Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing for 1/17/2020:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It is unconscionable that they were held hostage to a politically motivated executive order that was illegitimate and unconstitutional.” – Senate President Sweeney on the unfreezing of Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 73 budget items
TOP STORY: The Cory Booker President to Senate Pivot
Governor Murphy’s Tax Incentive Task Force released its second report, finding that the NJEDA demonstrated a ‘getting to yes‘ culture and lacked a ‘robust due diligence and review process’ for certain disclosures. The report also dives into ‘phantom tax provisions‘ that were included in the 2013 Economic Opportunity Act, which the task force claims was to the benefit of Holtec International, one the companies focused on by the task force. The report highlights several recommendations for NJEDA. Read the report here.
NJ Citizen Action released a statement calling for ‘major reform’ of incentive programs.
Senator released annotations of key historical documents as the Senate begins President Trump’s impeachment trial.
Rep. Van Drew was appointed to the House Education and Labor Committee by congressional Republicans, according to Politico.
Rep. Sherrill will hold a town hall in Livingston on Jan. 30th.
Rep. Gottheimer commended the Senate passage of the USMCA deal.
The Problem Solvers Caucus, co-chaired by Rep. Gottheimer, launched a bipartisan working group to address war powers responsibilities.
Ex-Monmouth municipal Judge Thompson was disbarred over a ticket-fixing scheme, according to the Asbury Park Press.
The AFL-CIO of NJ is sponsoring the newly formed Union Veterans Council, chaired by Don DiLeo.
NJ Women Vote announced NJ Vote 100, a statewide mock election for students in grades 4-12.
ICYMI: Following SOS address, Murphy unveiled ‘Jobs NJ’, reiterated call for millionaire’s tax; Legislature gave ovation to Laura Seals; leaders reacted to State of State; SCOTUS waded into the Bridgegate appeal; Christie in attendance; Booker suspended prez campaign, Jersey Dems consider options, Currie keeping powder dry, Juliano searching for consensus, DeGise says ‘we’re all going to be talking about this‘; Muller state director for Bloomberg; Mehta jeered Booker, Steinhardt called him ‘absentee Senator‘; Monmouth poll finds four candidates clumped together in Iowa; key must-read pieces
Senator Cory Booker has quickly pivoted from his national ambitions to running for re-election to his Senate seat, following his suspension of his presidential campaign, while Jersey Democrats weigh their options. Earlier this week, Senator and former Governor Codey endorsed for Joe Biden, while Rep. Malinowski endorsed Biden a day earlier.
In CD2, Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank Holman endorsed Rep. Van Drew for re-election in the GOP primary, adding to Van Drew’s list of party leader support: Rep. Smith endorsed him on Wednesday, and GOP LD1 Senator Testa formally endorsed earlier this week. GOP primary candidate Bob Patterson chided Van Drew in a statement asking whether he’ll return contributions from Democratic House leaders following his party switch, calling it ‘dirty impeachment money’. The DCCC released a memo on protecting their House majority, including re-capturing CD2 from Van Drew, arguing that he may be incapable of winning the GOP primary.
In CD4, Assemblywoman Downey endorsed Stephanie Schmid in the Democratic primary.
In CD5, the national group Indivisible endorsed Rep. Gottheimer’s primary challenger Arati Kreibich.
In CD7, Rep. Malinowski has $2M COH heading into this year’s election, having raised over $600k in the final quarter of 2019. Malinowski kicked off his re-election campaign last weekend as he prepares for a potential showdown with LD21 Senator Tom Kean, should he win the GOP primary.
The Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of a student group against Montclair State University, alleging that their free speech rights were violated.
ICYMI: Dem groups called for withdrawal of Keady following intense forum; Mimms withdrew freeholder intent following Best re-election announcement, Mimms previously expressed interest in the seat; Wayne Witherspoon also expressed interest; Joe D. formally endorsed Murphy, exposing rupture and adding insult to party chair deal precluding Sweeney/Norcross, source says Sweeney ‘more dangerous than ever‘ for Murphy, since ‘everything can die in the Senate‘; in CD2, Richter fights against the shifting sands; in CD4, forum turned into intense challenge for Keady; Somerset’s Levine hopes to withstand wave that handed county control to Dems; Dunn to become ‘former’; Morris GOP convention for Darling seat, at least 4 vying
Here’s the full list of bills introduced in the new legislative session, here’s the Democratic and GOP legislative leadership positions, here are the Senate committee appointments, and here’s what happened in Trenton on Monday (the last day of 218th session).
The Treasury announced that, despite December moderation, revenue collections remained above target; Treasurer Muoio announced that the frozen budget items per Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 73 are anticipated to be released. Senate President Sweeney said ‘its about time!‘, adding that they ‘never should have been frozen in the first place’. Speaker Coughlin said he’s ‘pleased‘ with the reversal, adding that the Legislature was confident in their budget revenue projections. Assembly Majority Leader Greenwald said funding is ‘on its way’ but that that ‘subjecting funding for residents and the organizations that serve them to political ploys is never the right thing to do’. Assemblymen Mazzeo and Armato released a statement on the unfreezing of Stockton University funds, saying they are ‘relieved’ but that residents ‘deserve better’. Assemblyman Freiman said he’s ‘pleased‘ with the reversal, specifically noting construction projects in Hillsborough that can now move forward. The Sierra Club applauded the unfreezing of park funding, but said it ‘should have never been held in the first place’.
The Senate Select Committee on NJ Transit held a hearing yesterday, fielding complaints from riders with disabilities, according to NJTV.
Assemblyman Holley was re-appointed as Vice-Chair of the Assembly Homeland Security Committee.
The NJ Food Council celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gala event, according to ROI-NJ.
The Sierra Club released a statement warning of the dangers of over-salting the roads.
ICYMI: Sweeney sworn-in to sixth term, Coughlin sworn-in to second term; Lagana tossed off Judiciary Committee; Gopal will introduce campaign harassment guideline legislation; Murphy took action on bills; Murphy vetoed Sweeney’s school cap bill, calling for millionaire’s tax, Sweeney decried the veto as ‘height of hypocrisy for the Governor to play politics‘; vaccine bill point-counterpoint; Senate confirmed two Cabinet members; Murphy took action on bills; Weinberg praised Gordon nom for NJ Transit board
Listen to Politically Direct Episode 78 with host Fernando Uribe and Insider NJ reporter Fred Snowflack.
Governor Murphy once again short-circuits the room with an obscure literary reference in his State of the State address.
Heading into next year, five Republicans to watch as the gubernatorial field begins to take shape.
In Teaneck, Mayor Hameeduddin announced he won’t seek re-election after serving in elected office for over ten years.
In Paterson, the Ward 3 council race becomes complicated with the entry of activists Sharieff Bugg, according to Paterson Press.
In Atlantic City, among Mayor Small’s 2020 goals is tearing down Trump Plaza, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Hoboken, the council approved an increase in the annual parking permit fee by over three times the current amount, according to Hudson County View.
In Chester Borough, the Highlands Council designated the borough as a Highlands Center.
In Pleasantville, the BOE is seeking public input on school safety, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Boonton, the state approved a medical marijuana grow facility, according to the Daily Record.
In Raritan Borough, Michael Patente was selected to fill the council vacancy left by Zach Bray, according to TAPinto.
ICYMI: In Bayonne, O’Donnell’s first court appearance following indictment; in Jersey City, debate intensifies over BOE proposal; in Paterson, Jackson seeking re-election; in East Hanover, O’Donnell bowed out as attorney, and wasn’t re-appointed in Mt. Arlington following AG’s five indictments of officials
Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘Doubling Back on Bridgegate and the Dazzle of Arrogance‘
Insider NJ reporter Fred Snowflack writes ‘Supreme Court will Overturn – but not Vindicate‘
Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘Carveouts, Loopholes, Half Measures, a Trenton Specialty‘
In a guest column on Insider NJ, Murphy Administration Deputy Chief of Staff Deborah Cornavaca writes ‘Cornavaca Responds to Sunday Star-Ledger Editorial‘
Insider NJ columnist Tom Barrett writes ‘LeRoy Jones And The Long Game‘
AROUND THE WEB:
Matt Friedman, Ryan Hutchins, and Sam Sutton, Politico
- The task force appointed by Gov. Phil Murphy to investigate New Jersey’s corporate subsidy programs released its second report Thursday, making a broad, new set of allegations against companies and people tied to South Jersey Democratic power broker George Norcross.
Rachel Kramer Bussel, Rewire News
- When U.S. House Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) of my southern New Jersey congressional district switched to the Republican Party in December, he surprised many—but not local progressives like myself who already saw him as a Democrat in name only.
Art Gallagher, More Monmouth Musings
- Monmouth County Freeholder Director Tom Arnone was in the U.S. Capitol today getting a tour from Congressman Chris Smith when the House Impeachment Managers came marching by on their way to the Senate. Video footage by ABC News shows Arnone apparently laughing and pointing at Chairmen Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler.
George Woolston, Burlington County Times
- Prosecutors argue that due to the charges an ex-Bordentown Township police chief was facing, what the former chief alleges as improper behavior is exactly what jurors should have considered in their deliberations.
Stephanie A. Faughnan, TAPinto Manahawkin
- Few would dispute that Long Beach Island well earns its lustrous reputation. In season, generations of families spend time together enjoying the sun, sand, and surf. Locals collectively treasure the serenity when visitors go home. Meanwhile, the bridge to and from paradise suggests a story of another kind.
Meg Fry, roi-nj.com
- Following Gov. Phil Murphy’s State of the State address Tuesday in Trenton, Michele Siekerka said she is fired up. “We just came out of an extremely intense ‘lame duck’ (legislative session) where we fought like crazy to push back bad policy for New Jersey business, our taxpayers and nonprofits, and things that address the issues of lack of affordability and regional competitiveness in the state,” Siekerka, CEO and president of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, said.
Steve Novak, For lehighvalleylive.com
- A medical marijuana facility in Phillipsburg is closer to reality. The New Jersey Department of Health on Thursday announced it has approved a Morris County marijuana-growing operation for TerrAscend, which will provide marijuana for the company’s eventual treatment center in Warren County.
Wayne Parry, Associated Press
- The CEO of Hard Rock International says Atlantic City “is going in the wrong direction” and is in worse shape than when the global entertainment company bought its casino there nearly three years ago. Speaking after an employee meeting Thursday where Hard Rock handed out bonuses totaling $2 million to nearly 2,900 full-time employees, Jim Allen said the company is willing to be part of the solution in Atlantic City, but is not encouraged by recent developments.
Colleen O’Dea, NJ Spotlight
- New Jersey just completed its biannual changing of the State House guard, with the swearing in of the 219th Legislature and the start of a new cycle of lawmaking. All the bills left pending in the Senate or Assembly at the end of a legislative session — the 218th ended at noon Tuesday — are tossed out, so the new session starts with essentially a clean slate. But the first week of a new session is also a kind of limbo for those bills and resolutions that passed both houses of the Legislature in the waning days of the session because the governor still gets time to consider them.
Press of Atlantic City
- All the details you need to know for President Trump’s upcoming rally in Wildwood.
Dustin Racioppi, Trenton Bureau
- To hear Gov. Phil Murphy tell it, Chris Christie ran NJ Transit off the tracks in large part by cutting the state subsidy by 90 percent and raiding its capital budget to cover operating costs, among other practices.
Jersey Journal Editorial
- With the November elections more than nine months away, there’s time for the Jersey City Council to undo its misguided effort to fix what’s wrong with the city school board with a referendum that could result in a mayor-appointed board replacing the current elected one.
Brett Friedensohn, New Jersey Hills
- After a decade of working for political campaigns throughout the country, Julie McClain Downey returned to her childhood home to try to send Cory Booker to the White House.
Raven Santana, NJTV
- Who let New Jersey have a twitter account? According to @NJGov, “Your mom.” Correspondent Raven Santana caught up with the two Jersey girls, Pearl Gabel and Megan Coyne, behind the infamous memes and tweets gone viral on the state’s official twitter account.
Sam Wood, Philadelphia Inquirer
- In a ruling that could have far-reaching effects, an appeals court in New Jersey ruled this week that a contractor must reimburse a former employee for the cost of the medical marijuana that he uses to treat his incessant pain from a work-related injury.