Morning News Digest: Tuesday, November 18, 2008

STATE GOVERNMENT Drinking age debate hits a wall in Trenton The leader of a national movement to rethink the legal

Drinking age debate hits a wall in Trenton

The leader of a national movement to rethink the legal drinking age told New Jersey lawmakers yesterday that the current law isn't working, but those under 21 shouldn't expect a change anytime soon. (Ana M. Alaya, The Star-Ledger)

Governor urged to push back affordable-housing deadline

Two state senators, the lobby ing arm for local government, and a coalition of environmental groups have separately asked Gov. Jon Corzine to delay by at least six months the Dec. 31 deadline for towns to file their plans to provide affordable housing. (Tom Hester, The Star-Ledger)

Dems push aid bills through Assembly

New Jersey lawmakers yesterday continued their campaign to bolster the state against the collapsing economy, advancing plans to give businesses a $3,000 grant for every new worker they hire and authorizing $35 million in special state aid for food pantries, legal services and housing counseling. (Dunstan McNichol, The Star-Ledger)

Two state reps urge Christie to testify before Congress

WASHINGTON — Two New Jersey congressmen want resigning U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie to testify before Congress about a lucrative contract he awarded his former boss, John Ashcroft, who was attorney general during President George W. Bush's first term. (Gannett)

Court drops state federal suit over limits on kids' health care

A federal judge dismissed the state's lawsuit against the Bush administration over proposed new guidelines that threatened the subsidized health care of thousands of children in working-poor families covered by the FamilyCare program. (The Star-Ledger)

Public advocate pushes to revamp redevelopment laws

New Jersey's outdated redevelopment laws need to be changed to better protect residents displaced by municipal redevelopment projects, according to a report released yesterday by Public Advocate Ronald K. Chen. (Tom Hester, The Star-Ledger)

Wilson not certain if he'll stay on as GOP Chairman after June

State Sen. Joe Pennacchio’s (R-Montville) call for Republican State Chairman Tom Wilson to resign will not likely be answered in the affirmative, but whether Wilson will serve another two-year term is uncertain. (

Pennacchio calls on GOP state chairman to resign

Citing the need for the state party to follow the national party’s lead and start renewing itself, state Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-Montville) today called on Republican State Chairman Tom Wilson to resign. (

Christie to resign as state's top federal prosecutor

U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie, who prosecuted scores of political corruption cases during almost seven years in office, announced his resignation yesterday, sparking widespread speculation he is preparing to run for governor. (Cynthia Burton, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Sizing up the 2009 race for governor

Christopher Christie, the Republican U.S. attorney badgered by rumors that he will run for governor, is staying mum on any plans for a 2009 bid. (Elise Young, The Bergen Record)

Lonegan gubernatorial announcement coming next month

Conservative activist Steve Lonegan will announce his decision on whether or not he’s going to run for governor on December 1st. (

Dean's role draw question from Brant jurors

TRENTON — The jury in the trial of former state Sen. Wayne Bryant finished its first full day of deliberations Monday without reaching a verdict. (Richard Pearsall, The Courier-Post)

Jury deliberates in Bryant case

Jurors deliberated for the first full day Monday in the corruption trial of former state Sen. Wayne Bryant, without reaching a verdict. (Trish G. Graber, Gloucester County Times)

County Dems may pick Rainear replacement soon

VINELAND — Cumberland County Democrats may choose someone as soon as this weekend to serve the remaining two years of Doug Rainear's term on the Cumberland County freeholder board, according to the county party chairman. (Matt Dunn, Gloucester County Times)

Solar power plant proposed

VINELAND — A former governor was in town Monday to pitch the city on building a solar-panel manufacturing facility. (Kristi Funderburk, The Daily Journal)

Mathesius tossed from bench

Superior Court Judge Bill Mathesius, a colorful former prosecutor and politician whose outspoken ways as a jurist stirred controversy, will not be reappointed to the Mercer County bench, The Times has learned. (Linda Stein, Trenton Times)

Barnegat to vote on budget tonight

BARNEGAT — The Township Committee will vote on the 2008 municipal budget during tonight's (Jessica Infante, Asbury Park Press)

Morning News Digest: Tuesday, November 18, 2008