NJ Politics Digest: State Moving Forward on Controversial Pension Change

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stands with U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker. Alyana Alfaro for Observer

It’s the end of a long week in politics, and while all attention was focused on the GOP’s squabbles as it attempted to repeal and replace the affordable care act, state legislators moved to make a major change in the Garden State’s public pension system. National politics also brought our two Democratic senators into opposing camps on the confirmation of our ambassador to Israel and left Gov. Chris Christie wondering if federal investigators had access to his communications with President Donald Trump’s transition team.

N.J. votes to spin off management for part of pension system
New Jersey’s Legislature passed a controversial bill Thursday that would spin off management of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System from the state’s overall $71.2 billion pension fund. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Chris Christie.
Nicholas Pugliese and Salvador Rizzo, The Record Read more

Will N.J. police, firefighters get control of their pensions? It’s now up to Christie
Police and firefighters would gain control of their now-state-run pension fund under a measure that won final approval in the Assembly Thursday.
Samantha Marcus, NJ.com Read more

Obamacare repeal vote postponed — Didn’t have support of NJ’s GOP congressmen
GOP House leaders delayed their planned vote Thursday on a long-promised bill to repeal and replace “Obamacare,” in a stinging setback for House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump in their first major legislative test.
Associated Press Read more

Menendez 1 of only 2 Senate Democrats backing Trump’s U.S. ambassador to Israel
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez was one of only two Senate Democrats who voted to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to Israel on Thursday.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

Christie ‘anxious’ to learn if FBI listened in on his Trump chats
Gov. Chris Christie said that he was “anxiously awaiting” to see whether his communications with Donald Trump’s transition team were swept up in an FBI’s investigation of possible collusion between Russian intelligence and Trump campaign operatives.
Claude Brodesser-Akner, NJ.com Read more

Pushing to Keep Trump Budget Cuts From Derailing NJ Mass Transit Projects
Alarms were sounded almost immediately last week after a preview of President Donald Trump’s first budget showed federal funding for the planned Gateway trans-Hudson tunnel is now in peril.
John Reitmeyer, NJSpotlight Read more

Christie Wants to Divert Environmental Settlements One More Time
Three months ago, the Legislature approved a bill putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot this fall to require funds from environmental lawsuits to be used to restore natural resources damaged by polluters.
Tom Johnson, The Record Read more

N.J. town officially recognizes homeless encampments in woods
The town council adopted a resolution at its meeting Tuesday night officially recognizing the homeless encampments located on township-owned land in the woods of Route 9.
Alex Napoliello, NJ.com Read more

Christie: Cuomo wants Port inspector general because he’s ‘frustrated’ about reform
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s appointees at the Port Authority have railed against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to install his own inspector general at the bi-state agency, saying it would give the Democrat “’dictatorial power” over the agency.
Politico Read more

Trump seeks to cut safety agency with roots in N.J.
The devastating 1995 Napp Technologies explosion in the heart of Lodi killed five men, created a plume of toxic black smoke that lingered over the county for days — and led to the creation of a federal board that spent the next two decades investigating more than 100 chemical industry accidents across the nation.
Scott Fallon, The Record Read more

NJ Hospital Improvements Save Lives, Dollars
Patient safety improvements at New Jersey hospitals averted tens of thousands of harmful incidents and saved more than $640 million in healthcare costs over the past five years, according to a trade group report released Wednesday.
Lilo H. Stainton, NJSpotlight Read more

Phil Murphy Picks Up Another Green Endorsement
Democrat Phil Murphy picked up another major environmental endorsement as the New Jersey Sierra Club yesterday backed the former U.S. Ambassador to Germany for governor.
Tom Johnson, NJSpotlight Read more

Jon Corzine’s MF Global, PwC in settlement
The trial between bankrupt brokerage MF Global, run by former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, and its former accounting firm, PwC, came to an unceremonious end on Thursday, with both parties saying they have reached a settlement.
Associated Press Read more

Snooki’s $32,000 payday for appearing at Rutgers inspires New Jersey bill
Gym, tan, legislation.
A bill inspired by Jersey Shore star Nicole Polizzi, better known as Snooki, aims to cap spending of state money for speakers at public universities in New Jersey at $10,000.
Erin Jensen, USA TODAY Read more

N.J. lawmakers vote to block secret million-dollar settlements
New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday advanced legislation that would prevent state government from keeping whistleblower lawsuit payouts shrouded in secrecy.
S.P. Sullivan, NJ.com Read more

Brookdale trustee involved in racist scandal resigns
The Brookdale Community College trustee embroiled in a scandal over racist tweets has resigned.
Amanda Oglesby, The Record Read more

Bergen Courthouse renovations to cost $80 million
Bergen County will have to borrow $50 million to complete long-planned renovations to the Bergen County Courthouse.
Steve Janoski, The Record Read more

Newark PD still won’t come to your car crash
If you call 911 in Newark after having a car accident, you might be on your own.
Officers won’t come to the scene of accidents without injuries.
Karin Price Mueller, NJ.com Read more

Award-winning author to speak at NJ Peace Action dinner
Bloomfield-based New Jersey Peace Action is celebrating 60 years with its annual anniversary dinner on Sunday, April 2 at the Hasbrouck Heights Hilton.
Mollie Shauger, The Record Read more

Point Beach will fix hole in Manasquan Inlet wall
The March 14 nor’easter ripped a hole in the Manasquan Inlet wall at Loughran Point, on the Point Pleasant Beach side, large enough to paddle a kayak through it.
Dan Radel, Asbury Park Press Read more

Unsafe lead levels in water at 4 Jackson schools
Water testing at four schools have revealed lead levels as much as 56 times higher than the federal limit.
Mike Davis, Asbury Park Press Read more

Ciattarelli: N.J. needs new message, new messenger
From the moment I declared my candidacy for governor in October, I’ve provided what the citizens of New Jersey should expect from anyone seeking public office: a plan.
Jack Ciattarelli Read more

Opinion: Kim Guadagno misses the point on sanctuary cities
In a recent meeting with The Record’s editorial board, Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno called the movement to get cities and towns to designate themselves as sanctuaries for immigrants a “political stunt,” saying that the declarations would not prevent customs officials from enforcing immigration laws and detaining undocumented immigrants. Guadagno misses the point of these designations and exposes her lack of understanding of New Jersey communities with large immigrant populations.
Christian Estevez, Read more

NJ Politics Digest: State Moving Forward on Controversial Pension Change