Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing for 8/4/2020:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The actions of a few knuckleheads leave us no other course.” – Governor Murphy retightening indoor capacity restrictions
TOP STORY: Murphy Acknowledges “Mad as Hell” Atmosphere
Governor Murphy declared a statewide state of emergency for Hurricane Isias.
The statewide COVID-19 count stands at 182,614 cases and 13,971 fatalities (and 1,875 probable fatalities) as of Monday. Governor Murphy and state officials held their daily COVID-19 briefing, during which the Governor cracked down on indoor house parties, retightening the restrictions to 25% of room capacity and no more than 25 people, down from 100. ‘The actions of a few knuckleheads leave us no other course until we see the rate of transmission drop appreciably’, the Governor said (1.48% currently), while acknowledging a ‘mad as hell’ atmosphere, with some people losing patience with the restrictions. He also announced that face masks will be required for students in schools heading into the fall reopening; previously, there was only a strong recommendation to do so.
The Governor signed an executive order allowing public employees to immediately enroll in the State Health Benefits Program upon hiring, rather than waiting two months.
Bergen County announced the results of its mobile COVID-19 drive-thru testing program.
Burlington County will recieve $10.1M for roadwork and bridge repairs, according to the Burlington County Times. The county teachers’ union urged schools to remain closed, according to Burlington County Times.
Monmouth County is seeking applicants for two history grants.
Somerset County launched a ‘Open For Business’ interactive map. The county is offering free virtual Zoom activities for seniors in August. The county launched a rental relief program to combat COVID-19 related homelessness.
VBM issues from the July primary linger in Sussex County, according to TAPinto.
Rep. Kim called for a nationwide standard of 72-hours for COVID-19 test results.
Rep. Sherrill is launching a food drive for her first ‘August Month of Service’ project.
The NJ Foundation For Agining released its August InsightsTV episode on end-of-life decisions.
ICYMI: Murphy extends public health state of emergency; Murphy sounds alarm bell case increases, gets tough again; Murphy lambasted McConnell; Murphy laments rise in cases from indoor parties, says this is not time to be ‘inducted into the knucklehead hall of fame‘; Salas calls for increased privacy rights; Grewal holds ‘use of force’ policy revisions conference; $12.4B in unemployment claims have been paid out since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 1.4M claims paid; Murphy on COVID numbers: ‘its a mixed bag at best‘; travel quarantine advisory now has 36 states; Murphy defended schools re-opening plan; Menendez, officials demand state/local gov’t aid in GOP stimulus plan; Murphy says indoor partygoers are ‘playing with fire‘
The NJEA’s PAC issued endorsements for the fall general election, as well as LD25’s special Senate and Assembly races, in which they back incumbent GOP Senator Bucco and Assemblywoman Dunn.
Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Suleiman called for the resignation of a county Board of Elections commissioner over a anti-VBM social media post.
In CD2, Democratic challenger Amy Kennedy was endorsed by former President Obama.
In CD7, former President Obama endorsed Rep. Malinowski for re-election.
President Trump will hold a private fundraiser in Deal this weekend, according to NJ.com.
The Sussex County GOP blasted Governor Murphy and Democrats for ‘stiffing’ Warren and Sussex Counties on CARES Act funding.
The NJDSC called on GOP congressional candidates to disavow President Trump’s tweet about potentially delaying the general election.
ICYMI: Insider NJ’s Who’s Up And Who’s Down: Week of July 27th; Murphy will virtually attend DNC convention (iLine post); Cape May Dems reaffirmed Sciarra; Singh formally filed for Senate primary recount; Building Trades endorsements; Mirinov prevailed in Mercer re-election bid; Pallotta slammed Gottheimer’s stimulus proposal condemnation
Governor Murphy conditionally vetoed legislation revising the definition of ‘public works projects’.
The NJDOH released its first report on the state’s new ‘Death with Dignity’ law.
Senator Weinberg and Assemblymembers Vainieri Huttle and Johnson introduced legislation to ensure residents receive their full deserved unemployment benefits.
Senator Gopal called for the restoration of NJCASA funding in the FY2021 budget.
Assemblyman Dancer introduced legislation to incentize colleges to lower tuition for remote learning.
Governor Murphy conditionally vetoed legislation that would authorize counties and municipalities to issue COVID-19 relief bonds.
Several disabilities agencies called for the preservation of funding for individuals with disabilities in the FY2021 budget.
The HPAE announced that Jersey Shore Medical Center workers filed a petition with the NLRB for a certification election.
ICYMI: Protesters rallied outside Statehouse; Senate, Assembly passed legislative redistricting bill; McKeon jousted with GOP over A4389; Bergen lone no vote on statues resolution; Timberlake gives impassioned floor speech on S2340; Wirths explains opposition to Juneteenth holiday resolution (iLine post); SJU affirmed Juliano for Horizon (iLine post); Rice, Cryan clashed over recruitment bill; SBA passed police, fire residency bill; Addiego voted with GOP on S2676 (iLine post); SJU’s Pierre-Louis confirmation hearing Aug 24th
Amid a national debate on the removal of Confederate statues on federal property, the Assembly Appropriations Committee debated the merits of a resolution urging Congress to remove the statues from the Capitol.
Listen to Politically Direct Episode 104 with host Fernando Uribe and Insider NJ reporter Fred Snowflack.
Be part of Insider NJ’s 2020 publications with an all-inclusive ad package that includes everything from now until the end of the year.
In Linden, Senator Scutari released an unearthed memo that appears to exonerate him from Mayor Armstead’s charge that he was a ‘no-show’ at his former prosecutor position in the town; Scutari accused Armstead of a ‘political hit job’.
In Jersey City, several BOE members want the schools reopening pushed back to October, according to the Jersey Journal.
In Paramus, the mayor’s son filed a second lawsuit against the council, according to the Bergen Record.
In Garfield, a Walmart employee alleges she was fired for reporting the lack of social distancing in the store, according to the Bergen Record.
In Demarest, the Northern Valley BOE will fill a vacancy after a member resigned in the wake of blackface photos, according to the Bergen Record.
In Fair Lawn, a pro-police rally was met with counter-protesters, according to the Bergen Record.
In Hawthorne, five candidates filed to run for three BOE seats, according to TAPinto.
In Nutley, the clash over the Columbus statue is fueled by the town’s changing identity, according to NorthJersey.com.
In Woodbridge, the Human Rights Commission was reactivated, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Marlboro, a full-scale outdoor gym opened, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Flemington, the council approved municipal salaries, according to TAPinto.
In Hanover Township, schools will reopen virtually and in-person in the fall, according to NJ Hills.
In Mahwah, the town approved a new consultant for the cell tower, according to the Bergen Record.
ICYMI: In Bellmawr, gym owners kicked open doors to shuttered business
In a guest column on Insider NJ, Charles McKenna writes ‘Punitive Damages for All (not just a select few)‘
Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘Can Basement-bound Biden Ride His Trump-Fueled Sugar High?‘
Insider NJ columnist Bob Hennelly writes ‘COVID-19 Coast to Coast: Feds are MIA as Virus Spreads‘
Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘5 Questions with Congressman Frank Pallone‘
Insider NJ columnist Steven Goldstein writes ‘An Open Letter to Joe Biden: Why Val Demings is Your Best Choice, Followed by Duckworth and Bottoms‘
Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘A GOP Tisha B’Av Today: A Day of Mourning and Lamentations for the Republican Party‘
In a guest column on Insider NJ, George Ball writes ‘Words and Deeds and Our Commander in Chief‘
AROUND THE WEB:
John Cifelli, Meteorologist NJTV
- Hurricane Isaias is churning through the Bahamas this morning, headed northwest on a track that will take the storm center just west of Grand Bahama and then approach of the east coast of Florida. Sustained winds as of the National Hurricane Center’s 11am update were 80mph. Frankly, the storm looks disorganized and unimpressive on satellite and radar at the moment. Isaias is struggling to maintain intensity in the face of moderate westerly wind shear.
Ted Sherman, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- Rose Dente contracted COVID-19 at the nursing home where she spent the last four years of her life and died in late March — at a time, say her lawyers, when aides and other staff members at the Veterans Memorial Home in Menlo Park were told not to use masks and gloves because it “might scare residents.”
Lilo H. Stainton, NJ Spotlight
- Despite some common misassumptions, research suggests young children do face certain risks with the novel coronavirus, and experts insist public health must remain the priority as New Jersey and other states consider how to reopen schools in the coming weeks.
Terrence T. McDonald, NorthJersey.com
- South Orange is home to the latest brouhaha over the Black Lives Matter movement, with the pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows telling one of his lectors to stop wearing a t-shirt that bears the message of racial equity. The Rev. Brian Needles said in a letter to the lector that “several people” complained to him about his attire. Needles’ letter, posted in a local Facebook group, says “a t-shirt, incredibly enough, can be a real source of division and distraction.”
Charles Stile, NorthJersey.com
- New Jersey Republicans want to block Murphy’s plan to borrow billions. But where’s their Plan B?
JD Fogarty, roi-nj.com
- While COVID-19 cases — and the rate of transmission — are still on the rise in New Jersey, the restaurant community said it wants to make one thing clear to Gov. Phil Murphy and the public: Restaurants are not the “super spreaders” they are being portrayed as. “That is without basis,” Marilou Halvorsen, CEO and president of the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association, said at a news conference Monday. “It is demeaning to the men and women who work and make a living in the hospitality industry.”
- A bi-state summit meeting held last week with the New Jersey Department of Transportation commissioner and elected officials to provide an overview of the proposed Interstate 80 rockfall mitigation project will not be available in full for the public to view.
Michael Karas, NorthJersey.com
- Anthony Dalbo says he supports the views of Black Lives Matter, but he is against destroying Columbus statues on Saturday, August 1, 2020.
Jeff Deminski, NJ1015
- Nope it’s not a beer named Knucklehead. It’s the other catch phrase we heard a lot from Gov. Phil Murphy whenever pressed for hard dates to reopen certain businesses. “Data determines dates.”
John Heinis, Hudson County View
- The three-person slates running in the Guttenberg and Hoboken Board of Education races, respectively, will be running unopposed on November 3rd.
Michelle Brunetti Post, Press of Atlantic City
- When Caroline Sharp’s unemployment benefits suddenly stopped without explanation June 12, after just three weeks of receiving them, the Little Egg Harbor Township resident began calling state unemployment offices every day.
Mike Davis, Asbury Park Press
- In a move that township officials say will help curb overdevelopment, voters will be asked Nov. 3 to increase the township’s open space tax to 3 cents per $100 of assessed value. Jackson’s open space tax has fluctuated over the last 20 years. It was established at a rate of 1.5 cents in 2001 and, in 2004, voters chose to increase the rate to 3 cents.