NJ Politics Digest: Sweeney Goes Nuclear Over Subsidy Bill

Steve Sweeney. Kevin B. Sanders for Observer

Senate President Steve Sweeney is “downright angry” after a controversial nuclear subsidy bill he sponsored died in the Assembly. And he’s taking out his fury on Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Governor-elect Phil Murphy.

Prieto, the outgoing speaker, pulled the bill from the Assembly agenda after Murphy, the incoming governor, apparently intervened to ensure the legislation had clean energy investments. That likely means the bill can’t be fast-tracked and signed into law before Murphy takes office on Jan. 16.

Sweeney called Prieto’s move “yet another example of his valueless word.” As for Murphy, Sweeney suggested “the governor-elect may not be aware” that the Legislature passed offshore-wind legislation in 2010. “Holding this legislation hostage at this juncture is not only shortsighted, but it is a mistake,” he added.

Prieto shot back at Sweeney, saying he never promised to post the bill for a vote. “No bill is being held hostage, and to make such a claim is a ridiculous exaggeration,” he said.

After a blizzard cancelled planned voting sessions Thursday, lawmakers return to the state house today for votes in the Senate and Assembly.

RIP: Former Governor Brendan T. Byrne has died at the age of 93. Byrne served two terms as the 47th governor of New Jersey from 1974 to 1982. He implemented the state’s first income tax, enacted casino gambling in Atlantic City, oversaw the development of the Meadowlands sports complex and signed the Pinelands Protection Act to help preserve the endangered Pine Barrens. He is the last Democratic governor to win re-election in the state.

Quote of the Day: “It is a shame that Democrats in the Legislature are paralyzed and let the arbitration cap expire. This will lead to higher property taxes & to negative action from ratings agencies. Governors lead. So let me be clear: we need this cap now. Everyone in leadership should be as clear.” – Gov. Chris Christie.

Speaking of the Interest Arbitration Cap: Moody’s issued a short report that says the expiration of the 2 percent arbitration cap for police and firefighter salary hikes is a credit negative for New Jersey municipalities. “It played a large role in helping counties and cities manage public safety costs,” the report said.

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Brendan Byrne, Former N.J. Governor and Elder Statesman, Dies at Age 93
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New Jersey Transit Director to Step Down
The man who has led New Jersey’s embattled transit agency for the last 15 months is stepping down. A person with direct knowledge of the announcement who wasn’t authorized to comment publicly said Thursday that New Jersey Transit Executive Director Steven Santoro will announce he’s leaving the agency in April.
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Trump May Put Oil Drilling Rigs Off N.J. Beaches
President Donald Trump’s administration on Thursday proposed opening the Jersey Shore and the rest of the Atlantic Coast to oil drilling. If approved, the Interior Department’s new 2019-2024 five-year plan could allow drilling in more than 90 percent of the outer continential shelf, which encompasses 90 percent of the areas of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans.
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Panel Recommends $400 million Bond Issue To Shore Up NJ Water Infrastructure
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Snippets: David Wildstein, the admitted mastermind of Bridgegate who once ran PolitickerNJ.com, has launched a new NJ politics website: PoliticsDW.com. This time he’s using his real name, not “Wally Edge.”

Got a tip? Email Christian Hetrick at chetrick@observer.com or reach him on Twitter.

NJ Politics Digest: Sweeney Goes Nuclear Over Subsidy Bill