Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing for 10/23/2020:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “There’s no lapse of judgment here.” – Governor Murphy on the circumstances prompting him to quarantine
TOP STORY: Trouble in Bucco World
The statewide COVID-19 count stands at 224,385 cases and 14,474 fatalities (and 1,789 probable fatalities) as of Thursday; the viral transmission rate is 1.17. Governor Murphy and state officials held their COVID-19 briefing, a remote event due to the Governor’s quarantine. With over 1,000 new cases reported, Murphy said the numbers are ‘not pretty’ and ‘sobering’. Earlier in the morning, Murphy spoke on 1010 WINS about his quarantine, saying he’s asymptomatic and ‘I feel like a million bucks‘.
The NJDOL announced it has successfully processed $1.2B in FEMA payments towards the $300 supplemental benefit payments for eligible unemployment claimants.
The NJ Department of Children and Families announced that the state leads the nation in key child welfare performance areas.
Mercer County’s ballot tracking process is moving forward after a COVID-19 delay, according to Planet Princeton.
Passaic County is conducting a needs assessment for families and individuals.
Somerset County Clerk Peter reminded voters that today is the last day to request a replacement VBM through the USPS.
Senator Booker and Senate Foreign Relations Committee members called for an immediate end to police brutality in Nigeria.
Rep. Kim will hold his second annual Veterans Day telephone town hall.
ICYMI: Murphy to quarantine following COVID-19 exposure, Dan Bryan tested positive, DeLamater tested positive, Steinhardt demanded answers; Persichilli: ‘the virus has not stopped circulating‘; Pascrell, Malinowski attempt visit to mail processing center; Murphy announced launch of COVID-19 transparency site; Murphy has 60% approval; Adubato, Sr passed away; Murphy offered somber holiday advice; Murphy says ‘scalpel’ COVID strategy likely (iLine post)
Thousands of Jersey Shore VBMs were sent to the wrong place, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In CD5, Rep. Gottheimer touted his endorsement from the STFA.
The NJ Young Democrats launched a South Asian caucus.
The Somerset Surrogate’s race pits experience versus new ideas, according to NJ Hills.
ICYMI: King’s email missive likening ‘Chatham Moms For Change’ to ‘modern hate group’; Menendez fighting for Latino vote in FLl; Monmouth, Ocean GOPs event (iLine post); Callaway, working for Van Drew, jeered at Kennedy’s ground game in critical Atlantic County; CD7’s dueling ads; in CD11, rite of ‘bringing home the bacon’ wedged in race; Mehta, Booker debated; Smith, Schmid sparred at debate; Stockton: Trump competitive in SJ; Frelinghuysen spreading campaign cash (iLine); Small savaged Callaway; Kean Sr. touts Jr. (iLine); Sherrill, Becchi faced off again; Malinowski, Kean locked horns; STFA endorsements; Prempeh hopes to unseat Pascrell; Selen looks to defend seat; Sherrill, Becchi faced off; CD1, 2 nuggets; in CD3, state of the congressional race; names in potential Booker succession game; in CD2 battleground, Van Drew, Kennedy debate; Pallotta says Trump helps candidacy; Norcross visit to Picatinny sets off speculation; Bedminster bedlam; unions backing Trump; ACA center stage in CD11
The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the lifetime reappointment of state Supreme Court Justice Fernandez-Vino; it now goes to the full Senate for approval.
NJ’s cannabis industry operators formed a new trade group, according to Politico NJ.
Senator Scutari delayed a cannabis hearing following COVID-19 exposure (iLine post).
Senator Singleton introduced legislation to provide financial assistance to the child care industry.
Senator O’Scanlon urged the state join a New Hampshire lawsuit against Massachusetts over taxation of remote workers.
NJ Future announced the winners of the 2020 Smart Growth Awards.
The NJ League of Conservation Voters testified on the importance of stormwater utilities in improving the state’s water infrastructure.
The NJBIA expressed support for legislation that aims to avoid a unemployment insurance payroll tax hike.
In an exclusive partnership, Insider NJ and Latino Spirit combined forces to interview and film three of the state’s Latina legislators – Senators Ruiz and Pou and Assemblywoman Quijano – on their shared public interest stories and their origin stories on how they became involved in government and politics (video).
The Stephenine Dixon political origin story – and an ongoing Callaway rivalry.
In Bridgewater, officials’ taxpayer benefits are the costliest in the county, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Longport, Mayor Russo and Commissioner Leeds are in quarantine, according to Downbeach.
In Middletown, the GOP was accused of not filing ELEC reports, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Vineland, the police department wants to crack down on illegal ATV riders, according to the Courier Post.
In Woodbridge, COVID-19 cases in the schools doubled overnight, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Piscataway, the town retained its A++ rating from Standard and Poor’s.
In Hamilton (Mercer), the township announced aid to local businesses.
In Hoboken, the council pulled a school funding formula resolution from its agenda, according to the Jersey Journal.
In Lawrence, a PBA 119 vice president was indicted for official misconduct, according to the Trentonian.
In Branchburg, a battle is brewing over the warehouse ordinance, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Tewksbury, the former tax assessor filed a lawsuit against the town after an attempted termination, according to NJ Hills.
In Leonia, former Mondi Corp. employees protested, alleging they were unlawfully fired during the pandemic, according to the Bergen Record.
In Roseland, the council passed a resolution confirming public input at remote elections, according to TAPinto.
In Willingboro, Burlington County announced the opening of Willingboro Lakes Park.
In Lincroft, Bankier’s Library was awarded a competitive grant.
Insider NJ columnist Robert Hennelly writes ‘Atlantic City’s Warning for a Nation at the Crossroads‘
Insider NJ editor Max Pizarro writes ‘InsiderNJ Editorial: Ms. Donnetta Johnson for Hillsborough Twp. Committee‘
Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘A Trump Defeat can be Tracked to a Single Failure‘
Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘2020 Election – Georgia: A Harbinger of a New South‘
Insider NJ columnist and ELEC Executive Director Jeffrey Brindle writes ‘What’s Good for Political Parties Should be Good for Independent Spenders‘
In a guest column on Insider NJ, George Ball writes ‘The Land of Broken Toys‘
Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘NJ’s Political Potpourri (100% Pumpkin Spice-FREE )‘
AROUND THE WEB:
Jennifer Williams, Al Jazeera
- Last month, a Philippines criminal court granted US Marine Lance Corporal Robert Joseph Pemberton an early release from his ten-year prison sentence for killing a Filipino woman named Jennifer Laude in 2014. Miss Laude was found dead in a hotel room after the American serviceman strangled and drowned her in a hotel bathroom.
Tom Bergeron, roi-nj.com
- Gov. Phil Murphy said he thinks New Jersey can handle COVID-19 outbreaks by location, that he thinks the state is better prepared for a second wave and that he doesn’t want to shut the state down again. But there are no guarantees. Murphy, speaking Thursday morning on “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle,” was pressed on issues involving the business community, which has been devasted by rules and regulations related to COVID-19.
Gene Myers, NorthJersey.com
- Voters with disabilities — long ignored as a minority voice — may come together as a “sleeping tiger” in the general election due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has made health care and jobs their top priority, advocates said.
Erin Vogt, NJ1015
- Election officials at the county level have been dealing with the massive task of sorting through thousands of mail-in ballots returned as undeliverable. Cape May County Clerk Rita Fulginiti said with the 2020 election being mostly by mail, instead of sample ballots being sent out, each county has been directed to send postcards to voters who have not yet returned ballots.
John Mooney, NJ Spotlight
- As new COVID-19 cases see a resurgence statewide, New Jersey’s schools have so far appeared to fend off the worst of it and are actually shifting slowly to more in-school instruction. At least so far.
Mike Kelly, NorthJersey.com
- Four years ago, I set out to listen to America. What I discovered were two conversations — often two languages. In short, there was a national disconnect. As we face this year’s monumental presidential election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden in the coming days, those conversations are just as different and the disconnect is even wider.
Dan Radel, Asbury Park Press
- The race for three school board seats features several familiar faces in the city’s public schools. Running as a team for the three-year terms are incumbents Tasha Youngblood Brown, Lucille Perez and Armand R. Zambrano Jr. Between them they have over 40 combined years of experience on the board.
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger Editorial Board
- Sen. Tom Kean Jr. makes only one claim of substance in his campaign to unseat the incumbent in the 7th district, Rep. Tom Malinowski. It’s on health care, and it goes like this: Kean is a champion of bipartisan solutions to reduce costs, while protecting those with pre-existing conditions.
Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger
- I see that Bruce Springsteen has said he is going to move to Australia if Donald Trump wins. I think I’ll move to Australia if Donald Trump loses.
Matt Arco, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- After being hospitalized for a week in the intensive care unit with COVID-19, former Gov. Chris Christie has implored people to take simple steps to stay safe amid the coronavirus pandemic such as washing your hands, avoiding large crowds and — most importantly — wearing a mask.
Briana Vannozzi, NJ Spotlight
- The coronanvirus pandemic has highlighted the need and vulnerability of the public in finding reliable, accurate information critical to making safe and informed decisions. Election season has long been known for mudslinging and stretching the truth, but the advent of social media has brought that issue to new heights. From conspiracy theories, to misinformation, voters are being flooded with false facts.
Esther Davidowitz, NorthJersey.com
- If not now, then when? That’s what BYOBs are asking as they try to push for a proposed legislative change to the state’s liquor license laws that prohibit them from selling alcohol — and alcohol is a restaurant moneymaker.
Jeanne Wall, TAPinto.net
- It was a nice crowd of local, county and state republicans at the Grammercy in Hazlet on Wednesday. The Hazlet Republican Organization gathered to meet with their peers, including long time Committeeman Michael Sachs, who is running for re-election in Hazlet. Also in attendance was Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger, Freeholder Sue Kiley and other friends and neighbors in Hazlet, Holmdel, Keyport and beyond.
Hannan Adely, NorthJersey.com
- Veronica Diaz grew plants, stocked inventory and guided customers at special events at her job at a garden center, but she hasn’t worked in months. Like other parents, Diaz left her job to take care of a child after schools abruptly shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. She is eager to return but with remote learning still in place this fall, that has not been an option.
Judi Franco, NJ1015
- Innovative Parenting New Jersey is another group that is working to oppose the state Senate bill that would make it a crime to not wear a mask in places where there is posted signage requiring you to do so. They had planned a rally for Thursday, when the meeting of the Senate Judiciary committee was supposed to take place, but the meeting has mysteriously disappeared from the committee’s calendar.
Molly Bilinski, Press of Atlantic City
- The Cape May-Lewes Ferry was recognized by officials Wednesday for using environmentally friendly business practices.
Hannan Adely, NorthJersey.com
- Some New Jersey school districts are reconsidering plans to start in-person classes amid a worrying second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, while others press on with plans to bring students and staff back into classrooms.
Chris Jordan, Burlington County Times
- In founding his business Hip Hoppreneur, Willingboro native Cedric Muhammad set out to answer one question: Why haven’t arts, sports and entertainment stars fueled economic and community development for the communities that produce so much of the talent?
Joseph P. Smith, Vineland Daily Journal
- Cumberland County has told a state judge its jail is in “crisis” due to a staff shortage and it needs immediate approval to transfer 25 inmates to Salem County Jail, despite a New Jersey Office of the Public Defender lawsuit to indefinitely block transfers.