Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The state needs to get back to the middle where 80% of the people are.” – Senate President Sweeney
The statewide cumulative COVID-19 count stands at 1,089,151 cases and 25,582 confirmed fatalities (and 166,742 probable cases and 2,827 probable fatalities) as of Wednesday (an increase of 2,471 confirmed cases, 890 probable cases, and 20 lab-confirmed fatalities from the previous day). The viral transmission rate is 1.16. There are 6,202,095 people fully vaccinated.
Voter turnout in the gubernatorial election was 40%, according to the NJ Division of Elections (iLine post).
A former State Trooper was sentenced to prison after pledging guilty in connection to an incident in which he stalked a female motorist.
A lawsuit alleges that officers coerced sex from an inmate at the Cumberland County Jail, according to the Courier Post.
Senator Booker introduced a World AIDS Day resolution.
Rep. Gottheimer urged the SEC to investigate Unilever filings following the announcement that Ben & Jerry’s are boycotting a sale of products in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Rep. Sherrill’s office collected over 3,000 thank you letters for veterans written by CD11 residents.
Rep. Pascrell announced a hearing by the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee on ‘The Pandora Papers and Hidden Wealth’.
ICYMI: Sherrill wants SALT deduction; Murphy: ‘we’re not there yet‘ on lifting student masks; House Dems celebrated Build Back Better passage, with SALT crucial; Holmes’ name in mix for AC prosecutor; Christie ‘definitely thinking about‘ prez run; Murphy: ‘we got to connect more deeply‘; Sherrill made case for infrastructure; Sweeney bowed out and conceded, submitting to ‘red wave’
During a ceremony in his honor yesterday, Senate President Sweeney vowed to remain active in politics, saying he ‘will be back, probably sooner than you think‘ and that he has a ‘lot of great things left to do’.
Former Morris County Commissioner Cesaro requested a judge dismiss a six-count indictment against him, according to Morristown Green.
The Monmouth County GOP touted their election victories.
Download and read Senator Weinberg’s 2021 Women’s Power List publication.
ICYMI: LD2, 8 among top five costliest races; SJ source pushes back on Sweeney-Van Drew hypothetical; Morris’ Ali in gear for midterms; Middlesex rising and observations; Lassiter’s interview with Altman; Lassiter’s interview with Guardian; Redistricting commission held a public meeting; Pallotta underwhelmed by DeGregorio candidacy; Sooy, Robinson prevailed; county party fundraising reached highest levels since 2009; Diaz decried ‘Corzine-level energy’; Burzichelli on wipeout
Here’s what’s on tap under the Gold Dome today.
Incoming Senate President Scutari named Senator Pou to the Senate leadership team, serving as the newly-created position of Senate Majority Caucus Chair.
Senate Republicans filed a court challenge to block the enforcement of the Statehouse’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate policy, as the Legislature heads into a legislative session today at the Capitol. Senate Minority Leader Kean said a favorable ruling would be a ‘big win for open, transparent, and accessible government’.
Governor Murphy joined advocates in support of the Reproductive Freedom Act.
Groups are pushing legislators to create a reparations task force, according to NJ Monitor.
ICYMI: Conaway promoted Zupko to COS; GOP on collision course over Statehouse vaccine mandate; Dems’ difficulty in advancing RFA; Senator Testa hired Geist as COS; Murphy appointed Lipman as Rate Counsel director; Lassiter’s interview with Senator Schepisi; Pennacchio and Testa introduced legislation taking aim at CRT; Scutari affirmed as Senate President Gill says ‘process has just begun‘
Insider NJ’s Fred Snowflack’s review of Chris Christie’s new book ‘Republican Rescue’.
Download and read Insider NJ’s 2021 Insider 100: Power publication.
Download and read Insider NJ’s 2021 General Election publication and download and read the 2021 Insider Out 100: LGBTQ Power List written by Jay Lassiter, and download and read Insider NJ’s 2021 Millennials publication.
In Newark, East Ward Councilman Amador’s impending retirement sets up a three-way race to succeed him next year. ELEC finalized its decision regarding alleged violations of campaign finance law by Mayor Baraka’s 2017 campaign and treasurer.
In Belleville, Mayor Melham announced his intention to seek re-election next year.
In Bayonne, BOE Trustee Watson resigned due to moving outside the city, according to Hudson County View.
In Bloomfield, the town is looking to update its marijuana retailer ordinance, according to NorthJersey.com.
In Bordentown, the jury deadlocked again in the hate crimes retrial of former Police Chief Nucera, according to the Trentonian.
In Clinton, Mayor Kovach invited residents to a town hall about the new community center and police station, according to NJ Hills.
In Harding, major votes are expected this month, according to NJ Hills.
In Howell, an $8.7M settlement ended the anti-Semitism lawsuit, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Long Hill, the town is revisiting flood mitigation efforts, according to NJ Hills.
In Trenton, the council is moving towards firing Clerk Conlon, according to the Trentonian.
ICYMI: In Newark, Bridgeforth considers the terrain, political establishment attention on West Ward; in Paterson, Sayegh’s wide-ranging interview, w/ Insider NJ; in Bayonne, city heads into election mode; in Newark, Diaz announced mayoral run; in Chatham, Abbot withdrew challenge; in Newark, Baraka considered infrastructure bill; in Paterson, Torres imbroglio continues; in Newark, Montague will run for mayor, heading into significant election year, including politically volatile Central Ward
Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘The SALT Controversy: Its effect on New Jersey Congressional Elections‘
Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘Murphy Needs to Confront the Anger out there‘
Insider NJ columnist Bob Hennelly writes ‘Dems on a Luxury Glide Path to 2022 Defeat‘
Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘Lame Duck Wish List‘
AROUND THE WEB:
Laura Olson, New Jersey Monitor
- When paid family leave was briefly dropped from congressional Democrats’ massive social spending and climate bill earlier this fall, the outcry was swift. Women and caregivers suddenly were calling lawmakers and advocates, and they were sharing their own stories on social media in huge numbers, said Dawn Huckelbridge, director of Paid Leave for All, a national advocacy group, during a virtual event with reporters on Tuesday.
Mike Condon, New Jersey Hills
- “Very good” might be a bit of an understatement for the current real estate market in the Roxbury and Mount Arlington areas.
Imani R. Oakley
- New Jersey has a voter disenfranchisement problem and it’s time to address it. The key to a functioning democracy is that voters get to choose their representatives in fair and free elections. These contests rarely — if ever — exist in our state and if the political machine gets its way with this year’s redistricting process, our democracy will get even worse.
Matt Rooney, Save Jersey
- Jack Ciattarelli may’ve come up short in November, but the closeness of the race suggests Republican momentum heading into the 2022 midterm cycle. New Jersey Republicans gained a net of 1,762 new registered voters in November while Democrats picked up only 404. That’s according to the latest data released Wednesday by the Division of Elections.
Colleen O’Dea, NJ Spotlight
- After much conjecture about who did and didn’t vote in New Jersey’s general election, the final number of ballots cast ended up the highest for a New Jersey gubernatorial election in at least 20 years, according to data from the state Division of Elections.
Jackie Roman, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- Only 40% of eligible voters cast their ballots in the 2021 election, making it among one of the lowest turnouts for a gubernatorial race in the past century.
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger
- Democrats in Blue Jersey were the first to gripe when President Trump shaped his 2017 tax cut to deliver most of the cash to the wealthiest among us, while leaving crumbs for the middle-class. So, it is quite a spectacle to see them now, doing the same thing. If it was a sop to the rich when Trump did it, isn’t it the same when Democrats do it?
John Reitmeyer, NJ Spotlight
- The latest plan for spending some of New Jersey’s remaining federal pandemic aid allocates more funding for hospitals and eviction-prevention efforts while also underwriting several other initiatives, including land preservation and redevelopment programs. Funding is also set aside for community center projects in Montclair and Pennsauken, according to a proposal that was approved by a special legislative budget panel on Tuesday.
Cheryl Makin, MyCentralJersey.com
- Since the issue was first raised during “Banned Book Week” at September’s North Hunterdon Regional Board of Education meeting, there is still no decision on the complaint about books deemed “obscene” by a group of parents as of November’s board meeting.
Scott Fallon, NorthJersey.com
- When COVID-19 variants were first detected in New Jersey in January, the state lacked the ability to identify these new mutations on a large scale, causing setbacks in determining their prevalence and tracking outbreaks. But over 11 months, laboratories have made significant improvements to speed up the process.
Eric Scott, NJ1015
- In the aftermath of the November election, Democratic Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said, “There was clearly a message that was sent by voters last Tuesday. We’re going to sit down and figure out what that was.” On Tuesday I moderated a panel of legislative leaders for the New Jersey Business & Industry Association’s 2022 Public Policy Forum held at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Woodbridge.
Daniel Munoz, NJBIZ
- New Jersey employers should not expect the hiring shortage to end soon, and employees will likely have leverage for quite some time. That’s according to a group of experts gathered for a Nov. 30 NJBIZ panel discussion titled The Great Resignation: Recruit & Retain, which covered a variety of issues related to hiring in a difficult environment. “We don’t see this as a temporary situation,” said Manisha Subramanian, the owner and strategic partner at the Edison recruiting firm PrideStaff & G.A. Rogers.