Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing: 8/20/2019

Below is the Insider NJ Morning Intelligence Briefing for 8/20/2019:



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. Learn more.


QUOTE OF THE DAY: If we don’t make a strong enough case … and right now, I don’t think we can do that, the president will be acquitted.” – CD11 Rep. Sherrill responding to calls for President Trump’s impeachment at last night’s town hall


TOP STORY: Prez Politics, and Booker’s Immersion in it, Creates – at the Very Least – the Sense of NJ Political Elasticity Amid Static Conditions



Governor Murphy signed an executive order requiring NJ Transit to release monthly rail performance metrics.


The Murphy administration has requested that the state Supreme Court end a judge’s halt on the implementation of the ‘Aid In Dying’ law which had gone into effect in the beginning of the month, according to NJ Biz. Assemblyman Burzichelli, the prime sponsor of the law, released a statement saying the ‘slowing of the enactment of this duly legislated and thoroughly crafted law is causing pain, agony, and distress for those seeking access to the relief they want and deserve’.


The state of NJ gave more than $3.8M in financial aid to undocumented students, according to the Bergen Record.


CNN journalist April Ryan’s bodyguard has been charged with assault after forcibly removing New Brunswick Today editor Charlie Kratovil from an event, according to


Rep. Sherrill presided over her most animated town hall to date, as constituents called for President Trump’s impeachment; Sherrill said that, as of now, there’s not a strong enough case and that a Senate trial would lead to an acquittal.


Rep. Payne and community leaders will meet with Watergen USA to hear a presentation on the company’s water technology.


Rep. Gottheimer was honored with the North Jersey Jewish Business Alliance’s ‘Excellence In Leadership Award’.


Rep. Norcross will hold a roundtable with diabetics on the high cost of prescription drugs in South Jersey tomorrow.


A WalletHub study ranks the state’s community college system the 11th best in the nation.


ICYMI: Constituents challenge Pallone to be more ‘bold’; Sweeney’s wide-reaching interview with APP; Malinowsi’s ‘fundamental questions



According to a Democratic Party source, if Senator Booker’s presidential bid (amid the state’s static condition) doesn’t break out, but Senator Warren does, state party members will be forced to consider a contingency plan – possibly backing former VP Biden or Warren. The former president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP endorsed Booker, while Jon Bon Jovi helped raise funds for him in the Hamptons, according to Presidential candidate Senator Sanders took issue, tweeting that ‘I don’t go to the Hamptons to raise money from billionaires’, apparently referring to the separate fundraisers for Booker, Harris, and President Trump.


In CD4, former Foreign Services officer and human rights advocate Stephanie Schmid is poised to enter the Democratic primary to take on incumbent GOP Rep. Smith (for whom she once interned).


As LD26 Assemblyman Webber prepares for re-election this fall, the ‘equal pay’ issue that cropped up during last year’s CD11 race has returned.


LD18 GOP Assembly candidate Jeffrey Brown called on NJ Transit to tie executive compensation to the on-time performance of trains.


LD26 Democratic Assembly candidate Laura Fortgang was selected for Moms Demand Action’s ‘gun sense candidate’ distinction.


Lee Keough is stepping down from his position as editor-in-chief of NJ Spotlight.


The Sussex County Democrats launched a fellowship and internship program.


ICYMI: Dem Razzoli will run as Republican in CD12, says Dems have ‘abandoned the American way of life, rule of law, and common sense, in favor of exaggerated, socialist ideology’; progressives protested for Gottheimer to call for impeachment inquiry; the gun debate in LD25; Richter entered CD2 race; in Sussex, Rotondi looks to build up Dems; Booker says ‘polling-schmolling‘; Gottheimer jousts with Quick



Speaker Coughlin and Senate President Sweeney are at odds over a bill expanding angioplasty services, revealing at least a degree of separation between the town.


Senate President Sweeney says he will introduce legislation to make it a crime to refuse to appear before a legislative committee and answer questions and instructing prosecutors to charge accused perjurers, according to; Sweeney said that the ‘Katie Brennan hearing was a spectacle‘ and that Governor Murphy’s ‘top people just flat-out wouldn’t answer a straight question’; Murphy’s spokesman fired back that ‘these insinuations are baseless and pathetic’.


Senator Weinberg released a statement on the shutdown of Fios1, saying it highlights the need for the state’s media consortium.


Ruth Mandel is stepping down as director of the Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics; John Farmer Jr. will succeed her.


Planned Parenthood NJ announced it is withdrawing from the Title X program.


The Sierra Club submitted comments on the NJDEP’s proposed pesticide rule.


ICYMI: Weinberg wants state employees released from confidentiality agreements; Bateman swipes at Vitale over home bakes goods bill; Sweeney reiterated call for questions on budgetary freeze items


Vote in the Insider NJ Poll: Who on This List is Most Likely to Succeed Steve Sweeney as Senate Prez?



Take a look at Insider NJ’s congressional sketch pad: a thumbnail guide to all the developing contests heading into the November elections.


Senator Booker’s immersion in presidential politics creates the sense of political elasticity amid the state’s static condition.


Read Insider NJ’s 2019 Insider 100: Policymakers publication.


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 West Milford, the Council President is in danger of losing his seat over absences, according to the Bergen Record.


In Paterson, the law director says the city council should vote on whether to hire aides, according to Paterson Times.


In Hoboken, GOP Committeeman Joshua Einstein challenged Mayor Bhalla to a debate over eminent domain; Hoboken Housing Authority Vice Chair James Sanford released a statement accepting the debate challenge.


In Bayonne, four candidates have declared their candidacies in the special council election for Ward 1, where incumbent Councilman Carroll is defending his seat, according to Hudson County View.


In Hamilton, the Board of Health will tackle two pressing issues at tonight’s meeting: the lack of inspection of more than half the town’s eateries and the outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease at a senior center, according to TAPinto.


In Trenton, a preschool has accused the school district of sabotaging enrollment and not providing health services for students, according to the Trentonian.


In Middle Township, an opinion piece by Mayor Donohue has drawn criticism from some in Atlantic County and disapproval from the local NAACP, according to the Press of Atlantic City.


In Asbury Park, the Monmouth prosecutor wants to use artificial intelligence to stop gun violence, according to the Asbury Park Press.


In Vernon, Councilman Curerri will introduce an ‘anti-hate’ resolution, according to NJ Herald.


In Hillsborough, Rep. Malinowski will hold a ‘Congress In Your Corner’ event tomorrow, according to TAPinto.


ICYMI: In Irvington, Councilman Lyons passed away



Insider NJ columnist Al Sullivan writes ‘Closing the Barn Door on Airbnb?


Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘My Grandparents and Ken Cuccinelli – Who Would Have ‘Sent Them Back’


Insider NJ publisher John FX Graham writes ‘James Meredith, Joe Graham, and the Right Side of History


In a guest column on Insider NJ, journalist Bob McHugh writes ‘Back to the Garden






How much will NJ really make from taxing legal weed?

Ashley Balcerzak, North Jersey Record


  • How much money could New Jersey bring in if the state ever legalizes recreational marijuana? The question is difficult to answer, and states that have tried predicting legal weed revenue have been all over the place due to hazy data, according to a new study by The Pew Charitable Trusts.


Tired of flood damage, South Jersey residents want the state to buy their homes

Ellie Rushing, Philadelphia Inquirer


  • Winding through the middle of Southampton Township is the Rancocas Creek, a 58.3-mile tributary of the Delaware River. Its three branches run quietly and serenely, fueling the nature around it and, in turn, hypnotizing home buyers searching for a slice of waterfront paradise. “We thought we were going to live here forever,” said Orly Buday, who purchased a 3,000-square-foot home on the north branch of the creek with her husband, Larry Foster, in 2004.


Sex assault lawsuits targeting Phil Murphy election campaign want gag orders lifted

Dustin Racioppi, Trenton Bureau


  • A legal drama filled with allegations of sexual assault, workplace hostility and the forced silence of women will soon test the “survivor-centric” approach of Gov. Phil Murphy as a scandal that seized months of attention in the Statehouse moves primarily to a courtroom. And who the victims are has yet to be settled, as Murphy’s attorneys continue to keep campaign gag orders in place nearly two years after he won the election.


Facebook Fail: Somerset Dems encourage those who ‘hate our country’ to run for office

Save Jersey Staff


  • The Somerset County Democrat Committee raised more than a few eyebrows over the weekend when they posted a meme to their official Facebook page encouraging those who “hate our country” to run for office.“If you hate our country or if you are not happy here,” the meme explains, “you can run for office” as opposed to leaving the country (a popular far left refrain in the Trump era).


Updating the letterhead

Gabrielle Saulsbery,


  • Of more than 300 name partners at NJ’s top firms, only 5 are women.


Tammy Murphy, EDA to partner with Golden Seeds’ angels to grow funding for N.J.’s women-owned firms

Meg Fry,


  • Women-owned businesses account for nearly 40% of new companies, according to American Express. But Golden Seeds, a nationwide angel investor network dedicated to investing in women-led companies, estimates less than 20% of startup capital goes to women-led businesses, despite repeated studies reporting higher financial returns for businesses with women at the helm.


Burlington Township school, police investigate online ‘hit list’

Gianluca D’Elia, Burlington County Times


  • A parent of a Burlington Township Middle School student says her son’s name appeared on what she and other families believe was a hit list in early August.


Chris Christie, like Melania Trump, calls for ‘civility’ | Editorial

Star-Ledger Editorial Board


  • Chris Christie’s civility initiative, much like the First Lady’s campaign against cyberbullying, is aimed at a serious problem: “the negative tone” of certain people today. “I have a lot of Democrat friends who are using a lot of language that is very hot,” our former governor laments.


Water crises in Newark and Flint are not the same, Flint pediatrician claims

Brenda Flanagan, NJTV


  • Pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s research helped expose lead in Flint, Michigan’s water supply — now, she’s talking with Senior Correspondent Brenda Flanagan about why “Newark is what keeps [her] up at night.” Hanna-Attisha answers questions regarding Newark’s response to the public emergency, the difference between the Newark and Flint water crises and the threat elevated lead levels pose to children.


25 N.J. health facilities named leader in LGBTQ health care equality

Emily Bader,


  • Twenty-five health care facilities in New Jersey have earned the “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” designation by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the education unit of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. The designations were released in the 12th edition of the Healthcare Equality Index, an online survey created in 2007 to meet the needs of all health care organizations seeking to provide optimal care to LGBTQ patients


NJ residents, governments shutout of FEMA aid for June flood

David Levinsky, Burlington County Times


  • While the July 19-20 flood event forced hundreds to flee their homes and caused millions in damages in the three counties, a joint assessment by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and New Jersey Office of Emergency Management determined it was not enough to qualify for a federal disaster declaration.


Controversial ‘gag rule’ in state sexual harassment investigations could be scrapped

Susan K. Livio and Ted Sherman, NJ Advance Media for


  • New Jersey state employees risk losing their job if they are caught discussing a sexual harassment complaint, whether they are the target of the accusation, a potential witness — or the accuser, under a controversial rule now the subject of a legal challenge.


Sex assault lawsuit targeting Phil Murphy election campaign want gag orders lifted

Dustin Racioppi, Trenton Bureau


  • A legal drama filled with allegations of sexual assault, workplace hostility and the forced silence of women will soon test the “survivor-centric” approach of Gov. Phil Murphy as a scandal that seized months of attention in the Statehouse moves primarily to a courtroom. And who the victims are has yet to be settled, as Murphy’s attorneys continue to keep campaign gag orders in place nearly two years after he won the election.


Philadelphia man charged in brother’s death is extradited to New Jersey

Associated Press


  • A Philadelphia man charged with murder in the beating death of his younger brother in an Atlantic City casino hotel room has been extradited back to New Jersey. Atlantic County prosecutors say 38-year-old John Villante was moved to the county jail on Friday. The transition was made public Monday.


Congressman: South Jersey base will take new F-35 fighters

David Levinsky, Burlington County Times


  • Rep. Donald Norcross, who is New Jersey’s highest ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the newer jets are needed as replacements for the 177th’s aging 1980s era F-16s. The wing out of Atlantic City flies the fighters as part of its homeland defense mission to help defend the east coast from potential attacks against New York, Washington, Virginia and other targets.


At offshore wind event, speakers emphasize N.J.’s ability to lead industry

Alex Wolmart,


  • Over 240 offshore wind energy supporters attended Time for Turbines III at the Stockton University Atlantic City campus on Friday. “We have the resources and capacity to be the national frontrunner in the offshore wind industry,” state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) said at the event. “As the renewable energy sector of the economy grows, we have an obligation not only to our environment but to New Jersey workers to make it a priority.”


Community leader arrested in Paterson prostitution sweep

Jayed Rahman, Paterson Times


  • A local Haitian community leader was caught up in the city’s prostitution sweep last week. Daniel Andre, 59-year-old, of Paterson, was arrested last Tuesday night when police conducted an anti-prostitution enforcement operation in the vicinity of East 18th Street and Van Houten Street.


Appellate court upholds 2012 firing of Hoboken cop who filed false police report over ex-girlfriend

John Heinis, Hudson County View


  • The state appellate court has upheld a lower court’s decision that said a former Hoboken police officer was justly fired back in 2012 after filing a false police report regarding his then-girlfriend while he was on duty, also later lying about the incident.
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