Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Removing a member of Congress for inciting violence is appropriate. However, removing a member for having different viewpoints — even ones I strongly oppose — violates the entire basis of our democracy.” – Rep. Gottheimer on opposing the removal of Rep. Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee
TOP STORY: Understanding Bucco
See the daily COVID-19 numbers on the NJDOH’s dashboard.
An ‘explosion’ of artificial intelligence has arrived in Jersey Shore schools, according to the Asbury Park Press.
The NJ Department of Travel and Tourism announced programming and events for Black History Month throughout the state.
Reps. Pascrell and Gottheimer took different approaches to a House resolution condemning socialism.
Rep. Van Drew renewed his call for a moratorium on windmill construction.
Rep. Sherrill applauded the House passage of a resolution denouncing socialism.
Rep. Kim discussed the recently-formed Congressional Dads Caucus, according to NJ Spotlight.
Felician University is partnering with ‘Hunger-Free Campus’ to fight food insecurity.
Rutgers University will open a Alzheimer’s research and treatment center, according to NJ Biz.
CarePoint’s non-profit conversion was approved by the State Health Planning Board.
ICYMI: Insider NJ’s key must-read pieces; AG launched human trafficking unit; Booker, Menendez demanded title 42 decision reversal; Sherrill advocates for SALT; PSE&G lowering gas supply charges in Feb; Murphy took advantage SOS opportunity; HPAE eying NYSNA patient ratio pact
So far 14% of GOP legislators aren’t seeking re-election this year, according to SaveJersey.
A Super PAC tied to Jersey City Mayor Fulop’s expected gubernatorial run has $6.2M COH, according to Hudson County View.
The election recount in four towns will start next week, according to NJ.com.
ICYMI: Whitman carrying new party ‘forward’; in LD12, Henry will mount primary challenge; in LD16, Traphagen announced Assembly candidacy; Licitra announced Monmouth commissioner re-election bid; in LD24, Oroho won’t seek re-election, Space announced Senate candidacy; Selen held kickoff fundraiser; Ciattarelli worked the room at Bucco event; 2025 guv politics continues to dominate; in LD31, Cunningham expected retirement creates political kerfuffle; in LD39, GOP incumbents announced re-election bids; Hudson Reporter closing down; Rizzo/Morris GOP trial postponed; LD13 legislators announced re-election bids; in LD26, DeCroce launched candidacy in comeback attempt; in LD24, crowded primary heats up; in LD16, Jaffer won’t seek re-election; in Essex, all roads lead to Timberlake
Governor Murphy took action on legislation.
Senator Bucco appears to be on his way to becoming the Senate Republican leader in the next legislative term.
The state says that 17 staffing agencies fighting the temp worker bill aren’t registered to operate, according to NJ Monitor.
The Senate passed the temp worker bill on the fourth try, according to the Daily Record.
Senator Polistina released a statement on the passage of the temporary worker bill.
The NJPCSA applauded the Murphy Administration’s approval of 11 charter school expansions.
ICYMI: Legislative Black Caucus Foundation welcomed new members; Bergen fired off letter to Scutari over kimchi; here’s what happened in Trenton on Thursday; Murphy took action on bills; Oroho impending retirement, the question of who succeeds him, w/ immediate contestants Bucco and Testa
Read Senator Loretta Weinberg’s 2023 Women’s Power List publication.
Download and read Insider NJ’s 2023 Advance publication.
Former CD8 Rep. Sires reflects on his tenure in office and his future.
Download and read Insider NJ’s 2022 Retrospective publication (PDF).
In Sayreville, Councilwoman Dwumfour was shot and killed in her car outside her townhouse on Wednesday evening. Officials at every level mourned her sudden and tragic death, with former Sayreville Mayor saying she made a special impact. NJGOP Chairman Hugin expressed sorrow over the killing, praising her ‘steadfast dedication to the community’. Middlesex County GOP Chairman Bengivenga mourned her death, saying she ‘had a bright future ahead of her’. Middlesex County Commission Director Rios hailed her as a ‘dedicated public servant in our community’. Governor Murphy mourned her death, saying he was ‘stunned’ by the news. Senator Booker said her killing is a ‘terrible loss‘. Senate President Scutari and Senate Majority Leader Ruiz said they are ‘disturbed and saddened‘ by the killing, and her death is a ‘loss to us all’.
In Hopewell, Mercer County Executive Hughes proposed lowering the speed limit on Bear Tavern Road.
In Atlantic City, a Philadelphia woman credits Mayor Small with saving her life inside the Linc, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The CRDA is seeking new proposals for a grocery store, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Carteret, more apartments are coming to the arts district, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Eatontown, the town set rules for the Monmouth Mall construction, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Franklin (Sussex), a judge gave the suspended fire chief a shot at redemption, according to NJ Herald.
In Franklin Lakes, the affordable housing plan unveiling drew a crowd, according to the Bergen Record.
In Hillsborough, Committeeman Thomson won’t seek re-election, according to TAPinto.
In Hoboken, the council passed the rent control reform ordinance after fiery debate, according to Hudson County View.
In Jersey City, Councilman Solomon is seeking an audit of ‘boat payments’, according to TAPinto.
In Lakewood, the future of a banquet hall is unclear as a hearing was postponed, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In North Haledon, the BOE says armed cops in schools aren’t going anywhere, according to NorthJersey.com.
In Paramus, rules were changed after a probe of an official’s car repairs, according to the Bergen Record.
In Seaside Heights, motel sales leave the town’s future in question, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Wayne, the school district settled a suit with an ex-substitute, according to NorthJersey.com.
In Westfield, the town is moving forward with downtown redevelopment, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Woodbridge, a developer is suing the town after a Dunkin Donuts plan was rejected, according to MyCentralJersey.
ICYM: Legalized marijuana eventful for local govt; in WNY, three-way mayoral race gets underway, Menendez endorsed Sires; in Fair Lawn, officials doing their best to put best spin on Nabisco end; in Dover, Correa convinced he can unite with Blackmon amid potential rematch with Dodd; in WNY, Roque announced Alvarez as commissioner candidate; in WNY, Sires rolled out slate, kicked off run; in Dunellen, Cilento will seek re-election; in JC, DeGise pleaded guilty stemming from hit-and-run w/ cyclist last summer; in Wayne, council withdrew full-time mayor proposal; in Mendham, ongoing election dispute; in WNY, Sires launched mayoral bid
Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘Of Documents, Deception And Dominos‘
Insider NJ columnist Andrew Leven writes ‘Trump and Lt. Colonel L.B. Hillsinger – A Contrast in Courage‘
Insider NJ legal analyst and veteran defense attorney Joseph Hayden writes ‘All Outward Signs Point to a Prosecution of Trump and his Cohorts‘
Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘Making (more) Room for Cannabis Companies (that exploit us)‘
AROUND THE WEB:
Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger
- After that story broke about the Murphy administration using federal COVID funds to buy eight Chevy Suburbans, I got a call from Jeff Tittel.
Nicholas Katzban, NorthJersey.com
- The Clifton man accused of attempting to set fire to a Bloomfield synagogue was ordered to remain in federal custody Thursday, as Judge Edward S. Kiel and law enforcement officials described him as a potential risk to the public’s safety.
Selena Vazquez, Press of Atlantic City
- In light of recent attacks on a New Jersey church and synagogue, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office hosted a public forum Wednesday to shed light on ways religious groups can protect their congregations. The forum, held at Stockton University’s City Campus, drew more than 40 people, including members of law enforcement and religious and community organizations.
Larry Higgs, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- A phrase often growled by E-ZPass users who get a violation notice in the mail — “Why didn’t they check my (expletive) E-ZPass account” — is now state law.
Katie Sobko, Trenton Bureau
- Think that once you get through to unemployment and get approved for benefits the hassle is over? For some, that’s just the start. More than 76,000 people were notified last year that their benefits had been overpaid and they would be required to return the money to the state, according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Dan Alexander, NJ1015
- The FBI is investigating an allegation by a New Jersey Navy veteran that U.S. Rep. George Santos withheld donations to a GoFundMe to help his dying service dog. Richard Osthoff, who was homeless and living in a tent in Howell in 2016, told Patch that Santos’ Friends of Pets United charity created a GoFundMe page to help his dog Sapphire who had developed a large tumor and needed life-saving surgery.
Tom Bergeron, roi-nj.com
- Dan Barnes, the highly regarded employment lawyer at Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi in Roseland, sums up the recently proposed rules by the Federal Trade Commission that would ban the use of noncompete clauses in the workplace this way: “This is huge,” he said. “This is certainly the biggest thing that I can think of that’s happened in this area in a very long time. It’s putting a severe limitation on the power of employers to limit the movement of employees. So, this is a very big deal.
Tom Johnson, NJ Spotlight
- New Jersey lawmakers have banned single-use plastic bags. They’ve mandated more recycled content in plastics. Now, a prominent legislator wants to reduce the use of single-use plastic packaging by at least 25% by 2032.
Eric Conklin, Press of Atlantic City
- Atlantic City, Cape May and Vineland will split about $20.4 million in federal funds for traffic safety improvements. That sum is a fraction of about $800 million U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced Wednesday as part of his department’s new Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant Program.
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger
- David Sciarra, a hall-of-fame lawyer who has spent a quarter century winning Supreme Court cases on educational equity as head of the non-profit Education Law Center, is stepping down at age 70. His many lawsuits have forced the state to honor the promise embedded in its Constitution, to ensure a good education for all students, rich and poor.
Terrence T. McDonald, NJ Monitor
- I’m not particularly anti-gun. I don’t own one and I’ve never fired one. But I don’t begrudge people who use them for hunting, and I get why some people would want a handgun for personal protection. Still, color me nervous about the fate of our state’s new gun law, which a federal judge has poked a bunch of holes in at the request of gun rights advocates.
David M. Zimmer, NorthJersey.com
- Paterson natives and Buffalo Soldiers William Thompkins and George Wanton waded through rifle and artillery fire and each came away with a Congressional Medal of Honor. The two African American soldiers were part of the U.S. Army’s 10th Cavalry, and, in 1898, were sent into the Spanish-American War aboard a chartered merchant vessel headed toward Cuba.
Press of Atlantic City
- New Jersey has been home to many national corporations over the decades, and many have left for states where the tax and regulatory burden isn’t so heavy. Can’t blame them, since New Jersey is also a top state for people to leave these days.
Susan Loyer, MyCentralJersey.com
- A fierce primary battle is shaping up for the Republican nomination for a state Senate seat in the 12th District after Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry announced he will challenge longtime incumbent Sam Thompson.