Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Welcome to the labyrinthine, Rube Goldberg world of operating a pool in New Jersey!” – Senator O’Scanlon slamming the Murphy Administration’s ‘insane’ rules on the reopening of community pools
TOP STORY: Don’t Fudge the War Metaphors in Hoboken
The statewide COVID-19 count stands at 878,892 cases and 23,067 fatalities (and 127,046 probable cases and 2,640 probable fatalities) as of Thursday (an increase of 1,564 cases and 34 fatalities from the previous day). The viral transmission rate is .42. There have been 7,373,075 COVID-19 vaccinations administered (with 3,437,601 people fully vaccinated). Follow Insider NJ’s County COVID-19 Data Center.
The NJDOL reported that total pandemic unemployment payments are nearing $28B.
Governor Murphy says he expects to see more NJ counties getting out of contracts with ICE, according to Hudson County View.
A Monmouth University poll finds a majority of New Jerseyans say the state’s imposed social distancing measures have been appropriate to date, but support Governor Murphy’s move to ease restrictions this week.
Bergen County announced its May regional COVID-19 testing and vaccination locations and dates.
A deal was reached in the Cumberland County Jail COVID-19 case, according to the Burlington County Times.
Essex County is shifting its COVID-19 vaccination strategy on smaller, more local efforts, according to NJTV.
Reps. Kim and Van Drew sent a letter to Interior Secretary Haaland requesting that the federal government fill a vacant seat on the NJ Pinelands Commission.
ICYMI: Murphy announced significant easing of COVID-19 restrictions; breweries will give free beer to vaccinated people; Sherrill optimistic about SALT; Murphy signed an executive order permitting summer camps; Murphy announced increase in indoor capacity; Menendez says SALT non-negotiable; Booker heralded Biden’s 100 days; Menendez eviscerated Hudson critics
ELEC approved more matching funds for GOP gubernatorial primary candidate Jack Ciattarelli (iLine post).
GOP gubernatorial primary candidates Jack Ciattarelli and Hirsh Singh will face off in two debates at the end of the month.
In LD21, UFCW Locals 152 and 360 endorsed Mayor Signorello for Senate.
Mercer County GOP commissioner candidates Stillwell, Machevus, and Hurtado called for more arts funding in the county budget.
Rep. Kim was one of several House members who fell behind on the payment of DC property taxes, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
ICYMI: Somerset Dems hired new ED; mild irritation over Singh candidacy; Suleiman expects Polistina v. Mazzeo Senate race; Morris GOP launching ‘Insiders Club’; ELEC approved Ciattarelli funds (iLine post); Murphy campaign announced Rosenstein as adviser; LUPE announced endorsements; Pallotta plans to run again; Lassiter interviews Guardian; Grossman-Polistina debate cancelled; LD16’s Pappas kicked off campaign; Bridget Kelly found a role for Christie; Huttle took a stand on CCRBs; Brotschol ready to run against Sherrill; Bacon urging support for GOP; in LD31, Chiaravalloti ended off-the-line bid, Murphy had a ‘heart-to-heart’ with him; Essex Sheriff primary candidate Arnold discusses his candidacy; in LD24, Cruz believes he can bring new perspective
NJDOL Commissioner Asaro-Angelo released a statement supporting the USDOL’s withdrawal of the ‘independent contractor rule’.
Senator Weinberg introduced legislation to modify the procedures of school emergency drills.
Senator O’Scanlon slammed the Murphy Administration’s ‘Rube Goldberg’ approach to the reopening of community pools.
Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle introduced legislation to decriminalize the transmission of HIV in certain circumstances. Huttle introduced legislation requiring all employers to provide paid sick leave for workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Assemblyman Chiaravalloti introduced legislation to establish criminal penalties for falsified COVID-19 vaccine cards.
Assemblyman Moen introduced legislation to increase the penalties for illegal dumping.
Assemblywoman Lopez introduced legislation to create a COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Commission.
Assemblyman Scharfenberg introduced legislation seeking to prevent the usage of COVID-19 vaccine passports.
Assemblywoman Downey introduced legislation to mandate the safe storage of firearms.
The NJ Chamber of Commerce released a snap survey showing 2/3 of business owners are ready to attend in-person networking events.
The Fair Share Housing Center called for amendments to the ‘Fair Chance in Housing Act’, while taking aim at the NJ Apartment Association for pushing for amendments that would ‘weaken enforcement’ and ’tilt the scales in favor of landlords’; the NJAA fired back, calling the FSHC’s narrative ‘misleading’ and ‘disturbing’, adding that they should ‘practice what they preach when screening their own tenants instead attempting to drive attention elsewhere’.
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 to Politically Direct Episode 133 with host Fernando Uribe and guest Angela Fam, LD18 GOP Assembly candidate.
As Governor Murphy unveils a gun violence prevention package, several officials suggest different approaches for different reasons.
32BJ made endorsements in Morristown, Plainfield, and Hackensack.
In Camden, mayoral candidate Elton Custis sent a letter to Acting US Attorney Honig requesting federal election monitors for the June primary.
In Newark, a Parking Authority employee was sentenced to 30 months in prison for distributing heroin and cocaine and being a felon in possession of two firearms.
In Atlantic City, Councilman Shabazz is calling for rent credits be given to residents of Stanly Holmes Village, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Bernards Township, Committeeman Esposito resigned, according to NJ Hills.
In Cape May City, a new emergency management coordinator was sworn-in, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Harding, school taxes are up an average $188, according to NJ Hills.
In Hawthorne, the town proclaimed May as Mental Health Month, according to TAPinto.
In Hoboken, the council voted down a measure to fine elected officials who block constituents on social media, according to Hudson County View.
In Lakewood, the BOE approved the budget but asked the state for a $70M loan, according to the Asbury Park Press. A judge ruled that students aren’t receiving a fair education, but the fix still isn’t clear, according to NJ.com.
In Mahwah, residents are rejoicing that Verizon cell service has finally arrived, according to the Bergen Record.
In Manville, the town is alleging malpractice by the ex-borough attorney, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Morristown, the police department celebrated its accreditation, amidst political turbulence, according to Morristown Green.
In Paterson, schools are reopening for teachers on June 1st, according to Paterson Times.
In Pleasantville, the council passed a budget with no tax increase, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Ocean Grove, the town wants to break free of being Asbury Park’s ‘free parking lot’, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Raritan Borough, Councilwoman Harris resigned, according to TAPinto.
In Ridgewood, school fields will be closed on weekend nights, according to the Bergen Record.
In Washington Township, the school district decried the loss of state aid, according to NJ Hills.
In Wayne, a developer withdrew from the affordable housing case, according to NorthJersey.com.
In West Deptford, Solvay will stop using ‘forever chemicals’ at their facility, according to Burlington County Times.
ICYMI: 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, hard-edged 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 last night, 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 Muslin vacc efforts; in Camden, Reyes-Morton says county Dems disrespected process; in Plainfield, Wyatt hit with ethics complaint
Insider NJ reporter Fred Snowflack writes ‘Ciattarelli Irritated by Murphy’s Impersonation of Marshal Zhukov‘
Insider NJ columnist and ELEC Executive Director Jeffrey Brindle writes ‘Could Looming US Supreme Court Ruling Upend Campaign Finance Law?‘
Insider NJ columnist Bob Hennelly writes ‘Trump Dominated GOP Primary Gives Murphy the Race He Wants and Needs‘
Insider NJ reporter Fred Snowflack writes ‘Singh’s Choice Threatens the Viability of the Republican Party‘
In a guest column on Insider NJ, GOP gubernatorial primary candidate Hirsh Singh writes ‘New Jersey Republican Gubernatorial Primary Marks First Battle In Republican Party Civil War‘
AROUND THE WEB:
- Kearny, Harrison and East Newark should consider merging into a single, consolidated town. The towns are small in terms of both population (approximately 40,000, 14,000, and 3,000, respectively) and geography and can easily be managed more efficiently (both in effectiveness and cost) as a single entity.
Matt Friedman, Politico
- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, in a statement dripping with disdain for his predecessor, has vetoed legislation that would have essentially re-formed and made permanent the Christie administration‘s Red Tape Review Commission. Murphy‘s veto of NJ A4810 (20R), which passed the Legislature with near-unanimous support, drew praise from environmentalists and criticism from business advocacy groups and Republicans.
Tom Bergeron, roi-nj.com
- This is where we are at as a state: We’re arguing about the efficiency of our efficiency programs. On Wednesday, Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed legislation (A4810/S441) that dozens of sponsors and cosponsors said was designed to reduce bureaucratic red tape, improve government efficiency and produce savings for taxpayers. It certainly had bipartisan support.
Krystal Knapp, Planet Princeton
- Leaders of St. Francis Medical Center, a member of Trinity Health and one of two hospitals in the capital city, have signed a non-binding letter of intent to become part of Capital Health.
Tom Johnson, NJ Spotlight
- The state is hiring an outside consultant to analyze what its transition to clean energy will cost ratepayers, an assessment repeatedly delayed even as policymakers approve projects saddling customers with billions of dollars in new charges.
Vincent Jackson, Press of Atlantic City
- Bishop Robert F. Hargrove II, senior pastor at Cathedral Grace Family Church, felt good Thursday bringing his prayers praising God and Jesus from inside his church’s walls outside at Maine and Atlantic avenues.
Melanie Burney, Philadelphia Inquirer
- A judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a suspended high school referee who gave a South Jersey wrestler only seconds to choose between having his dreadlocks cut or forfeiting his match in 2018.
Kathleen Hopkins, Asbury Park Press
- A federal judge has narrowed the grounds on which the children of former Neptune police Sgt. Philip Seidle can sue officials with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office over a decision to rearm their father with the gun he used to kill their mother in 2015.
Mike Davis and Robert Gutierrez, Asbury Park Press
- Recreational marijuana is now legal in New Jersey after Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law three bills on Monday. The laws signed allow the possession and use of marijuana by anyone over 21 years old within the state of New Jersey, who can have up to 6 ounces of weed on them without facing any penalty.
Susan K. Livio and Kelly Heyboer, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- New Jersey’s most powerful elected officials — the Governor, Senate President and Assembly Speaker — would be required to appoint more women and minorities to public boards and commissions under a bill a state lawmaker said she will sponsor to eliminate the persistent gender imbalance in state government.
Matt Rooney, Save Jersey
- Big Tech censorship is impacting New Jersey’s largest in-state radio station, Save Jerseyans. On Wednesday, our friend and NJ 101.5 morning host Bill Spadea told me that his station had been barred from posting to its YouTube channel for a period of seven days. Why? NJ 101.5 uploaded a video of Spadea interviewing Mark Razzoli of Old Bridge and Pamela Richmond of Howell concerning school mask policies.
Lilo H. Stainton, NJ Spotlight
- With COVID-19 vaccine supplies holding steady and demand for the shots declining, New Jersey’s immunization program is shifting gears, with walk-in appointments now regularly available at mega-sites around the state and some larger county operations shutting down or temporarily suspending inoculations.
Tom Nobile, NorthJersey.com
- What’s unfolding in a New Jersey court might confound even the late-night radio legend and king of conspiracies Art Bell. In one corner is David Rubini, a fast-talking on-air talent with a Texas twang, who styles himself a former protégé of Bell’s and his disciple on the radio mic.
Buzz Keough, Press of Atlantic City
- Now that New Jersey has legalized marijuana use and possession for adults 21 years and older, South Jersey municipalities have begun adopting their own rules to address use and sale. Under the N.J. Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act towns have until Aug. 21 – 180 days from the adoption of the state law – to create any local enforcement structure. Towns that do not act by then will be governed by the state’s law.
Stephen Edelson, Asbury Park Press
- With opening day on May 28 rapidly approaching, Monmouth Park faces a potential boycott by jockeys, while finding itself at the center of a national debate pitting public perception against horse racing traditions. Some of the track’s leading riders have yet to commit to returning to the Jersey Shore for the 2021 season — citing the New Jersey Racing Commission’s decision to restrict the use of riding crops.