NJ Politics Digest: Christie Gets Kind of Funny About Piscopo

Joe Piscopo is reportedly weighing entering the NJ governor’s race as an independent. Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage

It’s Wednesday, and if you thought Gov. Chris Christie would keep his own counsel in the upcoming gubernatorial contest, think again.

The impact of the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act continues to generate headlines, with opponents claiming hundreds of thousands of state residents would be harmed by the effort. Even Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, her gubernatorial aspirations on display, has spoken out against the GOP plan while Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur, who initially opposed the plan, now says he’ll support it.

Quote of the Day: ” I welcome him to run as an independent, and he’ll be as close to the governorship as he is today.” – Gov. Chris Christie, on the possibility of Joe Piscopo running for governor as an independent candidate.

Christie blasts Piscopo, defends Trump
From blasting comedian Joe Piscopo to criticizing Twitter as a mode of communication that lacks nuance, Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday made himself heard on a number of recent developments at the state and national levels.
Nicholas Pugliese, The Record Read more

Seaside Heights reluctantly OKs pro-Trump rally
A rally in support of President Donald Trump is scheduled to take place on the boardwalk Saturday, even through Mayor Anthony Vaz initially denied the MAGA March group’s request to hold an event here.
Jean Mikle, Asbury Park Press Read more

Guadagno weighs in on issues dominating Trump agenda
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, addressing two of President Donald Trump’s top agenda items, said Tuesday that Republican lawmakers in Washington must find “some other way” to replace the Affordable Care Act than with a bill to cut Medicaid and called the “sanctuary city” movement a “political stunt” with little practical impact.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

N.J. governor hopeful Phil Murphy targets Trump in new TV ad
Phil Murphy, the early Democratic favorite in the New Jersey governor’s race, is taking aim not at his opponents but President Donald Trump in his latest television ad.
Brent Johnson, NJ.com Read more

Christie to NJEA president: I’ll enjoy burning your newspaper column in my fireplace
Gov. Chris Christie attacked a familiar foe on Tuesday, saying an op-ed penned by the president of the state’s largest teachers’ union was a “delight” to read — and then burn.
Matt Arco, NJ.com Read more

Dems say Christie should lobby Trump against health-care replacement
With the House of Representatives pushing to pass its replacement of the Affordable Care Act by Thursday, opponents are stepping up efforts to defeat it, including the release of a report that shows nearly a half million New Jerseyans could lose their health insurance within three years.
Michael Symons, NJ101.5 Read more

Democrats cite harm to NJ from Republican healthcare bill
As Republicans in Congress hurtle toward a vote this week on their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, New Jersey’s senior senator and other Democrats asked Tuesday why Governor Chris Christie hasn’t used his access to President Trump to defend New Jersey’s interests, particularly because hundreds of thousands of residents are projected to lose coverage under the Republican plan.
Lindy Washburn, The Record Read more

N.J.’s MacArthur now backs Obamacare repeal after being one of a few GOP dissenters
Rep. Tom MacArthur, one of only nine House Republicans to oppose efforts to make it easier to repeal the Affordable Care Act, said he will support his party’s alternative after it was amended to help more middle-aged Americans afford their insurance premiums.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

500K N.J. residents would lose insurance under GOP healthcare plan, study says
House Republican legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would leave 500,000 more New Jersey residents without health insurance, according to a study released just two days before lawmakers will be asked to vote on the bill.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

School funding concerns dominate N.J. budget debate
Parents and educators turned out in force for a public hearing on Gov. Chris Christie’s new $35.5 billion state budget plan on Tuesday, asking for more teachers and counselors, new schools in districts where enrollment rates are growing quickly, and repairs to century-old buildings that are “literally crumbling.”
The city would lose funding for the purchase of four new ambulances and six Paterson-based non-profit groups may have to cut their social service programs under the Trump administration’s budget plans.
Salvador Rizzo, The Record Read more

N.J. voters would raise taxes on the rich to fund public worker pensions, poll finds
The majority of New Jersey voters are willing to let the state’s wealthiest residents pick up the tab for government worker pensions but don’t want tax increases on lower-income residents, according to a new poll.
Samantha Marcus, NJ.com Read more

$1M in security grants for South Jersey groups facing bias threats
Condemning recent hate crimes and threats, Gov. Christie on Tuesday announced $1 million in grants for religious institutions and nonprofits in South Jersey counties that are ineligible for federal security aid.
Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Read more

Frelinghuysen: Trump “out of control’ with Tweets
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen defended elements of the Republican agenda during a telephone town hall Monday, but also expressed pointed criticisms of President Donald Trump, including his inflammatory usage of social media.
William Westhoven, Daily Record Read more

Booker, Menendez highlight PennEast concerns in letter to regulator
As a key environmental report on the billion dollar PennEast pipeline project looms, New Jersey’s two United States senators have asked a federal regulator to address a host of concerns already raised by other government agencies.
Kevin Shea, NJ.com Read more

Rejoining RGGI Would Send Message to Next Governor, New President
With a new administration in Washington pulling back on climate-change initiatives, lawmakers are reviving an effort to rejoin a multistate initiative to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.
Tom Johnson, NJSpotlight Read more

Bye bye, Gen Y: NJ business leaders fear continued exodus of millennials
They’re supposed to be our future workforce, but apparently they want nothing to do with New Jersey.
Dino Flammia, NJ101.5 Read more

Paterson faces loss of $3M under Trump budget proposal
The city would lose funding for the purchase of four new ambulances and six Paterson-based non-profit groups may have to cut their social service programs under the Trump administration’s budget plans.
Joe Malinconico, Paterson Press Read more

Dozens of lawn signs against hate stolen from homes
Police in New Jersey say more than a dozen lawn signs advocating against hatred and bigotry have been stolen from homes.
Associated Press Read more

Paterson mayor eyes grant for ‘gateway’ to Great Falls
The mayor is hoping to get $2.5 million from the state’s Green Acres program to buy 15 properties he said would create a “gateway” to the national park at the Great Falls.
Joe Malinconico, Paterson Press Read more

Annual Pension ruling blows hole in Middletown school budget
Annual school taxes for homeowners would jump by $217 on average under a new budget that was forced to account for a multimillion dollar mistake made by the school board 10 years ago.
Russ Zimmer, Asbury Park Press Read more

How should Toms River regulate Airbnb?
It’s once again back to the drawing board for the township’s efforts to regulate short-term rentals.
Jean Mikle, Asbury Park Press Read more

Cape May to hold first town hall next week
The city will hold its first town hall meeting next week to discuss beach safety, capital projects and an update on the search to fill key positions.
Press of Atlantic City Read more

Frank Messineo named newest trustee of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation
Frank Messineo was recently named the newest trustee of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation, which oversees the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, Vietnam Era Museum and Educational Center. “Having had the opportunity to serve this magnanimous foundation over the past twenty years, n honor of those who served this country, I’m proud to bring my service to the next level,” said Messineo. Messineo has worked closely with the Foundation on many projects over the years, including the construction of the Museum and Educational Center nearly twenty years ago. Most recently, Messineo’s firm, Solutions Architecture, prepared the designs for a new UH-1 Huey Memorial which features an authentic, Vietnam Era UH-1 Chopper hovering atop a column at the entrance to the Museum.
Sarah Schnurr, Asbury Park Press Read more

Editorial: Pension-fund bill sellout to unions
New Jersey’s biggest police and firefighter unions want more control over their pension systems. So legislation has been crafted that would shift responsibility for pension investments away from the state Department of Treasury to a union-controlled board of trustees.
Asbury Park Press Read more