Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “They’re the only two branches that can figure this out, and they’re not getting the job done.” – State Bar Association President Jeralyn Lawrence on the ongoing judicial vacancy crisis
TOP STORY: The Best Route for Paul DeGroot
See the daily COVID-19 numbers on the NJDOH’s dashboard.
With over 14,000 vehicles stolen in the state this year, officials are pushing for tougher penalties, according to NJ.com.
NJ offshore wind projects are facing pushback, according to the Asbury Park Press.
Burlington County urged residents to get flu* and COVID-19 vaccinations. (Yesterday’s MIB erroneously wrote ‘fly’ instead of ‘flu’)
Morris County officials bid farewell to outgoing Commissioner DeFillippo, according to TAPinto.
Ocean County increased funding for senior services, according to TAPinto.
Senator Booker introduced the ‘Family Farmer and Rancher Tax Fairness Act’.
Rep. Smith’s ‘Kyle Mullen Naval Safety Enhancements Act’ was included in the 2023 NDAA.
Rep. Sherrill touted the inclusion of the ‘Daniel Anderle Judicial Security and Privacy Act’ in the 2023 NDAA.
Rep. Pascrell’s flood prevention projects were advanced by the House.
Several of Rep. Norcross’s provisions were included in the 2023 NDAA.
Capital Health and St. Francis Hospital received approvals for a transition.
Community Options advocated to Senator Menendez for international children with disabilities.
Saul Ewing LLP elected two partners to their executive committee.
Former Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer won’t run for Mercer County executive next year, instead backing Assemblyman Benson, according to the Trentonian.
ICYMI: Cruz took aim at gun legislation; in CD11, Sherrill new reality of House; Morris GOP, Rizzo court case postponed; Baraka signals willingness to get involved in LD31 amid speculation Cunningham won’t run; Malinowski undecided on ’24 run; 2023 legislative battlefield contains numerous lines of intrigue; key GOP figures refashion battle plan for ’23; in LD26, newly-minted team holding acquainting sessions; Mastrangelo, Neibart litigation resolved; in LD24, Lonegan gaining traction
Governor Murphy appointed members to the task force on public school staff shortages.
The Murphy Administration announced $8M for the green jobs sector.
A coalition of local government groups are requesting $350M from the state to offset health insurance premium increases for public workers, according to Politico NJ.
Clean Water Action urged Governor Murphy to fast track the proposed dirty truck rule.
The NJBIA criticized service worker legislation as removing employers’ rights to make personnel decisions.
NJ Citizen Action celebrated its 40th anniversary.
ICYMI: Murphy will appoint Meyers as CSC Acting Chair; Murphy announced Sciortino as Senior Advisor; essential worker hazard pay languishing; gun debate punctuated by colorful exchanges; gun proposal advanced after intense debate; unions forming coalition on health costs
Two of the state’s political dynasties appear to be on different paths.
Insider NJ’s Fred Snowflack honors the memory of former Morristown Mayor DeLaney.
Download and read Insider NJ’s 2022 Insider 100: Power publication; download and read Jay Lassiter’s 2022 Insider 100: Cannabis power list; download and read Insider NJ’s 2022 Insider 100: Millennials publication; ‘Let’s Get To Work!‘: Insider NJ’s 2022 Labor publication; Insider NJ’s special edition examination of the county political party organizations; Insider NJ’s 2022 Insider 100: Policymakers power list publication; and Insider NJ’s 2022 Insider Out 100: LGBTQ Power List publication
In Absecon, a proposed woods subdivision is causing controversy, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Asbury Park, residents say the conditions at public housing are ‘embarrassing‘, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Bayonne, the Housing Authority will get a new home, according to TAPinto.
In Belmar, the mayor and council are seeking to reappropriate $700k for marina improvements, according to TAPinto.
In Colts Neck, a farm will be replaced with townhouses and affordable apartments, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Edison, a county park will close indefinitely, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Elizabeth, the Housing Authority awarded $1.5M to establish the YouthBuild program.
In Hoboken, the council approved a $10k contract for a former judge to review the rent control law, according to Hudson County View.
In Holmdel, the planning board approved a developer-paid study of the Nokia site, according to TAPinto.
In Jersey City, Mayor Fulop announced the creation of the first City Hall park.
In Lakewood, the committee will consider an ordinance to allow banquet halls in schools, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Little Falls, a school referendum was returned to voters, according to NorthJersey.com.
In Millburn, the committee is discussing renovating town hall, according to TAPinto.
In Millville, a new committee member was sworn-in, according to the Daily Journal.
In North Haledon, a redevelopment study for Belmont Ave was approved, according to NorthJersey.com.
In North Wildwood, the state went to court to stop dune work, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Nutley, the police chief is under investigation following a YouTube livestream, according to TAPinto.
In Saddle Brook, voters will decide on a school referendum, according to the Bergen Record.
In Sparta, the council decided to wait on a $2.275M salt shed in a split vote, according to TAPinto.
In Somerville, the state reduced the speed limit on Route 28, according to MyCentralJersey.
In West Milford, the school district is being restructured, according to NorthJersey.com.
In Westfield, a developer says a project comes with traffic benefits, but residents aren’t so sure, according to TAPinto.
ICYMI: In Paterson, the city honored retiring Clerk Gordon
Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘Notable Milestones on the Road to Gay Marriage Equality in New Jersey‘
Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘Biden has Definitely Decided to Seek Reelection – and Harris now has a Stake in Georgia Senate Outcome‘
Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘New Jersey’s Blueprint for Congressional Leadership Havoc‘
Insider NJ reporter Fred Snowflack writes ‘Schiano’s Coaching Tenure at Rutgers‘
AROUND THE WEB:
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger
- From this week’s news, signs of democracy in distress: In Germany, police arrested a cabal of crazies, led by a right-wing prince and sympathetic to QAnon, who were planning to overthrow the elected government and kill the chancellor.
- Two weekends ago, Paterson detectives arrested four individuals and seized four guns within 24 hours. Last week, an 18-year-old was taken into custody after being found to be in possession of a high capacity 9mm semi-automatic pistol. This year, our Paterson Police Department has seized 187 illegal weapons. Last year, we seized 221 guns and, in 2020, our officers confiscated 200 guns. With several weeks left in December, we are on pace to remove 200 illegal guns from our streets for the third consecutive year.
Aubrey Whelan, The Philadelphia Inquirer
- A Camden addiction clinic has agreed to pay the federal government $3.15 million in civil and criminal penalties to settle a federal case alleging it made money illegally through a kickback scheme with another company providing methadone medication for its patients.
Tom Bergeron, roi-nj.com
- Dr. Perry Halkitis, the dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health, has as many qualifiers about the group’s decision to stop using Twitter as a pharma company has on its latest product.
Jason Laughlin, Philadelphia Inquirer
- The Philadelphia region has seen increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the two weeks after Thanksgiving, local and national health data showed. The increase tracks with trends seen after holiday gatherings earlier in the pandemic, but at a far smaller scale. Nationally, cases increased 28% and hospitalizations 29% over the past two weeks. But in total numbers, far fewer people are suffering from COVID than in the early December timeframe in prior years.
My Central Jersey
- The Somerset County Office of Youth Services has scheduled a “School Phobia” Zoom webinar for education professionals from 10 to 11 a.m. Dec. 16 to help with declining student attendance. The free webinar will be presented by Ira Hays, director of program development at GenPsych.
Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger
- There’s an old saying that goes, “Freedom of the press only matters if you own a press.” That may have been true in the days of newspapers. But now everyone carries a little press around in their pocket. Who’s going to decide what gets published?
Nikita Biryukov, NJ Monitor
- New Jersey’s jail population remained above pre-pandemic levels in 2021 despite declining slightly from the prior year, according to an annual report released Wednesday by the state Judiciary that says trials slowed drastically amid the COVID-19 crisis even as courts continued to make quick decisions about bail.
- Three years ago, on Dec. 10, 2019, the kosher grocery store in Jersey City was attacked by antisemites seeking to murder Jews. Their primary target was a Jewish religious elementary school that up to 100 children attended. Unable to gain entrance, they attacked a nearby kosher grocery market, correctly assuming its clientele was primarily Jewish.
- Local voters will go to the polls this Tuesday, Dec. 13 to decide the fate of a $44.3 million bond referendum for building improvements at Hanover Park High School and Whippany Park High School. Polls will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. across Florham Park, East Hanover and Hanover Township for the Hanover Park Regional High School district vote.
Michael Symons, NJ1015
- Test scores on New Jersey’s standardized assessments slipped back to their levels from seven years ago on the exams given this past spring, the first since the COVID pandemic hit in 2020. Compared with 2019, the most recent available because tests were skipped in 2020 and 2021, the percentage of students who met or exceeded expectations on the NJSLA plunged by 8.7% for English, down to 48.9%, and by 10.1% for math, down to 34.6%, among comparable populations of students.
Tom Bergeron, roi-nj.com
- The severity of the pay gap that impacts women in the workplace — especially women of color — is astounding. Numerous national studies indicate the gap is anywhere between 45-55% for Latinas, depending on how you classify various workers.
Matt Rooney, Save Jersey
- What does Chris Christie have to do with his niece’s apparent Level 10 meltdown on a Thanksgiving morning flight? Nothing. They’re related. That’s the whole story. There’s no real Christie-specific tie-in where, for example, evidence surfaces that the ex-governor used his influence to help her in some way. He’s not her father, obviously, so whatever went wrong with her upbringing (assuming something did) isn’t his fault.
Dustin Racioppi, NorthJersey.com
- A pair of North Jersey men were indicted Wednesday in an alleged COVID-19 testing kickback scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Four people in total were involved in the alleged scheme tied to a testing lab in Parsippany called Metpath Laboratories, the office said. Court documents claim Abid Syed, of East Hanover, and Tariq Din, of Saddle River, operated the lab and paid kickbacks to “marketers” for testing referrals.
Press of Atlantic City
- The signaling of climate virtue by the Murphy administration and the Legislature already are going to cost the people and businesses of New Jersey plenty. They’re on the hook for massive subsidies and energy mandates that will cost much without delivering a meaningful effect on global warming.