Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing: 6/26/2019

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


SPONSOR MESSAGE: (NJ Children’s Foundation)

As Cory Booker campaigns for President, there have been a number of stories that have asked some version of this question: did Newark’s schools improve since he was elected mayor in 2006? The New Jersey Children’s Foundation recently commissioned a study to answer that question. The report – titled A New Baseline: Progress in Newark’s District and Charter Schools from 2006 to 2018, found that Newark’s students have made significant, even dramatic, progress since Booker took office in 2006. Perhaps most notably, the share of black students in Newark attending an above average school has more than quadrupled, from 7% in 2006 to 31% in 2018.  Today, Newark’s school district has bold new leadership with deep local roots and a popularly-elected school board on the path to full control. Gone are the days of us-versus-them-politics, with unity now being the driving theme on the school board and amongst most education stakeholders. To learn more about the progress in Newark’s schools, visit


QUOTE OF THE DAY: The bottom line is this: legislators are not voting in your best interests. Their scam budget screws working people in our state with fewer benefits and higher taxes while millionaires enjoy their extra $$$.” – New Direction NJ in an email blast on the legislative budget


TOP STORY: Politics, After All, Is How You Get Things Done



Governor Murphy formally announced his intention to nominate Judith Persichilli as the next NJDOH Commissioner, to succeed Shereef Elnahal, who’s heading to University Hospital as CEO. The HPAE lauded the announcement of the nomination, as did Senator Vitale, who said he has the ‘utmost confidence‘ that the Senate will confirm her.


Governor Murphy reiterated his call for a fee on opioid manufacturers.


AG Grewal announced the unsealing of a multi-state complaint alleging drug manufacturers of a massive generic drug price fixing conspiracy.


Rep. Kim announced mobile office hours.


Rep. Van Drew released a statement condemning the conditions in southern border detention centers.


Rep. Pascrell spoke during the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the SALT deduction cap, arguing for its removal. Rep. Gottheimer testified on the issue as well.


Rep. Pascrell’s amendment to provide $1M in funding to modernize the postal banking system was approved by the House.


Rep. Norcross voted in favor of the ‘minibus’ appropriations bill HR 3055.


ICYMI: Debate offers Booker opportunity to get noticed; Murphy’s tough day



WNYC dives into Senate President Sweeney’s union roots and the battle with public sector unions.


LD25 Assemblyman Bucco fired back at Democratic challengers Bhimani and Draeger, saying they ‘swing and miss badly’ in a ‘failed attack’; the challengers had blasted Bucco over his healthcare record and contributions from insurance companies. Bucco, a cancer survivor, defended his record, saying if they had spent five minutes looking at my voting record from as recently as five days ago they’d see I’ve already supported many of the bills they’re demanding action on’ and ‘maybe next time they can do a Google search before falsely attacking my bipartisan record’. The NJGOP released a statement calling on the Democrats to ‘apologize for lying about a cancer survivor’.


The Ocean County freeholders will consider a resolution opposing NJ’s designation as a sanctuary state at its meeting tonight, according to MoreMonmouthMusings.


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 tomorrow, here’s what happened in Trenton on Monday, and here’s what happened under the Gold Dome last Thursday.


As Trenton awaits the next move from Governor Murphy in the budget standoff, Governor Murphy reiterated his stance that ‘all options are on the table’ (as he did on Friday), while New Direction NJ sent out an email blast slamming the Legislature’s budget as a ‘scam’ that hurts working families (one Assemblyman’s take: ‘unbelievable’). and Politico NJ reports that sources say there are no staff-level talks on the budget.


Three Democratic Senators introduced legislation seeking the use of campaign funds to pay for child care expenses; the bill, introduced on Monday, is already on 2nd reading.


Former Senator Lesniak says he will testify at the Tax Incentive Task Force’s third public meeting on July 9th.


Assembly Minority Leader Bramnick called for summer sessions of the Legislature. Scotch Plains Mayor Smith echoed Bramnick’s call.


Senate President Sweeney joined Senator Weinberg in LD37 to meet with constituents, leaders, and business owners.


Senator Rice, the Legislative Black Caucus, and allies will hold a press conference at the Statehouse tomorrow to renew their call for marijuana decriminalization and expungement legislation.


Assemblyman Rooney released a statement blasting NJ Transit and Governor Murphy over train cancellations.


PNC Bank’s Linda Bowden was elected chair of the NJ Chamber of Commerce.


Healthcare advocates and consumers urged the Senate to pass legislation authorizing a state-based health care exchange.


The NJ Coalition of Latino Pastors and Ministers urged Governor Murphy and the Legislature to support $1.5M in funding for the NJ Re-Entry Corporation.


The Sierra Club applauded the nomination of Robert Jackson for the Pinelands Commission, calling him a ‘great choice’.


Clean Water Action’s Kim Gaddy participated in the environmental justice summit at the US Capitol.


The Budget:



ICYMI: Task Force report released after judicial ruling; Legislature passed an extension, prompting Murphy to say he will veto the bill, and chastised Legislature; Senate committee postponed first hearing; Codey congratulates Murphy ‘having the onions to stand up‘ and investigate tax incentives; Sacco remarked Dems on Dem ‘not healthy’; Murphy fired off letter to legislators, Sweeney fired back; Sweeney calls on Platkin to resign



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 Hoboken, Frank Raia was found guilty on VBM charges in connection to the 2013 municipal campaign, according to Hudson County View. Mayor Bhalla called for ‘further investigation’ by law enforcement to ‘root out voter fraud’ in the city.


In Trenton, Mayor Gusciora swore-in Cabinet members.


In Midland Park, Governor Murphy mourned the death of Navy veteran Kevin Yali, who was killed in Afghanistan, saying he ‘proved service is a lifetime calling’. Senate President Sweeney said that the state ‘has lost a true hero’.


In Linden, Mayor Armstead released a statement announcing the council empaneled an investigative committee to look into whether Councilman Roman broke any laws when he entered the DPW yard on May 29th after-hours.


In Princeton, officials acknowledge lack of oversight and violations at the sewer department, according to PlanetPrinceton.


In Paterson, the fire department headquarters was named in honor of Rep. Pascrell, according to Paterson Times. Mayor Sayegh took his controversial Hinchliffe Stadium plan to residents at a town hall, according to Paterson Times.


In Hasbrouck Heights, Trustee Terranova resigned, according to the Bergen Record.


In East Brunswick, Lt. LoSacco was appointed police chief effective August 1st, according to MyCentralJersey.


ICYMI: In AC, Mazzeo and Armato cautioning against restructuring local gov’t; in Hackensack, orgs called for resignation of BOE trustee






Build a better Trenton with education, love and compassion

LA Parker, The Trentonian


  • Let’s try this. Early childhood education. Education. Education. Read early. Pre-k learning. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Early childhood education. Libraries. Education. Summer reading initiatives. Education. Youth volunteer programs. Recreation, Community service. Education. Education. Pre-k learning.


Judge OKs Virtua acquisition of Lourdes Health and its hospitals

David Levinsky, Burlington County Times


  • Judge Paula Dow issued a court order approving the proposed transaction Tuesday morning following a brief hearing at the Olde Historic Courthouse in Mount Holly that featured no objections.


Medical Marijuana May Come to Hunterdon

Curtis Leeds, TAPinto Flemington


  • Officials here took the first step last night in what could lead to Hunterdon’s first marijuana dispensary. Borough Council approved a resolution sponsored by Councilman Jeff Doshna supporting applications for an “Alternative Treatment Center,” which is what the state calls a provider of medical marijuana.


Energy issues explored at NJBIZ panel: ‘We have to be at the forefront’

David Hutter,


  • The earth supports human life yet it has limited sources of energy. NJBIZ hosted a panel discussion on energy on June 25, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Somerset Hotel in Somerset. After the discussion, NJBIZ asked the panelists what each foresees as the worst-case scenario if humans are not wise in using energy, including solar and wind.


State won’t make deadline to create its own health exchange by 2020

Briana Vannozzi, NJTV


  • Advocates fear Thursday’s legislative voting deadline could scrap all plans to put a state-based health exchange system in place. “It is the best way we can protect New Jersey health care consumers from the unrelenting onslaught of the Trump administration attacks against the Affordable Care Act,” said Maura Collinsgru, health care program director for New Jersey Citizen Action.


Good golly, what if Phil Murphy is right?

Jeff Edelstein, The Trentonian


  • Remember how Fonzie could never say he was wrong? (Yes, I’m leading off with a Fonzie anecdote. Keep it right here for all your 1970’s references. Anyway … ) Anyway, he couldn’t say it. He’d be like, “I was wr-wr-wr-” and that was as far as he could get. Same with “sorry.” He’d stutter out “I’m s-s-s-s-sor-s-s-s-sor” and depend on Richie Cunningham to finish it off.


Ex-Bergen County exec Dennis McNerney admits he posted false info about GOP strategist

Terrence T. McDonald, North Jersey Record


  • Former Bergen County Executive Dennis McNerney has admitted using dozens of pseudonyms to post false statements about a GOP strategist on multiple websites four years ago, an admission he made in a letter of apology published on Sunday in The Record.


New Jersey Task Force Subpoenas Firms That Got Tax Credits

Joseph De Avila, Wall Street Journal


  • A task force examining New Jersey’s corporate-incentive programs continues to zero in on a group of businesses with ties to political power broker George Norcross.


Booker’s problem with New Jersey progressives

Matt Friedman, Politico


  • Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) uses progressive rhetoric on the campaign trail to rail against Immigration and Custom Enforcement policies and promote economic fairness. But when it comes to scandals engulfing Democrats in his home state, Booker’s been mostly silent.


Drugmaker secret emails show they colluded to boost prices, NJ claims

Michael L. Diamond, Asbury Park Press


  • A complaint filed filed in May against some of the nation’s biggest generic drug companies was unsealed Monday, showing what authorities said was a bid to collude and artificially inflate prices on more than 100 drugs.


Bridgewater: EPA commends Somerset County for redevelopment of Cyanamid Superfund site

Mike Deak, Bridgewater Courier News


  • Driving on East Main Street near the Bound Brook border, you wouldn’t know that the TD Bank Ballpark and Bridgewater Promenade were once the heart of Somerset County’s booming industry for nearly a century.


WATCH: Jason Alexander is Chris Christie in ‘The Investigation’ play based on the Mueller report

Amy Kuperinsky, NJ Advance Media for


  • Jason Alexander, known to most as George Costanza from “Seinfeld,” got a fair few laughs playing fellow former Essex County guy Chris Christie in “The Investigation: A Search for the Truth in Ten Acts,” a play based on the Mueller report.


New South Orange Committees to Work on Community Relations, Economic Development, Other Issues

Lindsey Kelleher, TAPinto South Orange


  • The Board of Trustees is reorganizing the committees within its board to boost community participation.


Murphy’s Plan for NJ Public-Private Fund Goes Nowhere Amid EDA Standoff

John Reitmeyer, NJ Spotlight


  • Caught up in Gov. Phil Murphy’s ongoing squabble with lawmakers over the future of the state’s expiring economic-development tax-incentive programs is his plan to establish a public-private venture-capital fund in New Jersey to help new tech companies get off the ground.


Sources: No plans for Murphy-lawmaker talks before budget deadline

Daniel J. Munoz,


  • Gov. Phil Murphy and the state’s legislative leadership have no plans to meet this week over the Fiscal Year 2020 budget before a June 30 deadline, according to two sources who requested anonymity.
(Visited 49,740 times, 268 visits today)

News From Around the Web