Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Those are all very good signs — still not out of the woods, but all very good signs” – Governor Murphy on decreases in the state’s COVID-19 transmission rate, hospitalizations, and positivity test rate
TOP STORY: The Dunn Run
The statewide cumulative COVID-19 count stands at 1,731,512 cases and 27,251 confirmed fatalities (and 272,068 probable cases and 2,869 probable fatalities) as of Monday (an increase of 8,267 confirmed cases, 1,155 probable cases, 32 lab-confirmed fatalities, and 78 hospital-reported fatalities from the previous day). The viral transmission rate is 1.02. There are 5,307 total hospitalizations, with 900 in intensive care units. There are 6,517,897 people fully vaccinated.
Governor Murphy visited the Eastside Firehouse in Passaic City to commend firefighters for their heroism during the chemical plant fire on Saturday.
Governor Murphy lifted the states of emergency due to the winter storms at the beginning of January.
NJPBS will broadcast the second inaugurations of Governor Murphy and LG Oliver starting at 11am.
Morris County Sheriff Gannon touted the early benefits of the Park Police merger with the Sheriff Department.
Passaic County Commissioner Gallo was sworn-in, the first Republican in over 10 years elected county-wide.
Senator Booker introduced the ‘Strengthening the Public Health Workforce Act’.
Rep. Gottheimer introduced the ‘Medical and Health Stockpile Accountability Act’.
Rep. Kim will hold a town hall on service and volunteerism.
Rep. Sherrill applauded HUD Healthy Homes Production Grant funding awarded to Morris Habitat for Humanity.
The Great Swamp Watershed Association will hold a free webinar on ‘Landscaping for a Healthy Environment’.
ICYMI: Murphy signed the ‘Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act’; Murphy, Oliver to be sworn-in on Tuesday; Murphy delivered his State of the State; Murphy reinstated public health emergency; Booker announced two new hires
In CD2, Rep. Van Drew has over $1M COH heading into the election year, according to SaveJersey.
In CD4, former House Speaker Gingrich endorsed Rep. Smith, according to SaveJersey.
In CD7, Morris County Democrats expressed support for Rep. Malinowski’s re-election bid.
ICYMI: Fight of the Week: Webber v. Selen; Wallace shared reasoning on map; Rizzo announced CD7 candidacy; in CD11, Anderson launched GOP primary candidacy; Myers announced candidacy for Morris Commissioner; Neibart announced candidacy for Morris Commissioner
Governor Murphy took action on dozens of bills.
The Treasury announced that FY2022 revenue collections remained strong in December.
Senator Corrado criticized Governor Murphy over high property taxes.
Assemblywoman Speight posted on Facebook that her son was the victim of an armed robbery.
The NJDOL announced $3.9M in funding available for paid summer youth internships.
The NJDHS highlighted its wireless devices pilot program for eligible deaf and hard-of-hearing residents.
The NJBIA is hosting a ‘Pathways To Career Opportunities’ virtual meeting tomorrow.
ICYMI: Murphy nominated Kuhn as NJDOC Commissioner; Senate committee assignments; Scutari appointed Codey to leadership; Scutari defeated Gill, vowed to be bipartisan; Coughlin reaffirmed, says ‘life in NeJ is expensive‘
Watch former Senate President Sweeney’s exit interview with NJ Spotlight News’ David Cruz on Chat Box.
Former Obama State Director Mark Alexander edited and wrote, with others, a book on the January 6th Capitol riot.
Insider NJ’s Compliance Corner: The ELEC compliance calendar for 2022.
In Trenton, Atalaya Armstrong announced her candidacy for the West Ward council seat. The NLRB closed its investigation into Clerk Conlon’s complaint against a union, according to the Trentonian. Council President McBride accused Mayor Gusciora of trying to force a hearing on Clerk Conlon, according to the Trentonian.
In Passaic, Assemblyman Schaer commended the fire department for their efforts combatting a large fire.
In Atlantic City, the Casino Association announced that casinos saw modest revenue growth last year.
In Caldwell, the mayor expects demolition of the municipal complex to begin in April, according to NJ Hills.
In East Brunswick, Councilman Spadafino resigned, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Fair Lawn, the town is considering an ordinance to regulate roosters, according to the Bergen Record.
In Harding, a lack of volunteers could lead to a paid ambulance service, according to NJ Hills.
In High Bridge, a new cannabis ordinance was introduced to strong public dissent, according to NJ Hills.
In Hoboken, the BOE hit back at a group’s claims against the proposed $241M school referendum, according to Hudson County View.
In Jersey City, a meeting on the ward boundaries was rescheduled due to Zoom issues, according to Hudson County View.
In Madison, officials discussed tree health threats, according to NJ Hills.
In Mendham Township, a $24M referendum will be decided next week, according to NJ Hills.
In Mount Olive, the BOE reorganized with allegations, warnings, and a resignation, according to NJ Hills.
In Paterson, the city claims a 100% COVID-19 vaccination rate, but the data has flaws, according to Paterson Press. Former Councilman Morris was chosen as Chairman of the Greater Paterson Chamber of Commerce, according to Paterson Times.
In Somerville, Councilman Kotuba’s resignation triggers the replacement process, according to TAPinto.
In Toms River, Mayor Hill reminded retailers not to blame the town when instituting their own mask mandates, according to NJ101.5.
In Wall, Senator Sarlo called for the resignations of the BOE and superintendent in the wake of the hazing scandal, according to NJ.com.
In Washington Township (Warren), frustrated residents called a summit to warn neighbors about contaminated water, according to Lehigh Valley Live.
In West Milford, the town is considering changes to land use boards, according to NorthJersey.com.
ICYMI: In Rockaway, Puzio resigned from office; in Bayonne, Carroll will run with Davis; in Paterson, Sayegh appointed Director of Policy and Planning; in Trenton, Councilman Blakeley resigning; in Chatham Township, Felice assumed mayoralty; in Bayonne, LaPelusa will run on Davis ticket; in Lumberton, LaPlaca will serve as mayor again; in Absecon, LaRotonda sworn-in as youngest councilman; in Randolph, hundreds packed final BOE meeting; in Millburn, Miggins selected mayor; in Mt Holly, Jones re-appointed mayor; in Parsippany, Barberio takes control, Soriano has new role
Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘New Jersey LGBTQ Political Round Up‘
Insider NJ columnist Bob Hennelly writes ‘MLK’s Mountaintop Never So Far Away‘
Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘National Congressional Elections, 2022: The Democrats Still Can Prevail‘
Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘Florio and Trump: Grace and Gracelessness Under Pressure‘
AROUND THE WEB:
Tom Bergeron, roi-nj.com
- John Harmon laughs at the memory. He clearly remembers the way Martin Luther King Jr. Day was commemorated just a few years ago. Companies and elected officials would come around with a few bucks and a lot of empty promises on their commitment to the Black community. And then they would disappear again. Until the next election. “Times have changed,” Harmon said.
Michael Aron, NJ Spotlight
- Tuesday, Jan. 18 will mark the beginning of Gov. Phil Murphy’s second term in office. Murphy won reelection in November by a slim margin over Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli but lost Democratic allies in both the Senate and Assembly from an unexpected “red wave” of voters.
Karin Price Mueller, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- More than 100 consumers have filed complaints with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs about the pricing of at-home COVID tests at more than 50 retailers, the agency said.
Kevin Coughlin, Morristown Green
- Enough lip service to Martin Luther King. America faces a crisis of democracy, and must follow the slain Civil Rights leader’s example of nonviolent action for a “moral re-set,” the Rev. William J. Barber II said Monday in a virtual MLK Day address to Morristown.
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger
- Democrats in New Jersey hold a 10-2 advantage in Congress, and just won the fight on redistricting, so you might think they could improve their position. But no.
Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger
- I happened to be in Florida when the COVID-19 pandemic began in earnest. That was in March of 2020.
Charles Stile, NorthJersey
- There is growing concern that Republican-controlled legislatures in the South and Midwest are determined to suppress turnout of Black and Latino voters by tweaking the fine points of election laws. But in the New Jersey governor’s race 40 years ago, there was nothing subtle about the voter suppression tactics that the Republican National Committee was accused of deploying in New Jersey on Election Day in 1981.
Alan J. Steinberg
- It is said that a day in politics can be a lifetime. Similarly, two decades in politics can constitute an eon. Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, is a most significant anniversary in the history of New Jersey. Yet even the most dedicated followers of Jersey politics will doubtless fail to notice it.
Melanie Burney, Philadelphia Inquirer
- For the last two weeks, social studies teacher Eric El has tried to find ways to keep his students engaged and learning at home on their laptops. An eighth-grade teacher at Morgan Village Middle School in Camden, El watches carefully for the telltale signs: heads nodding, eyes glazing over, and cameras turning off.
Eric Scott, NJ1015
- For the first time since New Year’s Day, New Jersey’s seven-day average of new positive COVID tests has dropped below 20,000. It’s the latest encouraging sign the omicron surge is slowing. On Sunday, the state reported just over 14,000 new cases. The rate of transmission (r/t) has also dropped, now at 1.09. A week ago it was 1.55. Public health officials strive for that rate to be below 1.0.
Nikita Biryukov, NJ Monitor
- Gov. Phil Murphy nominated acting Corrections Commissioner Victoria Kuhn to permanently head the Department of Corrections Thursday. Kuhn, who was chief of staff to former Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks, has held the position an acting basis since Hicks resigned in June over severe inmate beatings at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility, the state’s only women’s prison.
- Photo gallery of The Record pages highlighting the Kean-Florio election of 1981.
Mike Deak, MyCentralJersey.com
- A former Hunterdon County assistant prosecutor has been named assistant commissioner of the state Department of Corrections’ Special Investigations Division (SID). Kelly Daniels, who has prosecuted cases of abuse at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, will supervise the SID, which oversees investigations into violations of state laws, departmental policies and procedures by inmates, employees and individuals who visit state correctional facilities.