Below is the Insider NJ Morning Intelligence Briefing for 5/17/2019:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’m not going away. They can’t shut me down in committee rooms. They had their night tonight.” – Senate President Sweeney after encountering protesters at his Path To Progress town hall event
TOP STORY: Camden Rising – but No Norcross or Christie
Camden officials and business leaders – and two former Governors – gathered for a press conference yesterday to tout the impact of NJEDA’s tax incentive programs on the city. Former Governors Florio and Corzine were on hand, with Florio (a South Jersey native) calling for an end to the ‘whispering, rumors, and stories‘ about the program. Governors Christie and McGreevey didn’t attend, but offered statements of support for Camden’s progress.
Camden leaders offered their own recap of the event and its ten speakers, including a quote from LG Oliver’s January appearance on NJTV’s On The Record, where she said ‘tax incentives that went to Camden- you wouldn’t have seen those companies come there or stay there. Lockheed Martin, you wouldn’t have seen Subaru, you wouldn’t have seen Holtec come there, you wouldn’t have seen Connor Strong building a corporate headquarters there, the expansion of Rutgers’ (in the same interview, Oliver also said she believes the task force wasn’t a salvo aimed at South Jersey, but the NJEDA itself).
Murphy and Norcross attorneys exchanged legal fire, according to NJ.com, as Connor Strong counsel William Tambussi sent litigation hold letters to the homes of the task force members and the Governor; task force counsel Jim Walden responded that the letter could be seen as an attempt to ‘harass, intimidate, or threaten’ and Murphy’s counsel responded that it was ‘an apparent attempt to intimidate individuals associated with Governor Murphy rather than to provide actual notice’.
Governor Murphy and the Delaware and Pennsylvania Governors signed a proclamation agreeing to work together to restore the Delaware River Watershed.
Governor Murphy and the NJ Department of Homeland Security announced the expansion of the Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program.
The NJ Department of Labor announced that the unemployment rate fell to 3.9% in April.
Rep. Pascrell applauded the Senate passage of his legislation to permanently authorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program. Pascrell lauded the awarding of a new Tokyo route to Newark Airport.
Rep. Kim applauded the House passage of the SAVE Act.
Senate President Sweeney pulled the plug on the question session during his Path To Progress town hall last night, as protesters and public sector union workers (and a King George III impersonator, evidently implying George Norcross) – booed and catcalled Sweeney throughout the event, which ended 20 minutes after it started. Sweeney suggested that the Murphy administration was behind the protesters, saying ‘where do you think they came from?’, according to NJ.com.
NJGOP Chairman Steinhardt commented on the NJ Democratic civil war, decrying one-party rules and saying that the state ‘desperately needs ideological diversity in the Statehouse’.
CD1 GOP candidate Josh Duvall released a statement saying that while Democrats are focusing on AG Barr, Russian collusion, and impeachment, American infrastructure is ‘crumbling’; Duvall announced his candidacy earlier this week.
Middlesex County GOP Chair Panos requested the county prosecutor investigation ‘possible malfeasance’ by the Board of Elections during the hiring of temporary employees to process VBM ballots.
The Central Jersey Progressive Democrats released a statement opposing Senator Smith’s announced chairmanship of the Senate’s Special Committee on Economic Growth, saying its putting the ‘fox in the hen house’.
Senate President Sweeney introduced the ‘Path To Progress’ legislative package yesterday at a press conference with Senators Sarlo, Oroho, and Assemblyman Greenwald. The 27-measure package includes: cash balance accounts for PERS and TPAF for new public employees; raising the retirement age within those plans to 67; a hybrid pension plan; SEHBP termination; county college employee transfer to SHBP from SHEBP; unused sick leave payout limits; eligibility limits for public health benefits; school district consolidation plans; requires shared services meetings; establishment of the Local Gov’t Efficiency Office; authorizing county police forces to cover municipalities, and other measures. Sweeney said that ‘these reforms can have an historic impact that will produce an unprecedented amount of sustained savings’ and ‘if we fail to act, property taxes will continue to go up, and pension, health benefits and debt service will continue to eat up every penny of state revenue growth over the next three years’. Sweeney added that ‘we need to have the courage to make the right decisions and take the actions that are best for New Jersey’s future’. According to NJ.com, Governor Murphy said that he’ll ‘carefully review‘ the package ‘but the bottom line is that savings alone will not help us meet the entirety of our obligations’.
The Senate Majority Office released a list of statements from supporters of the package. NJ Building Trades President Mullen, a staunch Sweeney ally, said ‘these are cost-saving reforms that will benefit everyone, including the taxpayers who pay the bills’, while taking a swipe at CWA leader Hetty Rosenstein. The NJBIA said the reforms will ‘greatly improve New Jersey’s fiscal challenges in the short-and long-term’. Americans For Prosperity-NJ applauded Sweeney for ‘seeking solutions’ and urged lawmakers to consider the bills. The NJ Society of CPAs released a statement in support of the package. The NJEA said that while they are still reviewing the package, ‘at first look, too many of these proposals continue to target already-struggling educators’. The NJ AFLI-CIO said they oppose the hybrid pension plan. NJ Policy Perspective said they oppose pension and benefit cuts and ‘trickle-down economics’, while calling for a millionaire’s tax.
Senator Rice introduced legislation to prohibit ‘contingent’ legislation which has an enactment or effective date that is dependent on another bill’s passage.
Senator O’Scanlon released his ‘wish list‘ for medical marijuana legislation, including some of the policy changes that are part of his bill.
Senator Singleton released a statement in support of women’s reproductive rights following the enactment of Alabama’s restrictive abortion law. Senator Gopal also released as statement condemning the law.
Assemblyman Verrelli introduced legislation to combat gift-card scams.
Diving under the war hood of the Norcross-Murphy feud and the concatenations of 2020 and 2021.
Jon Corzine, the club, and New Jersey’s painful search for its political self amid the Norcross-Murphy badlands.
Listen to Politically Direct Episode #58 with host Fernando Uribe and guest Anthony Colandro, the NRA’s 79th Director.
In Hoboken, Mayor Bhalla unveiled his ward council slate.
In Ocean Township, VBMs could decide the 5th council spot, according to MoreMonmouthMusings.
In Bridgewater, Nick Mangold will help fundraise for GOP mayoral primary candidate Matt Moench, according to SaveJersey.
In Belleville, the council voted to hire Anthony Iacano as business administrator, according to TAPinto.
In Newark, Board Street was renamed the Mayor Kenneth A. Gibson Boulevard, according to TAPinto.
In Newark, over 200 people attended TeachNJ’s annual dinner.
In Atlantic City, the Police Department will launch a community policing program, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Princeton, Senator Bateman applauded the reopening of the Dinky Service.
- Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘Medical Cannabis Legislation to Advance. What’s in the Bill?‘ and ‘Corporate Welfare Melodrama NOT Limited To South Jersey‘
- Insider NJ columnist and ELEC Executive Director Jeffrey Brindle writes ‘Differences Aside In How We Get There, All Agree On Need For More Disclosure ‘
- In a guest column on Insider NJ, former Senator Ray Lesniak writes ‘A Year of Sports Betting in the Books‘
- Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘Pressure Will Grow for Booker to Become the 2021 Democratic Gubernatorial Alternative‘
- Insider NJ columnist Tom Barrett writes ‘State Senator Joe Vitale: “Job Well Done”‘
- Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘Farmer Was Farmer‘ and ‘Murphy Versus Norcross: Duel for the New Jersey Democratic Party‘
AROUND THE WEB:
Cassidy Grom, NJ Advance Media For NJ.com
- Several New Jersey mayors are headed to Hawaii this summer — some at the expense of taxpayers. The US Conference of Mayors is hosting its annual convention in Honolulu starting June 28 and eight New Jersey mayors are pre-registered to attend, according to the conference’s website.
Jim Walsh and Phaedra Trethan, Cherry Hill Courier-Post
- This city received some gubernatorial praise Thursday, but it didn’t come from the state’s chief executive. Instead, two former governors appeared at a sort of political pep rally, lauding the city’s gains against the backdrop of a sharp dispute between local officials and the administration of Gov. Phil Murphy.
Curtis Tate, North Jersey Record
- The Republican leader of the state Assembly said Gov. Phil Murphy should give NJ Transit a $250 million funding boost from the $484 million surplus announced this week by the state treasurer. Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, R-Westfield, said Murphy should also return the balance of the surplus to taxpayers.
Jayed Rahman, Paterson Times
- After a news story exposed a massive data breach at the Paterson Public Schools, superintendent Eileen Shafer threatened to sue the Paterson Times for purported “serious reputational harm” to the school district, a lawsuit that would be prohibited by law. The letter also suggested the district would use legal means to obtain materials related to the breach held by the Times, which would be prohibited by the state’s reporter’s shield law.
Raven Santana, NJTV
- There’s a teachers shortage in New Jersey. That’s according to data from the U.S. Department of Education. On Thursday, the Assembly Education Committee heard testimony from educators from across the state on the topic of teacher shortages in key subject areas, an issue the state Department of Education says it’s looking to fix.
Vincent DeBlasio, TAPinto Camden
- A reappointment for one of the city parking authority’s top officials did not move forward Tuesday night over concerns stemming from a lawsuit filed against the agency early this month. The Camden City Council tabled a resolution that would have extended the term of Angel L. Alamo, a commissioner of the Camden Parking Authority, for five years through May 2024.
Lisa Broadt, Burlington County Times
- Committeeman Ted Costa at Tuesday’s committee meeting thanked residents for participating in a discussion that began with a focus on sanctuary cities, but came to encompass a wide range of immigration issues.
Jeff Edelstein, The Trentonian
- Do I believe there is a vast left wing conspiracy out to get Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede via the Hamilton Animal Shelter? I absolutely, positively, do not. Do I believe Yaede believes there is? Uh-huh.
Kala Kachmar, Asbury Park Press
- Two city police officers with long histories of internal affairs complaints against them are being sued in federal court for violating the civil rights of two young men at a traffic stop — some of which was caught on video.
Charles Stile, North Jersey Record
- In May 2008, Donald Trump, the self-professed “miracle worker,” lost his magic. And his cool. Gov. Jon S. Corzine had just lost his patience with Trump’s pledge to rescue a struggling, grandiose plan to convert abandoned garbage dumps into luxury housing and a golf course. Trump promised a majestic makeover — the toxic, woebegone wetlands along the New Jersey Turnpike would give way to glittering high rises and emerald green fairways.
Caitlin Oprysko, Politico
- Sen. Cory Booker’s deputy presidential campaign manager announced on Twitter Wednesday night that she donated to the campaign of rival 2020 candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, urging others to do the same to ensure that Gillibrand qualifies for next month’s Democratic primary debate.
Ted Sherman, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- Bridget Anne Kelly, who was sentenced in April to 13 months in prison for her role in the Bridgegate corruption scandal, will serve her time at a minimum-security camp for female inmates in West Virginia.
Tom Johnson, NJ Spotlight
- As expected, Rate Counsel Stefanie Brand yesterday challenged the award of $300 million in ratepayer subsidies to keep PSEG Power’s three nuclear power plants open in South Jersey in a case filed with the New Jersey Appellate Division.
Daniel J. Munoz, njbiz.com
- Gov. Phil Murphy disputed that any kind of bad blood between him and the senate president ultimately doomed efforts to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana.
John Heinis, Hudson County View
- West New York voted for change, while North Bergen decided they are happy with what they have. Who were the biggest winners and losers with the 2019 municipal elections in the books?