Morning News Digest: Tuesday, December 16 2008

N.J. pension deferral plan tabled by critical officials

TRENTON – Action on a plan to allow local governments to defer $1.35 billion in pension payments will have to wait until at least January, after a handful of Democratic senators, mostly from South Jersey, joined with Republicans in opposing the proposal. (Michael Symons, Courier Post)

N.J. OKs medical marijuana bill

TRENTON – New Jersey moved closer to allowing chronically ill patients to smoke marijuana to relieve symptoms of pain and nausea by advancing a medical marijuana bill Monday. (Associated Press)

Corzine makes staff moves

Governor Jon Corzine today announced a series of staff changes triggered by the appointment of Lisa Jackson as the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Edward McBride was named Chief of Staff and William Castner will replace McBride as Chief Counsel. (

N.J. Legislature approves mortgage foreclosure aid

Legislation to help struggling homeowners refinance their houses or continue to live there as tenants while they regroup financially has been approved in New Jersey. (Associated Press)

N.J. lawmakers limit college aid program

Fewer New Jersey students will qualify for merit-based college scholarships under limits designed to preserve the program and save the state money. (Associated Press)

Plan to delay pension payments fails to win Senate support

Senate Majority Leader Richard Codey (D-Essex) today postponed a vote on a Corzine proposal to allow local and county governments and school boards defer pension payments over the next three years when he could not muster the 21 votes needed for passage on the Senate floor.( Phillip Read, Tom Hester, The Star-Ledger)

Charity Run by Senator Lautenberg Is Among Madoff Investors

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) — U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg's foundation was among the charitable groups that invested with Bernard Madoff, who was arrested last week after telling his sons he committed a $50 billion fraud. (David Voreacos, Bloomberg News)

Alleged Madoff fraud has worldwide exposure

In a Connecticut town, local officials scrambled to get a handle on damage to pension funds held for its police officers and firefighters. A Massachusetts charity announced it was shutting down. In New York, a distinguished economist feared he had lost his $2.2 million nest egg. (Associated Press)

Obama picks Jackson as EPA Administrator

President-elect Barack Obama this afternoon formally introduced his environmental team, which includes New Jerseyan Lisa Jackson as director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (

Assembly bill would tighten oversight on publicly funded projects

The state would keep a closer eye on major development projects that receive public funds, under a bill passed by the Assembly today. (Maura McDermott, Star-Ledger)

Former N.J. assemblyman from Paterson gets prison sentence

A former New Jersey Assemblyman who is also a Baptist minister has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. (Star-Ledger staff)

Crowley won't run for governor in 2009

Biotech Republican millionaire John Crowley of Princeton will not run for governor in 2009, according to his spokesman, Bill Spadea. (

Young N.J. drummers are chosen for Obama's inaugural parade

When the Presidential Inaugural Committee put out the call to the nations' marching bands for the Jan. 20 ceremony, Bill Powers of the Bonnie Brae Residential School for troubled boys in Somerset County took a chance. (Christina Johnson, Star-Ledger) Morning News Digest: Tuesday, December 16 2008