The Morning Intelligence Briefing will be taking off Friday through Monday for the Memorial Day weekend; we will return on Tuesday.
Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing for 5/21/2020:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Former Governor Codey is right – Republican leaders should be brought to the table, but the same should be done for Democratic legislative leaders.” – Senate President Steve Sweeney
The Morning Intelligence Briefing will be taking off tomorrow through Monday for the Memorial Day weekend; we will return on Tuesday.
The statewide COVID-19 count is 150,399 cases and 10,747 fatalities as of Wednesday. Governor Murphy and state officials held their daily COVID-19 briefing. The Governor announced that Walmart and Quest Diagnostics will open drive-through COVID-19 testing sites at 7 Walmart locations throughout the state starting Saturday.
NJ.com investigates the state’s failures as the COVID-19 crisis rampaged through nursing homes.
Residents enrolled in SNAP will be able to use benefits to order groceries online starting next week.
A Rutgers-Eagleton poll finds a majority of New Jerseyans are well-informed about COVID-19, its major symptoms, what to do if infected, and preventative measures.
Burlington County Freeholders say they won’t cut open space due to COVID-19, according to the Burlington County Times.
Cape May County is weighing new options for restaurants as summer approaches, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
Essex County has opened satellite COVID-19 testing sites, according to NorthJersey.com.
In Gloucester County, an eight-month old boy tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Courier Post.
Mercer County expanded its testing for asymptomatic residents for COVID-19.
Ocean County is reopening its remaining closed parks today.
Senator Booker introduced legislation to expand access to healthcare for immigrants.
Rep. Kim announced the Congressional Art Challenge.
Rider University will furlough about 120 employees during the summer, according to Planet Princeton.
Hairdressers gathered to demand that hair salons and barber shops be allowed to open, according to the Bergen Record.
A complaint was filed against Kean University for not reimbursing tuition and fees in light of its campus closing and transition to all-online instruction.
The Norcross Foundation and the Cooper Foundation will distribute 175k reusable face masks to held prevent the spread of COVID-19.
ICYMI: Murphy outlined three stages of reopening; Menendez introduced SMART Act, says he’s optimistic; Murphy decides on hybrid July 7th primary election, allows elective surgeries to resume; shore will reopen Friday; pandemic payouts reach $2.7B; Morris approved plans for a phased re-opening; Murphy says ‘we can’t go full bore‘, allowing curbside pickup for non-essential retailers; Treasury: 60% drop, loss of $3.5B, projects $10B shortfall, state investigating surfacing of Kowasaki Syndrome; Tuesday first day of under 1k positive test results since late March; Menendez touted proposal, teased ‘surprise’ support; Murphy says state moving in right direction, formation of Advisory Committee; Persichilli reported first fatality of child; Murphy takes aim at protesters; Murphy pushed back NJDOL critics
Follow Insider NJ’s new iLine feature, a real-time blog that will give you continuous updates from around the state.
Early indications are for the July 7th primary to be a mess, mostly based on voters’ lack of understanding of the emergency procedures (iLine post).
Katie Brennan speaks out on NJTV after her lawsuit was settled with the state.
Our Revolution NJ endorsed Charlie Baranski for Morris County freeholder.
Cumberland County Freeholder Surrency decried the blocking of his jail reform package from being placed on the board’s agenda.
Governor Murphy has obtained outside counsel to help draft his emergency bonding plan, according to NJ Spotlight.
Senate President Sweeney released a statement agreeing with Senator Codey’s call to bring Republican leadership ‘to the table’ on state reopening discussions.
Speaker Coughin will post the ‘COVID-19 Budget Recovery Bond Act’ for a vote in the Assembly on June 4th.
The Senate GOP sent a letter to Governor Murphy requesting clear guidance and plans on summer camps, child care, fall education, and high school graduations. They sent a letter to Senate President Sweeney calling for a Senate Select Committee (with subpoena power) to investigate the Murphy Administration’s reponse to the long-term care facility COVID-19 fatalities.
Senator Bateman expressed concern that a delayed reopening of the state is increasing conflicts between law enforcement and state residents.
The Legislative Latino Caucus called for fair representation in BPU projects.
Assemblyman Giblin introduced legislation to establish an insulin assistance program.
The NJ Chamber of Commerce launched a ‘Buy Local’ campaign to support local businesses as the state begins its reopening.
The NJ Midwives Alliance released a statement on out-of-hospital birth access and equity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ICYMI: State, Murphy campaign settled Brennan lawsuit, Murphy says its ‘fair and reasonable‘; Repollet chosen as new Kean U. prez; ELEC confirms 2017 LD3 race most expensive ever; Murphy vetoed legislation
With record unemployment, local governments strapped for revenues, and an already highly-taxed population, could this be the best possible moment for advocates of municipal consolidation to make their case?
In Atlantic City, LD28 Assemblywoman Tucker reached across the state and endorsed mayoral primary candidate Pamela Thomas-Fields.
In Paterson, the council has seen a generational shift over the past decade; the defeat of veteran Councilman McKoy leaves Councilwoman Cotton as the longest-serving member, elected in 2012 (iLine post). McKoy hasn’t conceded though, and is said to be headed towards a recount (iLine post). In Ward 2, challenger Akhtarrazzuman said ‘fraud is afoot’, and it looking for a full investigation, as 8 votes separate him and incumbent Councilman Khalique (iLine post). Elections officials disqualified 19% of the VBMs cast in the election last week, according to the Paterson Press. Mayor Sayegh announced the reopening of Eastside Park and the Great Falls National Park. A contractor is suing the city claiming retaliation, according to the Paterson Press.
In Jackson, the Justice Department announced a lawsuit against the township and zoning board alleging the implementation of zoning ordinances restricting religious schools and housing required by the Orthodox Jewish community.
In Jersey City, the icy relationship between the BOE and city is getting colder, according to the Jersey Journal.
In Ridgefield Park, the mayor is stepping down after 28 years, according to the Bergen Record.
In Trenton, Mayor Gusciora and Councilman Harrison are facing recall attempts following the COVID-19 briefing debacle with Councilwoman Vaughn, who’s also facing a recall attempt, according to the Trentonian.
In Hoboken, Mayor Bhalla and council members traded barbs prior to a vote on cost-cutting measures, according to the Jersey Journal. Two farmers markets will open for the 2020 season with social distancing.
In Hackensack, the Shops at Riverside won a tax break from the city prior to COVID-19, according to the Bergen Record.
In High Point, the BOE will revist its transgender proposal, according to NJ Herald.
In Bernards Township, the schools chief was given a 5-year contract, according to NJ Hills.
In Hamilton (Atlantic), the town will reopen Cove Beach in June, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Oakland, a dog park was approved 11 years after it was proposed, according to the Bergen Record.
In Parsippany, a hair salon will re-open on June 1st with or without permission, according to the Daily Record.
In Evesham, municipal workers rejected a furlough, and face layoffs, according to the Burlington County Times.
In Wallington, the ex-fire chief passed away due to COVID-19, according to the Bergen Record.
In Randolph, the BOE and a watchdog group clashed, according to NJ Hills.
Insider NJ columnist Kevin O’Toole writes ‘My Uncle Mac and the Supply Chain‘
In a guest column on Insider NJ, veteran journalist Phil Garber writes ‘My Uncle Mac and the Supply Chain‘
Insider NJ columnist Mary Gatta writes ‘Being Safe this Summer – Your Questions Answered‘
In a guest column on Insider NJ, Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin writes ‘The Eye of a VBM Storm‘
Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘The Gaslighting of America by Charles Augustus Lindbergh Trump‘
Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘NJ Deserves some Bridgegate Contrition‘
Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘Biden: Trying to be Seen from a Basement Amid the Whirlwind‘
Insider NJ columnist Bob Hennelly writes ‘Bridgegate Ruling Shows Our Over Reliance on Feds to Keep Lid on Corruption that too Often Defines Us‘
AROUND THE WEB:
Star-Ledger Editorial Board
- The state is spending billions it does not have during the present crisis, yet the Murphy Administration has deemed it acceptable to keep the records of these expenditures and other info related to its Covid response hidden from the public.
Brent Johnson, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- Gov. Phil Murphy insisted Wednesday it’s still not safe to allow customers inside nonessential businesses and attractions in New Jersey, even as the state’s coronavirus outbreak shows more signs of slowing, the economy continues to struggle with crushing losses, and some lawmakers push him to move more swiftly.
David Matthau, NJ1015
- When New Jersey students return to class in the fall, assuming they will be allowed in the buildings, what will things be like? As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, the New Jersey School Boards Association has released a special report exploring building safety, mental health of students, communication and the impact of the pandemic on academic and extracurricular programs and budgets The report lays out multiple possible scenarios including alternating school days, partial in-person and virtual instruction and social distancing on school buses.
John Heinis, Hudson County View
- The Hoboken City Council will consider allowing residents’ third quarter tax bill to show a five percent tax increase, according to council documents made public today.
Gabrielle Saulsbery, njbiz.com
- Jon Taffer spent his summers growing up in Ocean Grove, noshing on the boardwalk on food from his uncle’s burger joint. He’s best known for his candor on Paramount Network’s “Bar Rescue.” Chef-owner Nick Liberato is the executive producer of the Netflix travel food show “Restaurants on the Edge” and a “Bar Rescue” chef-producer-alum. The Bucks County native also spent summers at the shore, and now has a beach house in Seaside Park.
David Danzis, Press of Atlantic City
- Vowing to be the voice of change for residents and businesses in a post-COVID-19 world, James “Jimmy” Whitehead formally announced his campaign for mayor Wednesday morning.
Nicolas Huba, Press of Atlantic City
- State Senate President Steve Sweeney talks about how and when casinos in Atlantic City will reopen. Sweeney met with The Press of Atlantic City editorial board Tuesday.
Mike Deak, Bridgewater Courier News
- A state committee on judicial conduct has recommended that a former township municipal court judge be given a public reprimand over a “poor choice of words.” The Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct has recommended to the state Supreme Court that Hector Rodriguez be publicly reprimanded for remarks he made during a Dec. 5, 2017 court session.
JD Mullane, Burlington County Times
- The forecast for the summer season at the Jersey Shore in Wildwood is uncertainty with a chance of going bust. With Gov. Phil Murphy’s statewide coronavirus stay-at-home/house arrest orders in effect for all New Jerseyans, what difference does it make if the beaches are open, but hotels, amusement piers and short-term rentals aren’t?
New Jersey Hills
- Township officials are, like Gov. Phil Murphy, planning how to return to normal in the age of COVID-19.
Andre Sayegh and Harry Pozycki, Guest columnists
- Like most economically challenged cities, Paterson faces some difficult challenges in battling the COVID-19 pandemic. These include higher population density, language barriers, more low-income residents and greater suspicion and even fear of government. As a result, forging an effective community response requires relying more heavily on trusted local residents to perform essential tasks, such as contact tracing and distribution of masks and quarantine kits.
Kevin Coughlin, Morristown Green
- The novel coronavirus is not going anywhere. Not anytime soon, anyway. That’s according to Atlantic Health CEO Brian Gragnolati, who on Tuesday said the new normal will require learning to co-exist with COVID-19 for “the next couple of years.”
Anastasia Bergeron, roi-nj.com
- The physical changes coming to the post-COVID-19 workplace are intuitive — increased sanitization, decreased communal workspaces and, most of all, more “touchless” experiences around the office. Roy Abernathy, an executive vice president of global workplace strategy and human experience at Newmark Knight Frank, said the changes that need to be made by the workforce are going to be harder to implement and maintain. Abernathy said the return to the workplace will be 90% a people change and 10% a physical space change.
Brenda Flanagan, NJTV
- The nurses’ union at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune claims lack of protective gowns pushed them to wear garbage bags — like some New York City nurses did — to shield against COVID-19. Their union filed a complaint this month with the federal safety watchdog OSHA, alleging staff, “… are provided one disposable gown daily and the gown does not last throughout the shift. Employees are unable to obtain additional gowns when needed.”
John Heinis, Hudson County View
- With the input from over two dozen business owners and community leaders, the “Future of North Hudson” is laying out their suggestions for a regional COVID-19 recovery plan.
Mike Deak, Bridgewater Courier News
- A lawsuit challenging the borough’s land use board’s denial of an apartment project on Orlando Drive might be headed to a Superior Court trial if an agreement is not reached.
Abbott Koloff and Monsy Alvarado, NorthJersey.com
- During the lockdown to counter the coronavirus pandemic, Blanca Ruby Soto has been out of a job, but she anticipates going back to work cleaning houses in the coming weeks. She needs money — but the prospect of entering other people’s homes frightens her.