NJ Politics Digest: Lame Duck Legislature Advances Dozens of Bills

The Assembly chamber in the New Jersey statehouse. Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

New Jersey’s lame duck Legislature was in full swing Thursday with its busiest day since the Nov. 7 election.

Senate and Assembly committees advanced dozens of bills, including measures to ban bump stocks and abolish the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Lawmakers introduced a bill to make clean air and water a constitutional right.

Governor-elect Phil Murphy said he’d consider filing a legal challenge if the proposed Republican tax overhaul becomes law. He said he spoke with leaders in New York and California about doing “whatever it takes” to stop a GOP attempt to rewrite the federal tax code.

And Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption trial has damaged his poll numbers in New Jersey. Even though his case ended in a mistrial, half of state residents said he should resign from office, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton poll.

Quote of the Day: “My temperature has gone up on Washington. This is a complete and utter outrage. And I don’t know how else to say it. We ain’t gonna stand for it.” – Governor-elect Phil Murphy on the GOP tax bill.

Meet the Three Democrats Challenging Rep. Chris Smith
Three Democratic candidates have registered to run in New Jersey’s 4th congressional district, all of them hoping to make it past the June 2018 primary and challenge Rep. Chris Smith (R-4), a 36-year incumbent in one of New Jersey’s most reliably Republican districts.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Murphy: New Jersey Could Sue to Stop GOP Tax Overhaul
Governor-elect Phil Murphy said Thursday that New Jersey and other states could sue the federal government if a proposed Republican tax overhaul becomes law.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Half of New Jersey Residents Think Menendez Should Resign, Poll Says
Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption trial has damaged his poll numbers in New Jersey and roughly half of state residents say the senior senator should resign, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton poll released Thursday.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Senate Committee Advances Legislation to Disband NJSPCA
The New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals would be disbanded and county task forces would become the vehicle for enforcement of animal cruelty-related laws under a bill that cleared a Senate committee on Thursday.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Cammarano and Platkin Picks Predict Success for Murphy Administration
Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s selections of Pete Cammarano as chief of staff and Matt Platkin as chief counsel offer a glimpse into what we can expect from Gov. Murphy over the next four years. The two senior positions set the tone for the administration.
Donald Scarinci, Observer Read more

Murphy says he has ‘proof’ Christie made transition volunteers keep work secret
Gov.-elect Phil Murphy on Thursday defended his decision to ask transition volunteers to sign non-disclosure agreements, saying they will allow people to speak freely during meetings and that Gov. Chris Christie had a similar arrangement after his election in 2009.
Politico Read more

NJ Transit lost a quarter of its rail managers in 2 years before Hoboken crash, documents show
The exodus squeezed the agency from both sides: As 49 of NJ Transit’s most senior rail supervisors retired between January 2014 and July 2016, a group of younger potential replacements, including some who were considered rising stars, left the agency for jobs from Connecticut to Florida.
The Record Read more

First step toward banning, confiscating bump stocks in NJ
A plan to ban the sale and possession in New Jersey of attachments called bump stocks that make semiautomatic rifles shoot faster, like those used in the mass shooting in Las Vegas two months ago, sailed through an Assembly committee Thursday.
NJ 101.5 Read more

Several state legislators want constitutional right to clear air, water
Several lawmakers in New Jersey want voters to add the right to clean air and water to the state Constitution, a move that supporters admit would create legal uncertainty for both government and industry.
Politico Read more

‘This is insanity!’ That’s what Booker just said about Trump-backed Senate GOP tax bill
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker said his Senate Republican colleagues were ignoring facts and evidence in seeking to pass tax legislation that gives most of its benefits to corporations and wealthy Americans.
NJ.com Read more

Christie Nominates MCDC Chair McCabe for Port Position
Governor Chris Christie today nominated Middlesex County Democratic Chairman Kevin McCabe to serve as a member of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey – the replacement for John Degnan.
Insider NJ Read more

Chris Christie’s beach trip makes Mad Magazine’s 2017 Dumb issue
What, Chris Christie worry? Gov. Christie will be featured in Mad Magazine’s upcoming “20 Dumbest People, Events and Things of 2017” issue. The magazine cites Christie’s trip to the beach after closing state parks due to a budget shutdown.
The Record Read more

ACLU leader: Legalizing marijuana a ‘racial justice issue’
The head of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey says legalizing recreational marijuana would help fix “a racial justice issue and a civil rights crisis” because the war on drugs is disproportionately targeting black New Jerseyans.
Asbury Park Press Read more

Is Showdown in Offing Over Nuclear Subsidies In New Jersey?
In what is likely to be the opening salvo of a nasty legislative battle, lawmakers will convene early next week to discuss how to prevent the state’s nuclear plants from shutting down prematurely.
NJSpotlight Read more

Jersey’s troubled public worker pension system just hit a mark not seen in 2 years
There was a bit of bright news Wednesday for New Jersey’s troubled public employee pension fund. State officials disclosed the fund held $76.3 billion in assets at the end of the October, its highest value in over two years.
NJ.com Read more

Wife of Jersey City political operative lands City Hall job
The wife of a Jersey City political operative with connections to state Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham joined the city payroll this month.
Jersey Journal Read more

Ex-Bergen Superior Court Judge, NJ Assemblyman Patrick Roma Dies Of Stroke
Retired Bergen County Superior Court judge and former New Jersey State Assemblyman Patrick James Roma died on Nov. 26 following a massive stroke . He was 68.
Hackensack Daily Voice Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Lame Duck Legislature Advances Dozens of Bills