Morning News Digest: May 5, 2009

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For Steve Lonegan, the fix for New Jersey's ailing state budget is simple: Slash taxes and the size and duties of state government. For Chris Christie, tax and spending cuts also are involved, but his overall approach is not so drastic. (AP)

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey cuts 253 jobs

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey said Monday it will shed 253 jobs throughout the state due to lagging enrollment and falling revenue. (Siriwardane, Star-Ledger)

County lays off 100 workers

FREEHOLD — About 100 Monmouth County government employees lost their jobs Monday, the result of economy-driven layoffs that county officials said will create payroll savings of several million dollars. (Jordan, APP) New Jersey will cut deals with tax delinquents Cash-strapped New Jersey is offering tax delinquents a way to avoid penalties and some interest if they pay up by mid-June. (Reitmeyer, Star-Ledger)

Promotions overshadow vote for new mayor

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP — The Township Council chose a new mayor tonight but is still grappling with the fallout from police promotions made before the former mayor resigned last week. (Kindergan, Record)

Suspended municipal court administrator cleared

A state judge has cleared Ridgefield Park’s suspended municipal court administrator of a resisting-arrest conviction in connection with a 2006 auto accident involving her relatives. (Petrick, Record)

State weighs immunity for teen drinkers who call for help

TRENTON — Daniel Meth was at a house party in northern New Jersey when his close friend, who was drunk, yelled something and stumbled into his bedroom. Meth realized he should go to sleep, so he gave him a bottle of water, helped him lie down and took off his shoes. (Segall, Record)

N.J. lifts long-standing ban on Sunday bow hunting

TRENTON — Gov. Jon S. Corzine has signed a bill to allow deer hunting on Sundays with a bow and arrow. The measure signed Monday changes a New Jersey law that once banned all hunting on Sunday. It was originally enacted in 1903, but has been revised over the years to allow for some. (AP)

Reading Task Force approved by Senate committee

TRENTON – A bill inspired by an Ocean City girl's struggles to learn to read was approved by the Senate Education Commitee Monday. (D’Amico)

Group pursues driver's license reform

A state lawmaker, three local attorneys and a national auto insurance organization have concerns with how New Jersey allows its drivers to mask their residential addresses on licenses. (Rosen, Courier-Post)

Hunterdon reported fewest crimes in NJ in 2008 with drop in violent crime statewide

CENTRAL JERSEY — Hunterdon County reported the fewest crimes of any county in New Jersey for the first half of 2008, but local authorities — although pleased with the numbers — emphasized that an ongoing caseload and unsolved crimes are keeping them busy. (Lausch, Courier News)

Roberts: all options on the table for budget

Senate President Richard J. Codey (D., Essex) and Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr. (D., Camden) met with Gov. Corzine this afternoon to talk about the latest grim budget news: a new shortfall that could be as large as $2 billion. (Inquirer)

Shared police moves ahead

SWEDESBORO A little more than a week after holding a joint public forum addressing a potential shared service agreement with Woolwich Township to have the borough outsource its police coverage, an ordinance disbanding the town's police department was introduced before council here Monday night. (Gloucester County Times)

Goldstein: 'Joe the Plumber' backlash would help pass marriage equality

Garden State Equality Chair Steven Goldstein said today that he welcomes "Joe the Plumber's" visit to New Jersey to campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan tomorrow, especially in light of controversial comments about gay people he made in an interview that was published today. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

Codey bill curbing prosectors' political ambitions heads to judiciary committee

Senate Judiciary Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) said he intends to post Senate President Richard Codey’s (D-Roseland) bill that would bar the state attorney general, first assistant attorney general and county prosecutors from running for elected office for two years after leaving their respective positions. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Morning News Digest: May 5, 2009