Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing: 9/18/2020

Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing

Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing for 9/18/2020:


QUOTE OF THE DAY: Until he [Coughlin] came to me, I wasn’t really there. Helping middle class families makes all the sense to me in the world.” – Senate President Sweeney crediting Speaker Coughlin for his support for the millionaire’s tax


TOP STORY: Damned if Trump Does, Damned if Trump Doesn’t


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Follow Insider NJ’s COVID-19 Information Update Center and Insider NJ’s County COVID-19 Data Center.


The statewide COVID-19 count stands at 198,361 cases (as of Thursday) and 14,263 fatalities (and 1,791 probable fatalities); the viral transmission rate is 1.06 as of Wednesday (the NJDOH dashboard did not include updated numbers for fatalities and transmission rate as of Thursday morning).


Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Coughlin announced a formal agreement on the millionaire’s tax in a press conference yesterday. Credit Coughlin for coming up with the idea to strike a deal, Sweeney – vocally resistant in the past to the key Murphy priority – said ‘I ‘ll bet a lot yous didn’t expect me to be here today. I’m surprised I am’, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic caused the shift. NJ Chamber President Bracken lambasted the tax, saying ‘just what the most overtaxed state in the nation needs. More taxes during an economic downturn’. NJBIA President Siekerka criticized it as a ‘gimmick’ and said the ‘state deserves much better’ from leaders. Americans For Prosperity-NJ slammed the deal as ‘very narrow and picks more losers than winners’. Assembly Minority Leader Bramnick quipped that the proposal is a ‘gift for the Florida economy and a nightmare for New Jersey’, while the Senate Budget Committee’s GOP members decried the deal. NJ Policy Perspective praised the announcement, saying the state’s ‘tax code just got a lot fairer’. Make The Road NJ said the deal is a ‘crucial step toward fairness and equity’. The CWA’s Hetty Rosenstein said the deal is a ‘great win‘ for the state. The leaders also agreed to reinstate the 2.5% corporate business tax, according to Politico NJ.


Governor Murphy and Secretary of State Way announced the ‘New Jersey Votes‘ education campaign ahead of the general election.


Governor Murphy signed legislation designating the Howell House in Cape May as the New Jersey Harriet Tubman Museum.


The NJDOL announced the lowest number of new unemployment claims in five weeks. The state’s unemployment rate fell to 10.9%.


The NJSIAA released media guidelines for the fall sports season.


The Hunterdon County freeholders called on Governor Murphy to stop the gas tax increase, according to NJ Hills.


Somerset County Clerk Peter stepped in to explain the VBM process after the USPS misinformed voters.


Ocean County freeholders face public opposition to its anti-marijuana legalization stance, according to the Asbury Park Press.


Rep. Norcross introduced legislation to expand apprenticeships and invent in workforce training.


Rep. Payne introduced legislation to reimburse schools for COVID-19 coverings.


Rep. Malinowski spoke on the House floor condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment.


Battleship New Jersey is fighting for state funding, according to the Burlington County Times.


ICYMI: Murphy announced impending departure of Platkin, Garg poised to advance (iLine post); Murphy doesn’t expect shutdown; travel advisory updated; Timpone heading to Calcagni and Kanefsky; new UE claims rose 12.5%; Murphy touts baby bonds; Vannozzi will take the helm of NJTV News; Murphy says ‘very few reported cases of knucklehead behavior‘ over weekend; state launches online voter registration (iLine post); travel quarantine advisory updated; administrative order prohibits smoking in casinos; Murphy signs order allowing indoor dining to resume; Carroll in line to be the interim prosecutor in Morris


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


n LD35, the connective political issue of the district’s smaller towns (iLine post).


In CD2, Montclair Mayor Spiller and BlueWave NJ President Marley fundraised for Democratic candidate Amy Kennedy (iLine post). Kennedy released her South Jersey infrastructure policy platform.


In CD4, the National Association of Social Workers PAC endorsed Democratic candidate Stephanie Schmid.


In CD5, GOP candidate Frank Pallotta called on freeholders to pass resolutions in support of wounded law enforcement officers.


In CD11, the ad air war has begun between Rep. Sherrill and GOP challenger Rosemary Becchi.


The Progressive Democrats of NJ are launching collegiate and high school chapters.


ICYMI: Pennacchio hopes Trump will campaign in Jersey; NJFMBA endorsed candidates; in CD2, presidential politics has huge implications; some division among GOP on VBM; Mehta accused AG’s Office of political interference w/ Atilis Gym; Suleiman mobilizing legal team over vacant freeholder seat; Malinowski, Kean wage battle over pharma; Rutgers College Dems announced their departure from CDNJ, CDNJ responded; Fitzherbert announced candidacy for AC freeholder; Murphys observe Biden, Pence (iLine); Murphy helps raise $2M for Biden (iLine post); Baptiste to lead Biden NJ campaign (iLine); Gottheimer fired back at challenger Pallotta; Biden leads Trump in NJ (iLine); Booker leads Mehta (iLine); in CD7, Kean taking heat over Garwood council candidate


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


The Assembly Appropriations Committee passed legislation prohibiting the addresses of judge’s from being published online (iLine post). The committee passed legislation targeting store customers who refuse to wear face masks, despite Republican opposition.


Senate President Sweeney and Senator Cunningham introduced legislation to expand the scope of reentry services.


Senator Pennacchio said the signing of nursing home reform legislation is a ‘legislative distraction’ that fails to address the root causes of COVID-19 fatalities in facilities.


Senator Bateman slammed Governor Murphy’s FY2021 revised budget proposal’s tax increases.


Assemblyman Burzichelli’s quote of the day (iLine post).


Assemblyman Bergen introduced legislation to prevent municipal double-dipping.


NJ housing leaders urged the Senate to pass the ‘People’s Bill’.


ICYMI: Murphy signed legislation; Murphy signed MVC legislation and signed legislation designating Juneteenth holiday (iLine post); Bramnick wants special session to curb executive authority; Pennacchio challenged Murphy on Trump criticism; Sweeney wants Orsted suspended (iLine post); Appolon joining PPAG; Brennan serving Gopal DCOS; Rice requests removal of Scutari as SJU chair; Rice decried ‘deliberate stalling’ of marijuana decrim bill


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Can former Governor Christie make a political comeback in the age of Trump?


Read and download ‘The COVID-19 Crisis: An Insider NJ History‘ publication.


Listen to Politically Direct Episode 107 with host Fernando Uribe and guest Jeanette Hoffman.


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.


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.


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


In Atlantic City, Tripadvisor ranked the city as the third top destination for the fall. The council wants Governor Murphy to ease indoor dining restrictions, according to the Press of Atlantic City.


In Jersey City, Mayor Fulop and Hudson County Executive DeGise announced nearly 600 small businesses will receive $9M in CARES Act funding.


In Trenton, Health Director Abdul-Ali will step down in October.


In Parsippany, Mayor Soriano delivered his 100th video update in the wake of COVID-19.


In Vineland, NJ Agriculture Secretary Fisher joined local officials for the ‘Jersey Fresh’ recognition.


In Trenton, Council President McBride violated the Faulkner Act, according to the Trentonian. A judge blocked an injunction against Trenton Water Works in the NJDEP lawsuit, according to the Trentonian.


In Camden, an attack targeted a police officer’s home, according to the Courier Post.


In Glen Rock, the town approved a new 5-year police contract, according to TAPinto.


In Milltone, the borough will hold its annual candidates’ forum on October 14th, according to TAPinto.


In Watchung Borough, council candidates will debate in October, according to NJ Hills.


In Paterson, class disruptions are subsiding following suspensions, according to Paterson Press. Mayor Sayegh says the city will pilot guaranteed income, according to Paterson Press.


In Teaneck, a school was renamed in honor of civil rights activist Theodora Smiley Lacey, according to the Bergen Record.


In Ventor, water and sewer rates will increase, according to Downbeach.


In Hoboken, the council pumped the brakes on the $118M budget, according to Hudson County View.


In East Hanover, schools will go virtual until the end of the month due to COVID-19, according to the Daily Record.


ICYMI: In Mountain Lakes, inside the debate flap; in Newark, Pru Center ‘super polling site’; in Somerville, Black Lives Matter rally; in Roselle, a judge ordered a new meeting of Dems to select mayoral candidate; in Parsippany, Trump supporters held two rallies; in Dover, Bennett approved as administrator


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘Even a Bumbling Murphy is a Powerful Murphy‘ writes ‘Even a Bumbling Murphy is a Powerful Murphy


Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘Menendez may be an Election Night National Kingmaker for Biden – in Florida


Insider NJ columnist Bob Grant writes ‘9/11 The Aftermath: Paterson


Insider NJ columnist former Senator Bernard Kenny writes ‘Democrats Should Not Run Scared with Biden


Insider NJ columnist Bob Hennelly writes ‘Labor’s Lost Leverage: Why were Union Warnings on COVID Ignored?





Oh baby, we don’t need more bonds | Mulshine

Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger


  • It’s almost as if the governor went out of his way to embarrass the state Supreme Court. I’m talking about the way in which Phil Murphy put on a poor-mouth act to get permission to borrow up to $9.9 billion to “balance” the state budget in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.


Opinion: Borrowing billions to balance New Jersey’s budget is very bad policy

Richard F. Keevey, NJ Spotlight


  • This is a short piece because the path is clear to me. I have written several articles and testified before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on this same theme: Do not issue bonds to balance the New Jersey state budget. It is bad public policy and it will create much deeper budget problems in the future. And, it is not necessary.


‘I’ll never get away from this stuff,’ Bucco tells judge, in fiery dispute over will

Kevin Coughlin, Morristown Green


  • Saying he’s been living in fear for four years, state Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-25th Dist.) on Wednesday asked a judge to impose damages on a woman and her attorney who he claims have defamed and harassed him over a disputed will. “The hostility and maliciousness began to escalate, and I began to be fearful,” Bucco said, citing text messages, lawn signs, an internet posting and an ethics complaint during a virtual hearing before Superior Court Judge Stephan Hansbury.


The Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May marked its opening. Here’s what’s inside, and why it’s in Cape May.

Amy S. Rosenberg, Philadelphia Inquirer


  • A year and a half ago, the old parsonage house of the Macedonia Baptist Church on Lafayette Street in Cape May, vacant for decades, was in danger of being torn down.On Thursday, that danger was declared officially over at Lafayette near Franklin Streets, a corner with deep historic resonance for the city’s Black families and for the country’s abolitionist movement.


N.J. police unions say plan to name disciplined cops will place a ‘scarlet letter’ on officers

Blake Nelson, NJ Advance Media for


  • Police unions told a New Jersey court a plan to name cops who were disciplined for serious violations would arbitrarily hurt officers’ privacy while doing little to educate the public, in a case that could have far-reaching effects on law enforcement statewide.


Monorail in the median a possible alternative to widening the Parkway, officials say

Larry Higgs, NJ Advance Media for


  • Could a monorail zip along over a Garden State Parkway median, instead of more driving lanes being adding to the roadway in dense northern counties?


After saying people could vote for Biden ‘in good conscience,’ N.J.’s Cardinal Tobin denies he’s endorsing anyone

Kelly Heyboer, NJ Advance Media for


  • New Jersey’s highest-ranking Catholic leader denied he is advising people to vote for Joe Biden over President Donald Trump in the upcoming election after making a comment about which candidate “a person in good conscience” should support.


Paterson students, educators disappointed by Gov. Murphy’s cuts to state youth program

Ed Rumley, Paterson Press


  • A state program that provided Paterson teenagers with an after-school haven is being eliminated in the fall as a result of budget cuts imposed by Gov. Phil Murphy. Nearly 100 current and former participants staged a protest outside City Hall last weekend.


Paterson considers city tax on medical and, if approved in NJ, recreational marijuana

Joe Malinconico, Special to the USA TODAY NETWORK


  • City officials are getting ready to start collecting taxes on the medical marijuana sold at the cannabis dispensary that opened on Route 20 last December. The business has been making about $500,000 in monthly sales, city officials said. The maximum 2% “transfer tax” allowed under state law would generate about $120,000 for the city over the course of a year, officials said.


If not Columbus, then who?

Steve Trevelise, NJ1015


  • The controversy over the destruction and removal of the Christopher Columbus statues continues with The Italian American One Voice Coalition suing West Orange and it’s Mayor Robert Parisi after the removal of their statue claiming it deprives Italian-Americans of their civil rights. Being an American of Italian descent and growing up in an Italian-Hispanic neighborhood in Union City, I understand what Columbus means to the community. Columbus Day gave the Italian-Americans a foothold as they were trying to fit into a country that treated them like the lowest of the low.


‘We are not asking to be talked at:’ PA, NJ local officials unite against NJ DOT rockfall project

Colleen Wilson, NJ Herald


  • In defiance of the NJ Department of Transportation’s decision to keep local public officials from joining a public advisory group over a controversial rockfall mitigation project, representatives from New Jersey and Pennsylvania staged their own group meeting Wednesday night.


Suspicious envelope causes Middlesex County worker to lose consciousness, New Brunswick building evacuated

Suzanne Russell, Bridgewater Courier News


  • Several city and county offices were evacuated Thursday after a county worker lost consciousness after opening a suspicious envelope. The FBI is investigating to determine the contents of the envelope.


Tinton Falls veteran housing village expected to be finished in a year

Dan Radel, Asbury Park Press


  • Construction of the much-anticipated Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Village on Essex Road is underway, promising homes for needy veterans. The celebratory groundbreaking occurred over the weekend and the four-story, 70-unit apartment complex is expected to be ready for occupancy by October 2021.
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  • Sha H

    Murphy celebrates “a full week of declining numbers” then says “status quo of lockdown will remain until new cases and fatalities decrease.” So, which of Murphy’s statements is accurate? He said 2 opposite things in a single paragraph of speaking.

  • Sha H

    That is what happens in practicality when they are “suspending their disbelief” (HR Clinton) in real numbers and going on predictive models to make decisions. And then after doing that, they vote with “feelings.”

  • Silk


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