Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Governor Murphy needs to stop rolling over for New York. He hasn’t done nearly enough while his friend, Governor Cuomo, steals more than $1 billion from New Jersey and billions more from our taxpayers who pay higher income tax rates to New York. He needs to do more to defend New Jersey and its residents.” – Senator Oroho on NY’s congestion pricing plan
TOP STORY: ‘Somewhere Between Frustrating and Angry’
The statewide COVID-19 count stands at 880,635 cases and 23,170 fatalities (and 127,441 probable cases and 2,640 probable fatalities) as of Monday (an increase of 459 cases and 10 fatalities from the previous day). The viral transmission rate is .94. There have been 8,010,461 COVID-19 vaccinations administered (with 3,631,133 people fully vaccinated). Follow Insider NJ’s County COVID-19 Data Center. Governor Murphy said at yesterday’s briefing that its ‘somewhere between frustrating and angry‘ that not enough nursing home staffers are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, warning that ‘at a certain point our patience runs thin’. Noting that 3.6M residents have been fully vaccinated at this point, the Governor said that ‘everything is on the table‘ towards the effort to increase that number.
The Governor’s State Health Benefits Quality and Value Task Force released its final report on improving health outcomes and managing costs.
A Monmouth University poll finds that over the past decade support has risen among New Jerseyans for using state resources to help illegal immigrants.
Somerset County will conduct an online auction May 12-19.
Rep. Gottheimer, Senator Lagana, and Assemblymembers Swain and Tully proposed state legislation to combat NY’s congestion pricing plan by adding the state sales tax to out-of-state drivers at every toll crossing from NJ into NY.
Rep. Watson Coleman urged families to file their taxes ahead of the May 17th deadline to get their advance Child Tax Credit.
Rep. Pascrell issued a statement of support of the first complaint filed over repeated Mexican labor violation.
Anbaric completed its second phase of oceanographic survey activities for their Boardwalk Power Link project.
ICYMI: Murphy announced $235M in COVID-19 relief for small businesses; Fudge visited Hoboken; Murphy announced significant easing of COVID-19 restrictions; breweries will give free beer to vaccinated people; Sherrill optimistic about SALT
In LD16, the GOP campaign slammed Governor Murphy’s third press conference in the district, saying it shows ‘how vulnerable the Democratic legislative candidates are this year’.
In LD26, Assemblywoman DeCroce was endorsed by the International Longshoremen’s Association.
In LD37, the Senate Democratic primary battle between Assemblymembers Johnson and Huttle is among the most bitter and personal, and hotly cynical, in the state. Huttle’s campaign touted their momentum, and said a benchmark poll shows she holds the lead in the race.
In CD11, GOP candidate Hillery Brotschel condemned the Biden Administration for cancelling the annual ‘Rolling to Remember Ride’ on Memorial Day.
The South Jersey Young Democrats announced a new president and vice president.
The Sussex County GOP slammed Democratic commissioner candidates Paul and Vrabel as ‘cowards’ who ‘won’t stand up to’ Governor Murphy.
Essex County Democratic Sheriff primary candidate John Arnold requested that the Elections Superintendent recuse herself from any primary involvement, alleging a conflict of interest.
Political organizer Imani Oakley announced a ballot education series.
Former Governor Christie and Liz Cheney are carving opposite paths amid Trump’s GOP, according to the Bergen Record.
ICYMI: CWA-NJ released endorsements; ACGOP Chair Davis energized this campaign season; in LD25, GOP attempting to torpedo Grayzel early; ELEC approved Ciattarelli funds (iLine post); GOP primary two debates; Somerset Dems hired new ED; mild irritation over Singh candidacy; Suleiman expects Polistina v. Mazzeo Senate race; Morris GOP launching ‘Insiders Club’
Assembly Democrats announced a small business relief aid package.
Senator Gopal and Assemblymembers Houghtaling and Downey helped deliver 5,000 free Uber rides for residents to local COVID-19 vaccination centers.
Senator Testa and Assemblymen Simonsen and McLellan introduced legislation to require state employees to work in-person if their job requires face-to-face interaction with the public.
Senators Addiego, Gopal, and Lagana will introduce legislation provide $235M to the EDA for grants for small businesses and non-profits.
Senator Oroho urged Governor Murphy to ‘stop rolling over’ in the NY congestion pricing battle.
Assemblymembers Stanfield and Peters introduced a resolution urging Congress to extend special education funding to age 22.
Assemblywoman DiMaso introduced legislation to prevent state-funded colleges from requiring a COVID-19 vaccination.
Assemblyman Mazzeo introduced legislation to restore civil service status for Atlantic City employees.
Assemblywoman Downey introduced legislation to establish a home repair and modification for aging parents program.
The Civil Service Commission will host virtual information sessions for LGBTQ+ organizations.
The NJ Business Coalition will hold a virtual town hall today on the state’s hiring crisis.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund enlisted dozens of celebrities to join a letter of support for legislation banning the use of gestation crates.
The ACS-CAN released examples of step therapy programs by NJ regulated health plans.
ICYMI: Murphy took action on legislation; Murphy nominated Col. Dr. Hou as Adjutant General and NJDMVA Commissioner; Coughlin declined to say whether he’ll post CCRB bill; Burzichelli, Hicks clashed over NJDOC overtime; Murphy took action on legislation; Oroho, Gottheimer joined together; Murphy took action on legislation; Turner pressed for posting of the CCRB bill; Thompson, Oliver clashed; Rice says state should ‘get its act together’
Listen on Thursday to Politically Direct Episode 134 with host Fernando Uribe and guest Senator Brian Stack.
As Governor Murphy unveils a gun violence prevention package, several officials suggest different approaches for different reasons.
Shore towns are struggling to find workers for the summer season, according to NJ Spotlight.
In Camden, mayoral candidate Elton Custis slammed rival Councilman Carstaphen, calling him a ‘sock puppet who only serves the party bosses’.
In Morris Township, Mayor Grayzel released a statement addressing the Route 24 proposal.
In Willingboro, Virtua Health workers petitioned the NLRB to join the HPAE union.
In Basking Ridge, the council will vote on $4.5M for capital projects, according to TAPinto.
In Hillsborough, the town is being sued after it rejected a controversial apartment plan, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Lebanon, the planning board voted to disallow cannabis businesses, according to NJ Hills.
In Mine Hall, taxes and the pot ban take center stage, according to NJ Hills.
In Mount Olive, officials are seeking to ‘tone down’ political rhetoric, according to NJ Hills.
In North Wildwood, the town is reshaping beaches, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Passaic, the Passaic Central Labor Council endorsed Mayor Lora for re-election, according to TAPinto.
In Plainfield, the city wants public input on how to handle marijuana, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Ridgewood, the tax increase could be the highest in years, according to the Bergen Record.
In Somerville, the town is will be a ‘trailblazer‘ by allowing marijuana businesses downtown, according to MyCentralJersey.
In West Orange, Deputy Mayor Velez passed away, according to TAPinto.
ICYMI: In Camden, mailer underscores extent of Murphy, Camden machine healing; in Edison, Bhagia, Joshi have different reactions at forum; in Morristown, Dougherty racking up endorsements; in Monroe, Panos demanded resignation of Cohen; in Parsippany, Barberio held fundraiser; in Camden, Murphy hasn’t ruled out weighing in on mayoral race; in Woodbridge, encounter inflames primary battle; in Edison, overdevelopment takes center stage; in Paterson, McKoy, Mendez may be headed towards another battle; in Hillside, Mondella poised to take on Vertreese in mayoral election; in Camden, candidates participated in forum, Kahn slammed ballot design; in Morristown, mayoral primary battle heats up Porras-Fields deals with ‘stacking summons’ issue; in Paterson, the city is stepping up Muslim vacc efforts; in Camden, Reyes-Morton says county Dems disrespected process
Insider NJ editor Max Pizarro writes ‘A Camden Question for Mayoral Candidate Victor Carstarphen‘
Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘Murphy’s Handling of the Pandemic: The Worst News for the Republicans from the Monmouth Poll‘
Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘Why Black Market Weed (still) Beats NJ Dispensaries‘
Insider NJ columnist Bob Hennelly writes ‘How Greed Crushed Local News and Spread Death and Ignorance‘
AROUND THE WEB:
Jeff Edelstein, The Trentonian
- Go buy an American flag right now and put it up in front of your house. It’s time to take America back from the crazies. Listen: I’ve been at this gig for a long time now, and depending on how the winds are blowing, much of the time I’m being accused of being a shill for the right. Or the left. Again, depends on which way the winds are blowing.
Lilo H. Stainton, NJ Spotlight
- After 83 years as a nursing home that filled a unique cultural niche in Emerson, Bergen County, the Armenian Nursing & Rehabilitation Center closed its doors on Easter Sunday, a victim of a changing industry and the coronavirus pandemic.
Michael Aron, NJ Spotlight
- Intra-party turmoil is how many analysts, and even some members of the Republican Party, would describe the state of the national GOP. Problems range from divisions over former President Donald Trump to current leadership and policy. There’s no shortage of hurdles to unifying the party.
Brent Johnson, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- Seven years after similar efforts hit a wall under former Gov. Chris Christie, a group of 16 New Jersey celebrities are calling on state leaders to ban the farm practice of using gestation crates to confine pregnant pigs and veal crates to confine calves.
Scott Fallon, NorthJersey.com
- Before it was closed, the Keegan Landfill had been a nightmare to residents of a nearby Kearny neighborhood because it released noxious fumes that irritated eyes and throats and often forced homeowners to head indoors and shut their windows. Now it may become a legal nightmare for taxpayers, who could be on the hook for $24 million in tipping fee losses.
Hannan Adely, NorthJersey.com
- New Jersey’s Zahid Quraishi has served as a military prosecutor and an Army captain in Iraq, as an assistant U.S. attorney who has tried cases of public corruption, organized crime and financial fraud, and as a white-collar criminal defense lawyer.
Michele Siekerka, NJBIA, roi-nj.com
- The headlines have been nothing short of glaring. A family-owned delicatessen with 10 years under its belt announces it is closing because it can no longer find staff.
Steve Janoski, NorthJersey.com
- Jackie Robinson had been out of the major leagues for five years by the time the New Jersey State Police hired their first Black trooper. Six decades later, the department hails that man, Paul McLemore, as a true breaker of barriers. A black-and-white portrait of his October 1961 swearing-in hangs in the agency’s West Trenton museum, and troopers speak of him with the same reverential tones a young ballplayer might use when discussing the Brooklyn Dodger who broke baseball’s color boundary.
Stacey Barchenger, Trenton Bureau
- Restrictions put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 reversed a decade’s worth of tourism growth in the Garden State, an analysis released Thursday found. The number of people visiting New Jersey in 2020 dropped 27% from 2019 to 86.4 million visitors, according to the New Jersey Department of Travel and Tourism. And fewer visitors meant fewer dollars spent: Spending was $29.4 billion, down 37% from 2019.