Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing: 5/23/2019

Below is the Insider NJ Morning Intelligence Briefing for 5/23/2019:



Establishing and maintaining pre-k expansion’s hard-won place as a statewide priority is vitally important to the future of our state’s 3- and 4-year-olds.


In his recent Budget Address, Governor Murphy continued New Jersey’s commitment to pre-k expansion and proposed more funding for it – $68 million.


Governor Murphy, Senator Sweeney and Speaker Coughlin all support New Jersey’s high-quality, state-funded, full-day pre-k. In his recent Budget Address, the governor stated that “…together, we are fundamentally redefining public education with greater access to pre-k…”. That’s right!


New Jersey’s state-funded, full-day pre-k is a model for other states and major cities; our state has one of the highest quality public pre-k programs in the country. Until October 2017, only 35 of New Jersey’s hundreds of school districts provided it to their children. Today – thanks to early legislative leadership and recent funding by the Murphy Administration – there are 110+ school districts providing NJ’s pre-k to thousands more 3- and 4-year-olds!


State funded, full-day pre-k provides an important opportunity and critical foundation for New Jersey’s youngest – and their working families.

New Jersey’s been expanding pre-k. The governor’s budget wants more funding. Hundreds of communities, tens of thousands of kids, are waiting.


It’s time to significantly fund pre-k expansion – NOW!


QUOTE OF THE DAY: I cannot support a governor and an administration that lay out the red carpet for illegal aliens and refuse to help federal agencies enforce U.S. law. And I know a lot of Democrats who feel the same way.” – Former Bergen Sheriff Saudino, who started out as a Republican and flipped to Democrat, announcing his return to the GOP


TOP STORYSweeney Announces Names of His Select Committee to Review EDA Tax Incentives



The US Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of a Somerset County man charged with attempting to provide material support to Hamas, making false statements, and making a threat against pro-Israel supporters.


A Monmouth University national poll finds that 67% of Americans believe that former White House counsel Don McGahn should testify before Congress and 73% says special counsel Robert Mueller should testify.


Listen to the CIG Insider NJ podcast’s seventh episode with host Paul Crupi and guest Assemblyman Kevin Rooney.


The NJDOL secured $162k in back wages to a construction company’s truck drivers after a prevailing wage violation investigation.


The Bergen Record reports that Bergen County likely owes millions in back pay to police officers.


Think Tank host Steve Adubato and CD11 Rep. Sherrill discuss Congress and the future of the NJ Democratic Party (video).


Rep. Sherrill introduced the Armament Graduate School Act.


Rep. Norcross introduced the Parity Enforcement Act.


Rep. Gottheimer formally introduced the SECURES Act and Miranda’s Law.


Rep. Pascrell called for an expanded investigation into the ‘stonewalling’ of the release of President Trump’s tax returns.


Rep. Sires released a statement calling for infrastructure investment.


32BJ applauded the congressional markup of the Dream and Promises Act.



New Direction NJ is launching a $1M ad campaign throughout the state in support of Governor Murphy’s budget and his proposed millionaire’s tax.


Ex-Bergen County Sheriff Saudino is bouncing back into the Bergen GOP, saying he ‘simply cannot be part of or support the policies of a governor that are destructive to the fabric of our communities’. Saudino was initially a Republican and then switched to Democrat in 2015; he resigned last year after audio of racist comments came to light. BCRO Chairman Zisa released a statement saying that Saudino’s party affiliation change was his own personal decision, and he won’t occupy a position in the BCRO.


Camden County GOP Chairman Ambrosino released a statement on the Murphy-Norcross tax incentive fight, saying its been ‘fun to sit back and watch’ them ‘tear each other apart’ and that the tax incentive program was a ‘good idea gone bad’; Ambrosino lashed out at Camden Democrats, both the organization and insurgent challengers, saying ‘after 28 years of doing the same thing over and over it’s time for folks to spare us the phony outrage‘ and they ‘have no one to blame but themselves’.


CD5 GOP candidate Frank Pallotta’s campaign released a statement blasting Rep. Gottheimer over an Intercept article alleging the Democrat is a ‘really, really terrible boss’; spokesman Pete Sheridan cracked ‘thank goodness Josh Gottheimer has a driver. With a temper like that, all bets are off if he’s behind the wheel on the the Parkway during rush hour’.


In LD8, former LD7 Senator Allen penned an op-ed in SaveJersey blasting Assemblyman Howarth and in support of GOP ticket of incumbent Assemblyman Ryan Peters and running mate Jean Stanfield.


LD17 Democratic Assembly primary candidate Ron Rivers was endorsed by Food and Water Action.


The Women’s Political Caucus of NJ elected Jen Mancuso as the new board president, succeeding Chrissy Buteas.


2020 prez candidate Senator Booker proposed the creation of an ‘Office of Reproductive Freedom’.



Here’s the Assembly board list for todays’s voting session and here’s what happened in Trenton on Monday.


Senate President Sweeney says he won’t support decriminalization of marijuana (right now) in a USA Today North Jersey editorial board meeting yesterday. Originally slated to take up the bill today, the Assembly pulled it along with the expungement bill, just voting on medical marijuana.


Senate President Sweeney announced the membership of the Senate Select Committee on Economic Growth. One of the committee’s first acts was to request the tax incentive task force to retain documents, emails, and texts, according to Politico NJ.


Senator Doherty renewed his call for action on the ‘New Jersey Water Supply and Pharmaceutical Product Study Commission’.


Senator Pennacchio will hold an fusion energy symposium today.


Assemblyman Rooney introduced legislation to require the NJDOT make pothole repair a priority and include details in an annual report.


Tapped as the incoming CEO of Newark University Hospital, NJDOH Commissioner Elnahal waited several weeks before recusing himself on hospital matters, according to Politico NJ.


NJDOH Deputy Commissioner Jackie Cornell is departing her position for a job with a cannabis company in Colorado, according to ROI-NJ.


Jersey Promise will release a report today on the rapid growth of the state’s Asian-American community at a press conference this morning at the Statehouse.



Diving under the war hood of the Norcross-Murphy feud and the concatenations of 2020 and 2021, and New Jersy’s painful search for its political self amid the badlands.


Listen on tonight at 8pm to Politically Direct Episode #59 with host Fernando Uribe and guest Assemblyman Kevin Rooney.



In Hamilton, Mercer County GOP Chair Richford released a statement on the mayoral primary and her awarding of the line to challenger David Henderson, saying incumbent Yaede has ‘alienated Republicans locally and across the state’ and that she had to ‘protect the integrity of the Republican line on the ballot’.


In Atlantic City, Mayor Gilliam settled a civil dispute with a nightclub employee out of court, according to the Press of Atlantic City.


In Belmar, municipal taxes are increasing over 20%, as residents angrily complained at a council meeting, according to


In Emerson, Borough Council President Falotico released a statement denouncing anti-Semitic and racist graffiti found at the high school.


In Highland Park, CAIR-NJ released a statement calling for the reinstatement of the ‘P Is For Palestine’ event at the library.


In West Wildwood, Mayor Fox was fired from his position as administrator for Wildwood, according to the Press of Atlantic City.


In Englewood, nine firefighters have filed a lawsuit claiming wrongful termination, according to the Bergen Record.


In Hoboken, Mayor Bhalla held a kickoff event for his council slate, according to Hudson County View.


In West Milford, three BOE trustees resigned, according to


In Paterson, Mayor Sayegh nominated ex-Passaic City judge Xavier Rodriguez as the municipal judge, according to Paterson Times.


In Bernards Township, the deputy police chief will retire, according to TAPinto.


In East Brunswick, the town shelved a plan for a new municipal complex, according to MyCentralJersey.


In Somerville, the town advanced a plan for a new police and fire headquarters, according to MyCentralJersey.



Insider NJ columnist and legal analyst Joe Hayden writes ‘Dems’ Strategy Towards the Mueller Report Reminiscent of Dreaded Prevent Defense


In a guest column on Insider NJ, Our Revolution-Essex County Chairman Justin Goldsman writes ‘Machine Dems Adopting Trumpian Tactics To Stop Tax Credit Investigation


Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘‘Deny Everything and Shamelessly Attack’‘ and ‘A Strategic Error


In a guest column on Insider NJ, former Senator Ray Lesniak writes ‘Murphy Crossing The Rubicon v. Norcross


Insider NJ columnist and former Senator Bernie Kenny writes ‘America’s Rough Equilibrium and the 2020 Prez Election


In a guest column on Insider NJ, Ed Henderson and William Osborne write ‘‘Path to Progress’ Runs Right Over New Jersey’s Teachers





Major intraparty battle pits Norcrosses against Murphy

Anjalee Khemlani,


  • A lawsuit and exhibits attached filed by George Norcross’ lawyers and lawyers representing his business interests and those of his brother has escalated an unprecedented intraparty battle between the Norcrosses and Gov. Phil Murphy. The battle began with a fact-finding mission about tax incentives administered by the Economic Development Authority since 2013, and escalated when the focus turned on Camden-based companies with ties to George Norcross.


Camden companies that got tax credits worth millions must divulge who they’re hiring, what they’re giving back to the community, NAACP leader says

Kevin Barfield


  • As the fight over New Jersey’s lucrative corporate tax incentives rages on in Trenton, local advocates here in Camden are forced to ask how they have benefited our communities. The short answer: We have our doubts.


Judge: Council should not have awarded tax break to Hackensack University Medical Center

Terrence Mcdonald, North Jersey Record


  • The City Council exceeded its legal authority when it approved a tax break for Hackensack University Medical Center that would have saved the hospital more than $1 million annually, according to a scathing opinion issued by a Superior Court judge.


Recently retired chief federal judge reflects on career in public office

David Cruz, NJTV


  • Senior Correspondent David Cruz sits down with recently retired chief federal judge for the district of New Jersey, Jose Linares, to discuss his 16 years on the bench. Linares was the first Hispanic federal chief judge in New Jersey and the first Cuban-born federal chief judge in the United States. He plans to bring his focus on diversity to his new position as a partner at the firm McCarter and English.


Beer business contributes $6.7B, 46K jobs to NJ economy

Gabrielle Saulsbery,


  • Suds up. The beer industry contributes $6.7 billion annually to the New Jersey economy and supports 45,546 jobs in the state, according to a report by the Beer Institute and National Beer Wholesalers Association. The business also generates $961.3 million in personal and business taxes and $267.3 million in excise taxes, according to the report.


Taxpayers likely to lose more than $2M in Formica bakery bankruptcy

Michelle Brunetti Post, Press of Atlantic City


  • Taxpayers may be on the hook for more than $2 million in loans made through state economic development programs as a result of the bankruptcy of Formica Bros. Bakery and two affiliated companies.


Drew University ‘rejects’ Methodist gay bans, stands with LGTBQ community

William Westhoven, Morristown Daily Record


  • Drew University is reevaluating its ties to the United Methodist Church, which rejected an effort to lift the denomination’s ban on same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy. Drew’s Board of Trustees, in a statement, reaffirmed their commitment to “proudly welcome students, faculty and staff who are LGBTQ+” and vowed the university “will not support or enforce church policies that discriminate against anyone.”


Who are this year’s Press of Atlantic City Young Leaders?

Claire Lowe, Press of Atlantic City


  • A panel of four independent judges selected 25 outstanding seniors. Each student will receive a small scholarship, as well as recognition in The Press and at, and at our Young Leaders breakfast.


New Jersey: Home of liberty, prosperity, and abortions

Jeff Edelstein, The Trentonian


  • New Jersey’s official motto is “Liberty and Prosperity.” We should modify it slightly. The new motto should be, “Liberty – which means ‘the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views,’ which, by literal definition, would include abortion – and Prosperity.”


In Trenton, Tax Credits For The Working Poor Are Rare Point Of Political Amity

John Reitmeyer, NJ Spotlight


  • Emerging unscathed so far amid this year’s increasingly contentious budget talks is a plan to boost funding for a widely praised tax break that benefits more than half a million low-wage workers in New Jersey.


Deal cop disciplined after bitter Ocean Township Little League election

Erik Larsen, Asbury Park Press


  • A bitter fight over the Ocean Township Little League presidency has landed a Deal police officer in hot water and left his opponent claiming that the patrolman attempted to use his official position to intimidate him and his wife.


Forbes’ Opportunity Zones Summit attracts big names to Newark

Michael Aron, NJTV


  • An event organized by Forbes Magazine brought out several hundred people for a daylong seminar on Opportunity Zones. “This is an amazing group of leaders across investing, politics, philanthropy and real estate to come together and create cooperation projects to invest in America’s most underserved communities,” said Steven Bertoni, vice president and senior editor at Forbes and founder of the Opportunity Zones Summit.


DEP chief’s visit to Vernon fails to quell anger

Eric Obernauer, New Jersey Herald


  • Despite coming here Monday in hopes of allaying the concerns of Sussex County residents impacted by illegal dumping, the state Department of Environmental Protection’s top official appears to have her work cut out for her if she hopes to restore their trust.


Galante emphasizes Republican values to support Neff in Little Silver primary

Don Galante, Little Silver Councilman


  • Can we take a minute to contemplate what’s been unfolding in our community with this upcoming Primary election and consider how it highlights the very definition of community service?


Abortion restrictions spur Newton rally

Kyle Morel, New Jersey Herald


  • About 40 protesters made their voices heard Tuesday night during a rally on the Newton Green in opposition to recent laws restricting abortion rights for women. The protest was organized by Action Together Sussex County, and Vernon resident Zoe Heath led the crowd in several chants as attendees walked around the Green. Many held signs bearing messages such as “Protect women’s rights,” “Stop the bans” and “My body, my choice.”


Toms River to pay $1.1M for private school rides, mostly to Lakewood Orthodox schools

Jean Mikle, Asbury Park Press


  • The Toms River Regional school district expects to pay $1.1 million in transportation stipends next school year to parents whose children mostly attend Orthodox Jewish schools in Lakewood. Parents whose children attend private schools receive a $1,000 annual stipend if the district does not provide busing to those schools, Toms River Regional Business Administrator William J. Doering said.


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