Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “There’s no surprise that the governor and Jack don’t have a close relationship. First of all, Jack didn’t serve in the Legislature all that long and Jack wasn’t a supporter of all of the governor’s initiatives and policies.” – Bill Palatucci on Jack Ciattarelli and former Governor Christie
The statewide COVID-19 count stands at 827,795 cases and 22,210 fatalities (and 114,596 probable cases and 2,573 probable fatalities) as of Thursday (an increase of 3,758 cases and 35 fatalities from the previous day). The viral transmission rate is 1.02. There have been 5,025,957 COVID-19 vaccinations administered (with 1,962,886 people fully vaccinated). Follow Insider NJ’s County COVID-19 Data Center.
Governor Murphy signed legislation to provide $15M in aid to arts and cultural venues.
Governor Murphy announced an administrative order clarifying the capacity limit for non-professional and non-collegiate indoor sporting events, and the removal of restrictions on self-service food, such as buffets and salad bars.
The NJDOL announced it has paid a total of over $26B in unemployment benefits to over 2.1M claimants since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Atlantic County may test early voting equipment in April 20th elections, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
Bergen County Sheriff Cureton held a pre-Ramadan security briefing with religious and community leaders.
Cape May County is the state’s first ‘StormReady‘ county in the state, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
Mercer County donated over 700 children’s books to Capital Health.
Middlesex County expanded recreational and fitness offerings at county parks.
Monmouth County Commissioners secretly gave themselves raises, according to the Asbury Park Press.
Passaic County is partnering with St. Joseph’s and FEMA to serve under-vaccinated populations.
Union County will livestream the primary ballot drawing on April 16th, according to TAPinto.
HUD allocated $24M for affordable housing in the state.
Kean University’s Dr. Nicky Sheats was appointed to the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Board.
New Jersey beaches have been scarred by COVID-19, according to the Asbury Park Press.
ICYMI: Murphy announced new COVID-19 travel guidance; Murphy says all residents will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting April 19th; Murphy says ‘we’re going to continue being incremental‘ on reopenings; Middlesex Commissioner Armwood passed away; read Insider NJ editor Max Pizarro’s tribute to Armwood here
Madelyn Hoffman plans to run for Governor as the Green Party candidate this year.
Documents show that Mercer County Executive Hughes has a long history of speeding and careless driving, according to the Trentonian. The Hughes Administration is targeting a leaker who provided photos of the executive’s car accident, according to the Trentonian.
GOP gubernatorial primary candidate Jack Ciattarelli plans to sue Governor Murphy for COVID-19 records, according to Politico NJ.
ICYMI: Murphy filed 50k petitions; LD25 general election lighting up early; GOP primary candidates for Governor (iLine post); Bacon filed for Dem guv primary (iLine post); McCormick says she filed to run in guv Dem primary; in LD3, GOP’s Durr filed to run (iLine post); in LD16, Lukac;s quest for the GOP nomination for Assembly; in LD20, Holley rolled out runnin mates, submits most petitions (iLine post); in LD26, GOP primary suddenly becomes interesting, with Mastrangelo entrance; LD39’s Dugan alleges mail tampering; Murphy announced appointments re-elec campaign; Lopez running for mayor in FL; DeCroce remains confident following loss of Morris line; Chiaravalloti will run for re-election, pursuing off-the-line candidacy; in LD37, Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle’s running mates allegeBergen Dems attempted to poach them; Huttle wants to ‘beat the bosses‘
The Senate Budget Committee’s GOP members outlined a plan for the use of $6.5B in American Rescue Plan stimulus funds.
The Assembly Judiciary and Women and Children Committees held a joint hearing on abuse allegations at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility.
Senators Weinberg, Addiego, Greenstein, and Pou demanded the details of the $21M lawsuit settlements between Edna Mahan Correctional Facility and inmates who alleged abuse.
Senator Oroho urged NJDOE Acting Commissioner Allen-McMillan to support his plan to use American Rescue Plan funds to avert school aid cuts.
Senator Testa and Assemblymen McLellan and Simonsen demanded Governor Murphy reopen schools and businesses.
Senator Holzapfel and Assemblymen McGuckin and Catalano urged Governor Murphy to clarify reopening rules for senior community clubhouses and pools.
Assemblywoman Stanfield urged the Legislature to hold a vote on her resolution calling for the impeachment of NJDOC Commissioner Hicks.
ICYMI: Public contractor contributions lagged in 2020; KZ Group welcomed Hughes as VP; battle lines drawn over election-year budget; Murphy signed legislation providing $25M in aid to small businesses; Donnelly challenged Bruno over his objection to PERS bill; Bruno fired back
Read and download Insider NJ’s Irish American Leaders 2021 List compiled by Tom Barrett.
In Parsippany, updated voter registration records show a Democratic advantage for the first time in the township’s history, and of interest heading into the local election.
In Elizabeth, Mayor Bollwage and HUD highlighted city partners that receive federal funding during the pandemic.
In Bergenfield, the town vaccinated 200 seniors at Murray Hill Senior Center.
In Absecon, funding for emergency vehicles and infrastructure is moving closer to approval, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Asbury Park, the city’s gentrification raises the questions of who is making money and who is being left behind, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Berkeley Heights, the council introduced the budget, according to TAPinto.
In Bordentown, the former police chief’s sentencing was delayed, according to Burlington County Times.
In Clifton, the city is seeking $168M in borrowing for schools, according to NorthJersey.com.
In Elmwood Park, ex-Clerk Kazmark is going to court seeking texts between officials, according to the Bergen Record.
In Englewood Cliffs, Councilwoman Tsabari resigned, saying she endured bullying from the mayor, according to the Bergen Record.
In Hawthorne, the Democrats filed petitions for mayor and council, according to TAPinto; the Democrats will run uncontested in the primary, while Republicans will have a three-way primary, according to TAPinto.
In Lakewood, a judge wants answers regarding the schools’ money woes, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Morris Plains, the town was named a 2020 Tree City USA, according to NJ Hills.
In Morristown, a park is shaping up to be a mayoral battleground issue, according to Morristown Green.
In Ocean City, the city again voted to ban marijuana sales within its borders, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In West Caldwell, the council is continuing the budget process, according to TAPinto.
In Woodbridge, a $10M footbridge will connect the town with Carteret, according to MyCentralJersey.
ICYMI: In Edison, amid mayoral volatility, Bhagia loses party line , as he and Joshi unleash on each other, GOP’s Hahn hopes to be the last man standing; in Camden, Custis running for mayor, vows to deliver community-based campaign; in Parsippany, Barberio seeks comeback; in Newark, activists protest voter suppression, officials celebrated opening of vacc center; in Morristown, nascent primary heating up; in Trenton, amid mayoral buzz, Santiago pushing a reparations resolution; in AC, Small announced Days-Chapman will run campaign; in Kearny, Santos filed petitions; in Jersey City, Fulop nominated muni judges; in Morris Township, Gyorfy and Moore announced candidacies; in Westfield, Brindle announced re-elec campaign; in Lambertville, DelVecchio running against for mayor (iLine post); in Red Bank, Sturdivant joins Dem ticket (iLine post); in Hamilton (Mercer), Dems backing incumbent councilmen; in Hillside, female mayors endorsed Vertreese; in Newark, Baraka, Garcetti launched violence prevention initiative
Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘Christie Tries Early to Stake out his 2024 Turf‘
Insider NJ columnist Bob Hennelly writes ‘COVID’s Bigger Picture‘
Insider NJ reporter Christine Sloan writes ‘NY and NJ: The Enduring COVID-19 Questions Around Nursing Homes‘
AROUND THE WEB:
John Reitmeyer, NJ Spotlight
- Lawmakers dug deeper into Gov. Phil Murphy’s latest state spending proposals as budget hearings continued Wednesday, questioning which areas could see big increases and how an overall record-high budget will be funded.
Matt Friedman, Politico
- Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is keeping a busy schedule these days. He also recently hosted Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in a public discussion, headlined a fundraiser for a member of Congress from Long Island, had dinner with Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner and, back in New Jersey, joined a fundraiser for Republican state senator.
Carly Q. Romalino, Cherry Hill Courier-Post
- Congressman Donald Norcross (D-1) addresses what he envisions schools will look in September 2021. Norcross spoke April 6, 2021 in Deptford.
Ted Sherman, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- More than a year after he was charged in a high-profile political corruption case, a former state Assemblyman is fighting in court to force prosecutors to reveal more about the deal they made with the informant who set him up in a long-running sting operation.
Rudy Miller, For lehighvalleylive.com
- Phillipsburg laid to rest a devoted father, beloved husband and committed police officer on Thursday. Phillipsburg police officer Dominic Belcastro died Saturday, April 3, in an off-duty motorcycle crash on Memorial Parkway in Phillipsburg. He was 38. Authorities said Belcastro, of Stewartsville, had the right of way during the traffic accident.
John Heinis, Hudson County View
- The Hoboken City Council okayed a resolution asking state and county authorities to investigate a racist campaign flyer that came at the tail end of the 2017 mayoral race.
Suzanne Russell, MyCentralJersey.com
- Three candidates are vying for the Democratic Party’s support in the township’s 2021 race for mayor, and the incumbent is not among them. Mahesh Bhagia, the township’s Democratic Organization chairman, Councilman Samip “Sam” Joshi and Arthur Esposito have filed petitions to run in the June 8 Democratic primary.
Jim Walsh, Cherry Hill Courier-Post
- An ongoing investigation into the failure of a highway retaining wall here has not yet determined the cause of the collapse — or the extent of its damage, the state’s top transportation official said Wednesday. “I would certainly hope that by the end of the month we’d have a better sense of what happened,” Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said of the wall’s collapse off Interstate 295 in Bellmawr.