouse to attend a voting session, Webber told the rally.

The police told them “The doors are locked. You’re not allowed,” Webber said.

“We have a constitutional crisis on December 20, because the Constitution of the state of New Jersey says that duly elected members of the Assembly shall not be arrested, can’t be impeded going to the legislative session unless you’re accused of treason or high misdemeanors.”

Webber said that he and DiMaso both asked the state police in the morning: “Are we accused of treason? They [the police] said ‘no.’ Are we accused of a high misdemeanor? They [the police] said ‘no.’” However the police did not allow them to enter the building, Webber continued.

The Republican legislators were challenging the COVID-19 vaccination policy in court, Webber said. “We are going to court to vindicate the rule of law.”

A judge denied their request later on the same day, according to NJ.com.

After being denied entry to the Statehouse the Republicans had to vote outside of the Assembly Chambers, saidAssemblyman Erik Peterson (R) on Facebook. He was one of the six lawmakers denied entry to the Statehouse for refusing to reveal their COVID-19 status.

‘Voting Is More Important Than Ever’

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Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger speaks at the United We Stand Freedom Rally in Trenton, N.J., on Dec. 20, 2021. (Courtesy of Children’s Health Defense/CDH.TV/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

The rally’s motto was “United We Stand” and participants were holding signs and chanting slogans such as “We The People,” “Freedom,” and “This Is Our House,” which referred to the New Jersey Statehouse.

Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger (R) who joined the other Republicans said at the rally: ”A couple of weeks ago, we did take a temperature, we walked to our tests, we were behind Plexiglas, we didn’t have one incident of transmission [of COVID-19]. … Now they’re instituting this hardline lockdown.

“I think it’s as much to keep you folks out, as it is to keep us out. And if you can’t come in, I’m not going in,” Scharfenberger told rally attendees.

“If with a protective veneer of elected office that we have, if they can do this to us, imagine what they can do to you,” he said. “We’re gonna keep fighting this until it turns around.”

Scharfenberger stressed the importance of voting: “Voting, we see it, voting is more important than ever.

“There is another election coming up, the following November, and that’s when we’re gonna make some changes,” he told protesters.

In the November 2021 election, Republicans defeated two Democrat incumbents in the New Jersey Senate and flipped six New Jersey Assembly seats, but Democrats will still hold the majority in both chambers of the state legislature.

Ninth Amendment

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Tricia Lindsay, civil rights attorney, speaks at the United We Stand Freedom Rally in Trenton, N.J., on Dec. 20, 2021. (Courtesy of Children’s Health Defense/CDH.TV/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Civil rights attorney Tricia Lindsay encouraged people at the rally to take advantage of the Ninth Amendment,

Lindsay said that most courts will not even apply this amendment because  “it gives so much power to the people, because what it says is that any rights that are not enumerated in the Constitution are given to the people.”

“We the People, we are the lesser magistrates, we have to stand, we have a right to interpose ourselves between this unjust federal government and its laws.”

Lindsay rhetorically asked why a vaccine that does not prevent transmission of the disease is forced on everyone to take. Those who want to take it should take it, she said.

“We have to keep pushing, we have to demand our legislatures to stand up for us. And if they will not, then they need to vacate their seats. And I’m talking about all the way up,” the attorney told people.

Learning From Others’ Mistakes

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Mary Holland, President and General Counsel of Children’s Health Defense speaks at the United We Stand Freedom Rally in Trenton, N.J., on Dec. 20, 2021. (Courtesy of Children’s Health Defense/CDH.TV/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Mary Holland, J.D., the President and General Counsel of Children’s Health Defense organization, told rally attendees about similar restrictions in Latvia, a country in Eastern Europe, where lawmakers already cannot sit with their legislature unless they’re vaccinated.

The Latvian government enacted a law in November banning unvaccinated people from performing their jobs and even duly elected Members of Parliament (MPs) cannot participate in the debates, voting, or deliberations—not even remotely via video call.

Latvian MP Māris Možvillo wrote to The Epoch Times, “I would like to inform you about the processes that are taking place with us.” Informing other countries may help them to avoid the mistakes that our country made, Možvillo said.

Holland warned that COVID-19 restrictions started from two weeks of lockdowns to flatten the curve, then they progressed to a requirement to show testing papers or vaccination papers.

“If you think that this will be the last step in this progression. You’re wrong,” Holland said. There are talks about excluding people who are not vaccinated from society, she added.

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People rallying in front of the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, N.J., on Dec. 20, 2021. (Courtesy of Children’s Health Defense/CDH.TV/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Holland also said that COVID-19 is a real illness “but these vaccines, so-called, these experimental biologics are the most radical medical experiments in human history. … this is not a vaccine in any ordinary sense, it doesn’t stop transmission.”

“Nothing that’s happening today would be possible without the propaganda and censorship that are going along with it. Don’t forget that … those of us who are standing here are being radically censored on all of the social media platforms.” Holland said.

The Children’s Health Defense organization challenges social media companies in court for censoring the organization and its founder and chairman Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Holland told people at the rally.

“We’ve got lots of lawsuits going in a variety of states about mandates—mandates for PCR testing, mandates for vaccines, mandates for masks,” including cases in New York and California, the president of Children’s Health Defense said.

Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska is a New York-based reporter for The Epoch Times.