Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing: 6/25/2019

Below is the Insider NJ Morning Intelligence Briefing for 6/25/2019:



New Jersey’s public schools consistently rank among the top in the nation, yet the educators who help our students achieve their dreams have watched their pay checks go down for the past eight years. The unintended consequences of P.L. 2011, Ch. 78 have devastated the morale and the pocketbooks of public school employees for too long. It’s time for Trenton to #FixTheUnfairness and return respect to our public school employees by passing S-2606/A-4352. Learn more.


QUOTE OF THE DAY: I want to congratulate him for having the onions to stand up.” – Former Governor and Senator Codey on Governor Murphy’and the tax incentive investigation


TOP STORY:  Standoff at the Statehouse



As Trenton awaits the next move from Governor Murphy in the budget standoff, Murphy said ‘we have a whole range of options and we have a fair amount of clock left‘, according to He doesn’t plan to meet with lawmakers before the budget deadline, according to Politico NJ.


The first Democratic presidential primary debate tomorrow night offers Senator Booker an opportunity to get noticed, amid the current Booker-Biden scrap, as he struggles to rise above 2%, according to the most recent Monmouth University poll.


Governor Murphy lifted the state of emergency in Burlington, Gloucester, and Camden counties.


AG Grewal announced the distribution of recovered funds to cancer centers following a 50-state lawsuit against shame cancer charities.


NJ Biz released their Law Power 50 list.


Rep. Kim announced the CD3 Congressional Art Contest winner.


A WalletHub study ranks New Jersey 50th among most patriotic states.


ICYMI: Murphy’s tough day in Trenton



Former Ocean County GOP Chairman Gilmore’s sentencing has been delayed for a psychiatric evaluation, according to the Asbury Park Press.


LD25 Democratic Assembly candidates Bhimani and Draeger released a statement calling on the Legislature to lower health care costs and protect those with pre-existing conditions.


CD5 GOP candidate and Montvale Mayor Ghassali demanded an apology from Rep. Gottheimer over attacks on his tax record by the DCCC, saying that Montvale has reduced taxes the past two years, according to SaveJersey.


CD2 GOP candidate Josh Duvall released a statement blasting Democrats for ‘clamoring over a laundry list’ of Trump abuses while greeting the tax incentive controversy with a ‘collective yawn’.


GOP Senate candidate Tricia Flanagan reiterated her call for Senator Booker to only accept one campaign contribution from a single donor, and not both his presidential and Senate re-election campaign.


The Essex County Young Democrats announced their 2019 executive board.


Alzheimer’s New Jersey will raffle golf outings to raise funds for care and support for families impacted by Alzheimer’s and dementia.


ICYMI: Kean visible at Morris unity breakfast; Christie discusses his vetting;

grassroots orgs demand Booker reject DiVincenzo/Norcross fundraiser; Doherty says Trump made right decision on Iran; Quinones Perez elevated to equity shareholder at Decotiis; Lagana hauls $100k at fundraiser; Hoffman announced Senate run; Schepisi on NJGOP challenges; Stone betting on Norcross; Scutari complaint tossed; HCDO adds to exec team



Here are the board lists for the Senate and Assembly voting sessions on Thursday, and here’s what happened under the Gold Dome last Thursday.


Governor Murphy signed three bills into law.


The Tax Incentive Task Force will hold its third public meeting on Tuesday, July 9th. The announcement of the third meeting follows their initial report released in the aftermath of a judicial ruling last week (see the order and hearing transcript). The Legislature passed an extension of the incentive program, prompting the Governor to say he will veto the bill, and chastised the Legislature for passing it without reforms. Meanwhile, the Senate committee formed to look into the tax incentives postponed its first meeting (which was scheduled for yesterday) until after Thursday’s Senate voting session. Working Families NJ filed an ethics complaint letter regarding several members on the committee, saying they may have conflicts of interest.


Former Governor and Senator Codey stood with Murphy yesterday at a press conference, congratulating the Governor for ‘having the onions to stand up‘ and investigate the NJEDA’s tax incentives, adding that ‘we need to pull back and find out what’s going on’. reports that Judith Persichilli will be tapped as the next NJDOH Commissioner, succeeding Shereef Elnahal.


Senate President Sweeney addressed the attendees of Realtors Day in Trenton.


Senator Ruiz applauded the signing of legislation establishing a maternal health care pilot program.


The Budget:



ICYMI: Sacco remarked Dems on Dem ‘not healthy’; Murphy fired off letter to legislators, Sweeney fired back; Sweeney calls on Platkin to resign; Coughlin says leg. budget is ‘good news’; Cardinale, Pou sparred during Stellato interview; the budget drama; unions, prog groups rallied at Statehouse



Take a look at a few key Insider NJ budget reads from the current budget cycle.


Download and read the Insider 100: Cannabis publication by Insider NJ’s Jay Lassiter.


Listen to Politically Direct Episode 63 with host Fernando Uribe and guest Stacie Sherman, Bloomberg News Trenton Bureau Chief.


Visit the Insider 100 Publications page, the Events Calendar, the Press Release page, and check out the Insider NJ Video Gallery and Insider NJ Podcast page.



In Atlantic City, Asemblymen Mazzeo and Armato responded to the launch of a petition calling for non-partisan local elected body, cautioning against a restructuring saying it could ‘further embed patronage and closed door decisions’.


In Atlantic City, Senate President Sweeney expressed concern over the sale of Caesars to Eldorado Resorts, saying ‘we don’t want to allow the ongoing resurgence to be compromised by a deal that concentrates too much control in a national conglomerate’.


In Hoboken, the prosecution and defense gave their closing arguments yesterday in the trial of Frank Raia, according to Hudson County View. The jury deliberated for two hours and were dismissed early; deliberations will resume this morning.


In Hackensack, community leaders and organizations including Garden State Equality, the NJEA, and the ACLU-NJ called for the resignation of a BOE trustee over anti-LGBTQ remarks.


In Prospect Park, teachers and parents protested the firing of a security guard, according to


In Trenton, the city shot down $4.5M in contracts, as Mayor Gusciora wants the city is ‘dangerously’ close to violating the MUA, according to the Trentonian.


In Brick, school superintendent Dalton plans to resign, according to the Asbury Park Press.


In Edison, the deputy police chief quit following a false statement charge, according to MyCentralJersey.


In Branchburg, Police Director Young will retire and the Somerset County prosecutor’s office will take over management of the department on July 1st, according to MyCentralJersey.


In Paterson, the city unveiled the street sign for Bangladesh Boulevard, in a ceremony attended by hundreds, according to Paterson Times.


In Paterson, Councilwoman Mimms gave out scholarships to 28 students, according to Paterson Times.


In Jersey City, Mayor Fulop announced that Pitbull and Akon will headline the city’s July 4th festival and fireworks celebration.



Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘From AIDS to Equal Marriage in One (Messy) Generation. An Ally’s Perspective.


Insider NJ columnist Alan Steinberg writes ‘Can Biden Effectively Deliver His Compelling Centrist Message?


In a guest column on Insider NJ, former Assemblyman Jose Sosa writes ‘Mitch McConnell, You Insult Every Soldier from Puerto Rico Who has Worn the U.S. Uniform


Insider NJ reporter Fred Snowflack writes ‘Drilling Down on the Most Egregious Finding in the Governor’s EDA Task Force Report‘ and ‘Governing a Third of New Jersey in Anonymity




NJ congressional Democrats want answers on census test; concerned about undercounting

Monsy Alvarado, North Jersey Record


  • Days before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether the 2020 census should include a question about citizenship, New Jersey congressional Democrats on Monday requested results of a test sample currently being conducted to gauge public reaction to the potential question.


BPU president says new wind farm will boost NJ economy

Rhonda Schaffler, NJTV


  • Last week the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities chose Orsted Ocean Wind to build a 1,100 megawatt wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City, the single largest award for offshore wind in the country to date. Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso sat down with NJTV News Business Correspondent Rhonda Schaffler to talk about the logistics of the deal and the economic impact the project is expected to have.


‘I was not my best self,’ Rutgers chancellor says of her outburst at campus police

Catherine Carrera, North Jersey Record


  • Rutgers-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor told the Rutgers University Police Department she was not her “best self” the March morning when campus police tried to investigate a minor accident between her driver and a campus police car. “If I miss my airplane, you folks are in trouble,” Cantor said as she angrily jabbed her finger in the air toward an officer at the scene on March 4, according to body camera footage obtained by NJ Advance Media.


Byram reviews ‘dirty dirt’ ordinances to create its own

Jennifer Jean Miller, New Jersey Herald


  • The Township Council is in the early phases of creating its own soil importation ordinance, following other Sussex County municipalities aiming to prevent the dumping of contaminated soil in their towns. The municipal soil ordinances have been in response to the exposure of an illegal and contaminated dirt pile in a residential Vernon neighborhood earlier this year.


N.J. bill would ban discrimination based on hairstyle. It’s a measure prompted by Buena dreadlocks incident

Melanie Burney,


  • A bill introduced in the New Jersey legislature would ban discrimination based on hair in the workplace, housing and public schools. The measure was prompted in part by a Buena high school wrestler who had his dreadlocks cut to avoid forfeiting a match. It would toughen existing civil rights laws by prohibiting discrimination based on hair type, texture or style and include such natural styles as locs, braids, twists and Afros.


This Phillipsburg native took his expletive-like trademark case to the Supreme Court and just won

Sara K. Satullo, For


  • A Phillipsburg native’s FUCT streetwear clothing brand can get federal trademark protection after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor Monday.


Murphy’s Gambit: Using other People’s Money to Buy Votes While Avoiding N.J.’s Property Tax Crisis

Christian Barranco, Save Jersey


  • Governor Phil Murphy has apparently woken up to the fact that there is a property tax crisis in New Jersey and he is determined to do something about it. But what he is proposing to do is the wrong thing. Taxing millionaires more and redistributing the money in tiny increments of $125 to eligible taxpayers is not a solution to New Jersey’s property tax crisis. It’s a way to buy votes.


Amendment to House bill could help fund Joint Base overpass project

David Levinsky, Burlington County Times


  • Securing funding to build an overpass on Route 539 by the joint base has become a top priority for Reps. Andy Kim, Donald Norcross and other members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation, as well as state and county lawmakers. But Friday’s amendment to a House budget bill marked one of the most promising developments to date.


Booker, Menendez join Dems criticizing school trustee who called LGBT studies ‘repugnant’

Terrence T. McDonald, North Jersey Record


  • Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez are joining a widening group of Democrats taking aim at the Hackensack school trustee who said she is “disgusted” by New Jersey’s new law requiring that schools teach LGBT history. In a joint statement issued Monday, the Democratic senators called school board member Frances Cogelja’s comments discriminatory and hurtful and said her remarks “do not represent New Jersey values.”


Newark’s schools have clearly improved, researcher says. But why?

Jesse Margolis


  • As Cory Booker campaigns for president, many are asking: have the schools in Newark improved since he was elected mayor in 2006? In a study my co-author Eli Groves and I released, we find the answer to be yes.


Sweeney pushes Port Authority takeover of Atlantic City International Airport

Michelle Brunetti Post, Press of Atlantic City


  • Atlantic City will remain a limited tourist destination unless Atlantic City International Airport brings in more passenger flights and expands into other aspects of aviation, state Senate President Steve Sweeney said.


How Phil Murphy dropped the ball on the millionaires tax — again

Charles Stile, North Jersey Record


  • New Jersey now has a much clearer portrait of Gov. Phil Murphy after he’s been dealt his second humiliating setback on a state budget. Murphy is a governor who can’t seem to fully commit to his own cause. He is good at shaping slogans yet appears unwilling to expend the energy, time and political capital to carry his priorities to the finish line.


Booker maintains Biden showed ‘lack of understanding’ in segregationist remarks

Bianca Quilantan, Politico


  • Sen. Cory Booker said former Vice President Joe Biden “showed a lack of understanding or insensitivity” through his comments last week about working with two Southern segregationist senators.


The Trentonian receives Courage Under Fire award for exposing Mayor Gusciora’s right hand

The Trentonian Staff


  • Trentonian news reporter Isaac Avilucea and editor John Berry have received the prestigious Courage Under Fire award for standing strong at a time when Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora’s administration attempted to make the newspaper look bad.


Here’s how the NJ budget will affect you — beyond the big-ticket items

Stacey Barchenger, North Jersey Record


  • New Jersey’s budget drama centered mostly on higher taxes for millionaires, but the $38.7 billion budget now waiting for Gov. Phil Murphy’s signature features new spending and new programs designed to help people across the state earning well below that top tax bracket.


How Two Unrelated Hospital Measures Have Stalled in Trenton

Lilo H. Stainton, NJ Spotlight


  • Lawmakers in Trenton were scheduled to act on several hundred legislative items Thursday, but two controversial healthcare bills not on that agenda attracted outsized attention from hospital leaders and patient advocates.


Eldorado Resorts to buy Caesars Entertainment in $17.3B deal

Linda Lindner,


  • U.S. casino operator Eldorado Resorts Inc. has agreed to merge with Caesars Entertainment Corp. in a $17.3 billion cash-and-stock deal, including debt, the companies said on Monday. The proposed transaction will combine two leading gaming companies with complementary national operating platforms, strong brands, strategic industry alliances, and a commitment to enhancing guest service and shareholder value.


Revaluation process starts rolling in Hawthorne

Philip DeVencentis, North Jersey Record


  • Inspectors have begun the months-long undertaking to bring the borough’s properties up to fair and true market value for the first time since the late 1980s. The revaluation, being conducted by Glen Rock-based Appraisal Systems Inc., was ordered by the county Board of Taxation.


NJ Transit: Push for Raritan Valley Line one-seat ride, new tunnel picking up steam

Mike Deak, Bridgewater Courier News


  • Like an old-fashioned steam locomotive, the campaign for one-seat rides to Manhattan on NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley Line is picking up steam. On Tuesday, the Raritan Valley Line Mayors Alliance distributed flyers at Newark Penn Station asking commuters to contact their state legislators to advocate for the one-seat ride and the construction of a new tunnel under the Hudson River.
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