Morning News Digest: May 8, 2009

N.J. Supreme Court invalidates restrictions on where sex offenders can live

Towns cannot restrict where released sex offenders can live within their borders because Megan's Law already makes that call, the state Supreme Court ruled today. (Fuchs and Giambusso, Star-Ledger)

'Quit centers' feel the crush as smokers look to pack it in

Lucy Yongue has been smoking for 52 years, and knows for a fact she can't quit on her own. "I have come off crack cocaine, alcohol, diet pills, and lost 44 pounds on Weight Watchers, and I still can't cut out the cigarettes," said the 70-year-old home health aide from New Brunswick. (Rothman, Star-Ledger)

Passaic County recounts confirm school votes

Haledon’s proposed school tax for next year stayed defeated. Pompton Lakes’ stayed approved. And a Paterson school board candidate maintained his winning edge. (Cowen, Record)

Law allows private contractors to oversee pollution cleanups

Private contractors will soon oversee the cleanup of the vast majority of New Jersey’s contaminated sites, a sea change in the way the state has dealt with its long history of industrial and residential pollution. (Fallon, Record)

GOP candidate says Christie ally offered him a position if he didn't run

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Merkt said yesterday that a political ally of Chris Christie, the party’s frontrunner in next month’s primary, offered him a "major position" if he stayed out of the race. (Megerian, Record)

N.J. Senate advances bill to double open-space borrowing

TRENTON – The Senate Environment Committee released a bill yesterday that would let voters decide whether the state should borrow $600 million to preserve open space, farmland, and historic sites. (Lu, Inquirer)

Towns' sex-offender-free zones nixed

The state Supreme Court Thursday struck down sex offender residency restrictions enacted by two South Jersey communities, a ruling that invalidates similar buffer zones in more than three dozen Shore area municipalities. (Sahn, APP)

Municipal sex-offender laws invalid, state Supreme Court says

TRENTON — New Jersey towns cannot make their own laws dictating where convicted sex offenders can live, according to a decision issued Thursday by the state Supreme Court. Thursday’s ruling supports superior and appellate court decisions that overturned Galloway Township and Cherry Hill ordinances, saying they conflict with existing state law. (Previti, Press of Atlantic City)

Kiddie Kollege appeal to come from state

The state plans to appeal last week's ruling by a judge in Gloucester County who ordered that the real estate company that turned a defunct thermometer manufacturing plant into a day care is not responsible for cleaning the site. (McCarthy, Gloucester County Times)

Perth Amboy to get $1.7 million to acquire and fix homes

PERTH AMBOY — The city is expected to receive $1.7 million to acquire and rehabilitate foreclosed homes in the city's Budapest section that will later be sold to low- and moderate-income families at reduced rates. (Russell, Courier News)

Camden widens area targeted for cleanup

City officials are hoping tidier streets will mean a safer and more vibrant community. (Mast, Courier-Post)

$600 million open-space ballot question advances

A Senate committee Thursday advanced a plan to ask voters whether to borrow $600 million to fund open space and farmland preservation, though the price tag caused fissures in the normally solid support for such measures. (Symons, Gannett)

Lesniak, Cryan and Scudiery form legal defense fund for Union Democratic chair

Some prominent Democrats have set up a trust to pay the legal expenses of Union County Democratic Chairwoman Charlotte DeFilippo, who is under investigation by the State Attorney General's Office. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

Diaz backs Mason for mayor

HOBOKEN – Not many elected officials have announced their support for a given mayoral candidate in this intensified contest with no obvious favorite, but this week Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz threw her name behind 2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Morning News Digest: May 8, 2009