PolitickerNJ News Digest: May 13th

Rob Karabinchak

It’s the end of the week, and apparently the end of the battle among Democrats over how to best help Atlantic City. But fighting still continues on the periphery, even as the political debate moves on to other hot-button issues.

AC Deal All but Done
Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto came together behind the scenes earlier today and are close to revolving the crisis in Atlantic City.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Maybe the Norcross Controversy will Change a Bad Law
Assuming George Norcross, or any company he has an interest in, does not stand to benefit by passage of the Senate President’s Atlantic City Bill, then any reasonable person would presume that no laws have been broken. Whether it passes or fails is just politics.
Donald Scarinci, PolitickerNJ Read more

State DOL Fields $15 Wage Questions, Vows to Improve Public-Private Training
Though New Jersey’s unemployment rate has sunk to 4.4 percent, the legislature and the governor’s administration are bracing for a potential minimum wage increase and looking for ways to improve public and public-private training programs and hold hold those programs accountable. A state Senate committee heard testimony from Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Harold J. Wirths Thursday, where lawmakers praised the department for its role in improving the state’s unemployment rate since the recession of 2008.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

Brown Faces New Super PAC Attack Ads in Atlantic City
A second wave of attack ads against Assembly Chris Brown (R-2) surfaced Thursday, criticizing the Atlantic County lawmaker for his opposition to a proposed state takeover of Atlantic City. Brown has been one of the most vocal critics of the takeover legislation from Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), facing early attacks directed at his reelection campaign and anticipated state Senate bid against incumbent Jim Whelan (D-2). The new super PAC-funded web ads characterize Brown’s opposition to the Senate plan as support for a “bailout for Atlantic City politicians.”
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

Second Uber Bill Introduced in Legislature
Last week, Senators Joe Kyrillos (R-13) and Paul Sarlo (D-36) announced a bill aimed at creating statewide regulations for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft. Today, Assembly Democrats Joe Lagana (D-38), Troy Singleton (D-7) and John Wisniewski (D-19) introduced a similar bill in the assembly (A3695).
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Essex County Crusade: Dem Candidates Step Up Maneuvers
Essex County Democrats have lived with the line “Putting Essex County First” for at least a decade plus, finally arguably anesthetized by their own choral exclamations the way the followers of Frank Hague must have felt whenever they heard those four familiar words: “I am the law.”
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Team Venezia Accuses Lopez of Attempting to Steal Lawn Sign
The campaign of incumbent Bloomfield Mayor Mike Venezia alleged that challenger Joe Lopez attempted to remove a Venezia lawn sign from the home of a supporter. However, according to Lopez, that claim is a “lie” and “spin” by the Venezia campaign.
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Adubato Scolds DDD Over Statewide Transition Plan
At her well-attended Night of Hope event tonight to raise autism awareness, North Ward Center CEO Michele Adubato denounced the state Division of Developmental Disabilities’ statewide transition plan.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Atlantic City deal is written with Speaker’s political blood
The warring tribes of Democrats in Trenton smoked a peace pipe on Thursday and tentatively agreed to rescue Atlantic City from bankruptcy at the last minute.
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger Editorial Board Read more

GWB scandal: New list thought to name who knew what and when in alleged conspiracy
A second list of names, believed to include people who knew about — but did not report — the alleged conspiracy to close access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, has been given to defense lawyers in the long-running case that continues to haunt Governor Christie’s administration.
Daniel Sforza and Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

Christie touts $1.3B investment to N.J.’s colleges, universities
With Thomas Edison State University’s new nursing school as his backdrop, Gov. Chris Christie touted the state’s investment in campus construction projects at its colleges and universities, saying it helps stem the tide of students leaving New Jersey for college.
Cristina Rojas, NJ.com Read more

Rutgers plans ‘airport-like’ screening for Obama commencement speech
Guests attending Rutgers University’s commencement will be subject to “airport-like” security screening on the way into the ceremony and won’t be allowed to leave until after commencement is finished, according to the university.
Adam Clark, NJ.com Read more

Late-voting New Jersey has clout in presidential primary
The state’s Democratic presidential primary has heightened meaning and candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are doing their best to woo New Jersey voters.
Associated Press Read more

N.J. Dems fight Christie again over funding for Planned Parenthood, other centers
Democratic lawmakers are once again pushing to restore $7.5 million in this year’s state budget for family planning services, a multi-year battle with a Republican governor who customarily slashes the expense.
Samantha Marcus, NJ.com Read more

Would $15 minimum wage cost 70,000 NJ jobs?
Raising New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 an hour might help low-wage workers afford to live in the high-cost Garden State, but it will come at a price, a business lobby group said Thursday.
Michael L. Diamond, Asbury Park Press Read more

Jersey City councilman stepping down after guilty pleas related to DWI arrest
Councilman Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal, whose March 2015 arrest on a drunken driving charge resulted in one grand jury inquiry and a second one slated to begin next week, pleaded guilty today to three charges related to his arrest.
Terrence T. McDonald, The Jersey Journal Read more

NJ Transit hires 2 from Christie administration to top roles
Management changes continued at NJ Transit on Wednesday, when the agency named two Christie administration officials as deputy executive director and chief financial officer.
Larry Higgs, NJ.com Read more

Chris Christie and Bridgegate: He keeps getting pulled back in with this mob
“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”
That line from “The Godfather” was repeated to hilarious effect in “The Sopranos” by none other than Miami Steve Van Zandt.
Paul Mulshine, The Star Ledger Read more

Hackensack councilwoman angers city officials with apology for failed police promotion
Councilwoman Deborah Keeling-Geddis issued both a public apology and a challenge to city officials about the “premature” promotion of a black lieutenant in a statement that angered the mayor and deputy mayor, who accused her of political maneuvering.
John Seasly, The Record Read more