NJ Politics Digest: MacArthur Takes Incoming for Five Hours

Tom MacArthur. Kevin B. Sanders for Observer

Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-3) took five hours of questions and criticism over his role shaping the American Health Care Act, a tour de force of masochism and health care policy.

Meanwhile, Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7) isn’t toeing the party line when it comes to the investigation of alleged ties between President Trump’s campaign and the Russian government. Lance on Wednesday said he believes the investigation into such links should continue.

And while the state’s gubernatorial campaign is just beginning, Democratic candidate Phil Murphy has raised and spent more than twice all the other candidates from both parties combined.

MacArthur Faces the Wrath of New Jersey
Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-3), the man who resurrected the Republican plan to replace key parts of the Affordable Care Act, faced a hailstorm of questions from seething and plaintive constituents in one of the most Democratic corners of his swing district Wednesday night.
Salvador Rizzo, Observer Read more

NJ Democrats Troubled by Comey Firing
President Trump and the White House have said that FBI Director James Comey’s firing on Tuesday was unrelated to the ongoing investigation of potential links between Trump campaign associates and Russia, but Democratic lawmakers from New Jersey have some doubts.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Lance: Russia probe must continue
Rep. Leonard Lance, R-7 — who voted last week against his party’s bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — defended ousted FBI Director James Comey Wednesday and called for the continuation of congressional and FBI investigations into possible Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
William Westhoven, Daily Record Read more

AHCA Opponents Rally Against NJ’s MacArthur
Opponents of the Republican bill to replace the Affordable Care Act gathered in droves in Rep. Tom MacArthur’s district on Wednesday afternoon, armed with protest chants, megaphones, costumes, signs and an inflatable chicken.
JT Aregood, Observer Read more

These N.J. state workers make more than Gov. Chris Christie
When compared to how much governors in other states are paid, Gov. Chris Christie is sitting pretty. Only five governors make more in annual salary than Christie, whose $175,000 a year is tied with Virginia.
Samantha Marcus, NJ.com Read more

Kushners abandon property bid as pressures mount over conflicts
A company owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, has abandoned plans to buy a sprawling industrial site in New Jersey from Honeywell International Inc., a major federal contractor, and develop it into a residential community.
Bloomberg News Read more

Murphy spends more than three times on governor’s race than all other candidates combined
Phil Murphy, the Democratic front-runner for governor, has spent $18.4 million so far in the gubernatorial campaign, according to the state Election Law Enforcement Commission, nearly four times as much money than the other 10 candidates have spent combined. All together those candidates have spent $4.9 million, according to the commission.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

New Jersey Could Pay for the Entire Gateway Project Under Ciattarelli’s Transit Plan
Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor, on Wednesday offered a plan of last resort for New Jersey to cover the entire cost of the Gateway rail tunnel from New Jersey to New York City and associated work if the feds don’t provide any cash.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

NJ governor’s race: Who’s got the best electricity plan?
Dread looking at the electric bill in August? Then you should be paying attention to New Jersey’s gubernatorial place.
Russ Zimmer, Asbury Park Press Read more

Measure to tax Airbnb, short-term rentals advances
Short-term housing rentals through Airbnb and other online marketplaces could soon be subject to the same taxes as hotels and motels in New Jersey, under a bill approved by the Assembly Budget Committee on Wednesday.
Nicholas Pugliese, The Record Read more

Christie Plans to Nominate Michele Brown for Judgeship
Before leaving office, Gov. Chris Christie plans to nominate Michele Brown, a jack-of-all-trades adviser since his days as U.S. attorney, to be a state Superior Court judge. Brown later withdrew from consideration.
Salvador Rizzo, Observer Read more

Did Somerset jail ignore immigration officials’ request? GOP sheriff disputes criticism
A Mexican national who was released on bail despite a federal immigration retainer created something of a turf war between federal officials and a Republican sheriff in a county where President Donald Trump owns a golf course.
Adam Hochron, NJ101.5 Read more

Judge Russo now suing a third judge, Wendel E. Daniels
Superior Court Judge John F. Russo Jr., removed from his judicial duties and suing his two bosses in a discrimination case, now says a third judge retaliated against him by barring him from sitting with fellow judges during a recent courthouse ceremony.
Kathleen Hopkins, Asbury Park Press Read more

Are Guns, Police Cars Best Way to Prevent Cruelty to Animals in NJ?
On an unusually warm day in January 2014, armed agents from the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals showed up at the Hunterdon County Humane Animal Shelter with two officers from the New Jersey State Police, reportedly handcuffed the shelter’s 84-year-old director, patted her down, and then left her handcuffed in a cell in a local police station for several hours on charges of animal cruelty.
Caren Chesler, NJSpotlight Read more

Former Toms River Mayor Roden Lightbody loved to play Santa
He was a former mayor, Ocean County’s long-time traffic safety engineer, and, for thousands of children in Ocean County, he was Santa Claus.
Jean Mikle, Asbury Park Press Read more

Deal beach parking: Town considering a daily rate, lifeguards
Borough officials are dropping a controversial beach parking ordinance while they work on a new proposal that would include a $10 daily rate for parking and could add lifeguards to now unguarded beaches.
Susanne Cervenka, Asbury Park Press Read more

Jackson sued over ‘discriminatory’ dormitory ban
The township’s controversial new restrictions on dormitory and school construction “target the Orthodox Jewish community” in violation of the First Amendment and federal statues, two groups argue in a lawsuit.
Mike Davis, Asbury Park Press Read more

Lakewood asks NJ for $10M to save more than 100 teachers
Lakewood’s school district has asked the state for an emergency loan of $10 million, money to spare 100 teaching jobs from the budget ax.
Payton Guion, Asbury Park Press Read more

Town taking tribe to court over teepees built near million-dollar homes
The township is taking the Ramapough Mountain Indians to court in its latest effort to remove structures that were erected last year in a flood plain and conservation zone.
Allison Pries, NJ.com Read more

Jersey City panel discusses violence as a public health issue
Just 18 hours after a teen was gunned down in broad daylight, a four-person panel addressed violence as a public health issue in the state’s second largest city.
Caitlin Mota, The Jersey Journal Read more

Miss America Organization has a new home in Atlantic City
There it is — the Miss America Organization has moved digs once again to Boardwalk Hall, the traditional home of the pageant final in Atlantic City.
Amy Kuperinsky, NJ.com Read more

EDITORIAL: Override veto of puppy mill bill
The headlines were almost too easy, most of them sounding vaguely absurdist: ‘Christie blocks restraints on abusive puppy mills,’or something to that effect.
Asbury Park Press Read more