Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It’s extremely frustrating, really hard to explain to people why this is taking so long when their lives and relationships are hanging in the balance — that it’s because there aren’t enough judges to hear their cases.” – Attorney Katherine Richardson on the state’s judicial vacancy crisis
TOP STORY: Former Governor Jim Florio has Died
See the daily COVID-19 numbers on the NJDOH’s dashboard.
Former New Jersey Governor James Florio passed away over the weekend at age 85. A lifelong public servant who served the state Legislature and in Congress, Florio was elected Governor in 1989 and served one term before his defeat in 1993. Among his achievements was authoring the Superfund legislation, saving the nation’s freight rail lines, and initiatives on school funding, gun violence prevention, and environmental protection.
The shortage of judges in the state is putting the lives of NJ families in limbo, according to NJ.com.
The AG’s Office established the new Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance.
The Atlantic County Utilities Authority is exploring waste-conversion technology with the landfill closure on the horizon, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
Rep. Watson Coleman mourned the passing of former Mercer County Commissioner Colavita.
Rep. Pascrell reintroduced the ‘Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act’.
Rep. Smith endorsed the GOP’s 2022 version of the ‘Contract with America’, according to SaveJersey.
ICYMI: Schools have never been more controversial; Rutgers poll finds NJ residents split on sex ed in lower grades; min wage will increase January 1st; Menendez, Pascrell make the case for school funding; State Health Benefits Commission voted in favor of hiking public worker contributions, Administration and state workers unions reached deal but local, county workers still slated to be hit with increase; unions rallied at the Statehouse, urging offset of increase
The Morris County Women’s Republican Club waded into the controversy over the state’s sex education standards, holding a panel discussion on Thursday.
ICYMI: Guy kicked off candidacy for Hudson Exec; Christie blistered Sherrill; Malinowski chided Kean; McCabe aided Tedesco; Healey returned to roots in ad; Gottheimer doubled down on abortion support; BurlCo Dems raised $300k; Fulop guest of honor at millennials dinner; in CD11, DeGroot doesn’t support nationwide abortion ban; NJLCV announced endorsements; Passaic Sheriff Berdnik went on offense; Essex GOP’s Kramer challenging DiVincenzo
Governor Murphy recommended changes to legislation regarding performance-based assessments.
The former interim Education Commissioner Kevin Dehmer is leaving the DOE, according to Politico NJ.
The NJBIA is hosting its 8th annual Women Business Leaders Forum this week.
The NJ Staffing Alliance expressed disappointment the the Governor’s CV of the temporary workers’ bill.
Author Peter Zablocki chronicles presidential visits in New Jersey in a forthcoming new book.
Download and read ‘Let’s Get To Work!‘: Insider NJ’s 2022 Labor publication; Insider NJ’s special edition examination of the county political party organizations; Insider NJ’s 2022 Insider 100: Policymakers power list publication; and Insider NJ’s 2022 Insider Out 100: LGBTQ Power List publication, by Jay Lassiter.
In Perth Amboy, the ‘Voter For A Better Tomorrow’ slate announced their council candidacies.
In New Brunswick, Governor Murphy highlighted $49M in upgrades to the train station.
In Hanover, sex education changes were approved, according to NJ Hills.
In Jersey City, Mayor Fulop says Councilwoman DeGise should be allowed to have her day in court, rebuffing calls for her to resign, according to TAPinto.
In Lakewood, homeless advocates are rallying over lost trees, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Long Hill, the shooting range ordinance was scrapped, according to NJ Hills.
In Morris, the township restricted developers’ ability to contribute to campaigns, according to NJ Hills.
In West Orange, a fourth cannabis shop was approved, according to TAPinto.
In Westfield, the Rialto will receive $5M for an arts center transformation, according to MyCentralJersey.
ICYMI: In Newark, Baraka criticized health premium increases, Baraka appointed Rose comms director; in Morris, Parkot seeking BOE seat; in Jersey City, state BOE voted to return full local control of schools; in Paterson, NJ Jackals secured home at Hinchliffe; in Irvington, Brown appointed to fill Burgess council vacancy; in Evesham, PILOT could be lightning rod issue; in Edison, Bhagia secured Dems chairmanship; in Somerville, Sullivan ready to pound doors for Malinowski
Insider NJ reporter John Van Vliet writes ‘Murphy and Public Sector Unions: Imperfect Together?‘
Insider NJ columnist Bob Hennelly writes ‘Waking the Sleeping Giant‘
Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘Go Get ’em, Dawn‘
Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘In a post – Trump era, a Governor Jon Bramnick could Dislodge the NJGOP from the Cult of Maga‘
Insider NJ columnist Tom Barrett writes ‘(Monoclonal) Cocktails, Anyone?‘
Insider NJ columnist and ELEC Executive Director Jeffrey Brindle writes ‘NJ Pay-to-Play Laws – There Should be Only One‘
AROUND THE WEB:
Susan K. Livio, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the largest health insurer in the state, cleared the latest hurdle in its plan to expand into the health care business late last week when the state Department of Banking and Insurance gave preliminary approval to change its corporate charter.
Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger
- I was running in the woods in Brick a few years ago when I came upon the wreckage of a UFO. It wasn’t much to look at, just a plastic laundry bag and a few strips of balsa covered with candle wax. But when it was intact it would have been an Unidentified Flying Object.
Star-Ledger Editorial Board
- Despite all the uproar over the state’s new standards for sex education this year, a recent poll affirms that the public decidedly supports the effort in middle and high school. That’s a relief.
- Just like most Trentonians, I was blindsided by the news that Saint Francis Medical Center will be closing as it will be sold to Capital Health System in the coming months.
USA TODAY Network New Jersey Editorial Board
- New Jersey’s newspapers — many of them more than a century old — have faced strong headwinds in the 21st century. Changes in readers’ habits, technological evolutions and declines in traditional revenue streams like classified advertising have all challenged our business and have impacted the journalism we produce. Still, though, the important work of covering the Garden State’s communities goes on, and so do we.
- Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11th Dist.) is sure Ukrainians won’t be cowed by Vladimir Putin’s latest threats. “Putin has really I think miscalculated the resistance every step of this conflict,” she said on Friday. “He thought the West wouldn’t have the will to hold him accountable. And he thought Ukraine would roll over as well. Nothing is further from the truth.”
- This week on Chat Box with David Cruz, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona discusses the pandemic’s impact on students and teachers, including learning loss and teacher shortages. Cruz also talks with Dr. Chris Pernell, a former University Hospital executive who claims that racism is prevalent at the Newark-based public hospital.
LA Parker, Trentonian
- Ride the River Line Light Rail from Trenton to Camden and many storylines develop. The NJ Transit hybrid rail system includes 21 stations and moves along the Delaware River while window seats offer vistas of natural environment. A 34-mile ride from Trenton to Camden takes about one hour and five minutes. Approximately 9,000 riders hop on or off daily while annual ridership nears three million.
Melanie Burney, Philadelphia Inquirer
- Was it a despicable act, but not a hate crime? Does the race of the accused matter? Was a Rowan University freshman targeted with a racial slur because of her race? Those questions are emerging in the aftermath of an incident at Rowan’s predominantly white campus during the first week of classes. At the center of the case are two messages found on the door of a Black student that said: “I hate N-word.”