Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “While it may not be politically correct, I’ve sort of felt that 2021 is another Year of the Woman. Goodness knows that women in the political arena work twice as hard to get elected than most men.” – Former CD11 GOP Rep. Frelinghuysen endorsing Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce
TOP STORY: Ciattarelli Wants to Talk about that Poll
The statewide COVID-19 count stands at 881,635 cases and 23,201 fatalities (and 127,458 probable cases and 2,648 probable fatalities) as of Wednesday (an increase of 925 cases and 33 fatalities from the previous day). The viral transmission rate is 1. There have been 8,112,076 COVID-19 vaccinations administered (with 3,702,499 people fully vaccinated). Follow Insider NJ’s County COVID-19 Data Center.
The Murphy Administration will hold a series of events today highlighting infrastructure investments as part of National Infrastructure Week.
The NJDHS received a $22.6M federal grant for COVID-related mental health services.
Records show that taxpayers paid $9k for Governor Murphy to fly to President Biden’s inauguration, according to NJ.com.
An ‘historic’ judge shortage could overwhelm the state’s judicial system, according to NJ Spotlight.
Burlington County is expanding COVID-19 vaccine resources to local communities.
Hudson County is partnering with the Islamic Council to provide walk-in COVID-19 vaccination appointments during the Jersey City Eid celebration.
Senators Booker and Menendez applauded the nomination of Karen Williams as a District Court Judge.
Senator Booker introduced legislation to expand health care to immigrants.
Rep. Pascrell condemned the removal of Rep. Cheney from House GOP leadership.
Rep. Payne introduced the ‘Safer Neighborhoods Gun Buyback Act of 2021’.
Rep. Sherrill applauded the House passing of the ‘PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act’.
The NJSIAA announced the formation of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee.
The Inspira Health Foundation welcomed two new board members.
MarketSmith Inc. launched a campaign in partnership with the NJDHS to combat addiction.
Kean University kicked off a week of in-person commencement ceremonies.
ICYMI: Murphy says ‘everything is on the table‘ to increase vaccinations; 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
ELEC reports that gubernatorial candidates have raised $14.8M and spent $12.2M ahead of the June primary.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli says that he believes Governor Murphy’s support is soft, with an internal campaign poll showing the Governor at 54% approval and noting that in the recent Monmouth poll, ‘less than half said they are going to vote‘ for Murphy to be re-elected.
NOW-NJ released endorsements for the June primary.
In CD2, the DCCC zapped GOP Rep. Van Drew following his voice vote for the removal of Liz Cheney from House GOP leadership.
Essex County Democratic Sheriff primary candidate John Arnold announced several endorsements.
Hispanic Republicans of NJ President Mendoza endorsed Joshua Sotomayor Einstein for Hudson County GOP Chair.
An ethics complaint was filed against Rep. Sherrill and others by VA Rep. Loudermilk for claiming the GOP led ‘reconnaissance tours’ ahead of the January Capitol riot, according to NJ.com.
ICYMI: Morris GOP state committee’s intriguing battle; Murphy campaign launched $5M ad effort; Swift raises $75k (iLine post); battleground LD37; DeCroce endorsed by ILA; 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; mild irritation over Singh candidacy; Suleiman expects Polistina v. Mazzeo Senate race; Morris GOP launching ‘Insiders Club’
Governor Murphy took action on legislation.
The NJ Treasury’s Division of Investment announced leadership changes.
NJDOC Commissioner Hicks ran into the buzz saw questioning of Senator O’Scanlon on the issue of body-worn cameras by corrections officers.
Senator Pennacchio called on NJDOH Commissioner Persichilli to testify before a bipartisan legislative oversight committee.
The NJ Chamber of Commerce announced Patricia Teffenhart as their new Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives.
Housing advocates rallied in support of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
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.
In Bordentown, Jennifer Sciortino was the top vote-getter for a commissioner seat.
In Camden, mayoral candidate Elton Custis released his first campaign mailer.
In Dover, the East Blackwell Street Bridge was renamed in honor of the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis.
In Newark, the United Way relaunched its ‘Newark Thrives!’ program.
In Atlantic City, newly renovated boardwalk bathrooms will open tomorrow, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Boonton, the town is questioning the county’s 911 dispatch system, according to NJ Hills.
In Bound Brook, the schools chief wants out, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Chatham, the township is forming a local business directory, according to NJ Hills.
In Collingswood, Camden County Democratic Chairman Beach says Maley and his allies have won the election, according to the Courier Post.
In Cedar Grive, Peterson, Zichelli, and Skabich won council seats, according to NorthJersey.com.
In East Brunswick, the council approved a resolution to send PPE to India, according to TAPinto.
In Hackensack, the incumbent slate won big, according to TAPinto.
In Hasbrouck Heights, the 2021 budget was introduced, according to TAPinto.
In Howell, the council approved a budget with a possible 60% raise for themselves, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Lebanon, the township adopted the budget, according to NJ Hills.
In Long Branch, the city is being sued by Long Branch Partners, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Lyndhurst, the Unity ticket remains in power, according to the Bergen Record.
In Madison, a developer’s planner says a new movie theater building would be a ‘overall positive‘ for the town, according to NJ Hills.
In Mendham Township, there will be no municipal tax increase this year, according to NJ Hills.
In Monroe, a budget was introduced with a slight tax decrease, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Morristown, municipal taxes will inch up this year, according to Morristown Green.
In Neptune, threats follow a school official’s transphobic altercation, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In New Providence, the town recognized Mental Health Month, according to TAPinto.
In Newton, Clerk Read will retire after 33 years, according to NJ Herald.
In Passaic, the mayor and his slate had landslide victories, according to NorthJersey.com.
In Piscataway, the council appointed Rev. Linwood Rouse to a vacant at-large seat, according to TAPinto.
In Plainfield, mayoral candidates will participate in a forum today, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Princeton, municipal buildings are set to reopen on May 17th, according to Planet Princeton.
In Raritan, the township voted to restrict cannabis sales, according to TAPinto.
In Robbinsville, Governor Murphy says that allegations of forced labor at a Hindu temple are ‘unfathomable‘, according to NJ.com.
In South Orange, Hilton, Haskins, and Brown unofficially won trustee seats, according to TAPinto.
In Toms River, the council tabled a marijuana business ban, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Verona, McEvoy unofficially won re-election, according to TAPinto.
In Watchung, the BOE adopted a $13.8M budget, according to NJ Hills.
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 columnist Carl Golden writes ‘This is What Dignity Looks like – in the Face of a Howling Mob‘
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:
Cathy Bessewitz, Ben Finley, Tom Foreman, Jr., Associated Press
- Drivers waited in long lines at gas stations in the Southeast on Wednesday after a hack of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline led to distribution problems and panic-buying, draining supplies at thousands of gas stations. Although there was no gasoline shortage, there was a problem getting the fuel from refineries on the Gulf Coast to the states that need it, and officials were scrambling to find alternate routes to deliver it.
- For the first time since its inception during last fall’s COVID-19 surge, a color-coded hospital visitation guide shows all regions of New Jersey are in level green, signaling a loosening of visitor restrictions. The system, developed by the New Jersey Hospital Association and adopted by hospitals statewide, reflects trends in COVID activity, including new cases and hospitalizations — both of which are declining. Under level green, most patients may be allowed two visitors at a time, although additional restrictions may remain for patients with COVID or those who are immunocompromised.
Nicole Zanchelli, New Jersey Hills
- A Chatham parent was arrested on Friday, May 7 after storming Chatham High School and shouting grievances about the school district’s curriculum on racism, said township police.
George Woolston, Burlington County Times
- One incumbent lost his seat in Burlington County’s nonpartisan municipal elections held on Tuesday. Jennifer Sciortino will replace John Brodowski on the three-member Bordentown City Board of Commissioners, according to unofficial results from the Burlington County Clerk’s Office.
Karin Price Mueller, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- Business after business had the same story: They can’t find enough employees. While some workers are staying home because of COVID fears or child care issues, others just aren’t ready to give up their unemployment benefits for a job, they said.
Daniel J. Munoz, njbiz.com
- The New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s board on May 12 approved interim rules for a $1.1 billion corporate tax break program meant to act as a cornerstone for the state’s post-COVID economy recovery. Called NJ Emerge, the proposal is capped at $1.1 billion a year for six years, with a seventh potential year for any unused tax credits.
Jim Walsh, Cherry Hill Courier-Post
- The Diocese of Camden “grossly underreported” its assets in a bankruptcy filing in an effort to “disadvantage survivors of clergy abuse,” a lawyer charged Wednesday. Attorney Jeff Anderson asserted Bishop Dennis Sullivan, the diocese’s leader, “has at least $774 million under his control.”
Colleen O’Dea, NJ Spotlight
- New Jersey corrections officials are considering the replacement of the state’s only prison for female inmates, a lockup plagued by harassment and sexual assault for decades and now suffering with power outages for the last four days.
Charles Stile, NorthJersey.com
- The Trenton tradition of senatorial courtesy, the dignified name of a process that allows New Jersey senators to blackball gubernatorial appointees, has been viewed by governors with disgust and frustration. “Courtesy was something that was bitched about in private but accepted publicly,” noted Carl Golden, who served as communication chief for former governors Thomas H. Kean and Christie Whitman.
Star-Ledger Editorial Board
- About 400,000 New Jerseyans typically commute to New York, but an estimated 90 percent of them worked from home after the pandemic slammed the door on interstate travel last year. New York taxed them anyway, because their employers are in New York.
John Heinis, Hudson County View
- The Jersey City Council is set to vote on the Climate and Energy Action Plan on Thursday, which projects $21 million in savings over the next 20 years, while also funding another $19 million in capital needs.
USA TODAY Network New Jersey Editorial Board
- We need our elected representatives in Washington to defend local journalism from Big Tech companies like Google and Facebook.
Press of Atlantic City
- A state appeals court recently made a call that looks to us like a referee’s “no foul, no penalty” judgment letting the game proceed without undue interruption.
Jessie Gomez, Morristown Daily Record
- Faith leaders and nonprofits have formed a new organization that will focus on Morris County’s most pressing problems. Morris Area Together will focus on mental health, affordable housing and criminal justice issues.
Joe Strupp, Asbury Park Press
- Stephanie Hanhan took it personally when the school district announced a surprise shake-up that will mean new principals at three of the district’s four schools next year, including Holmdel High School.