Morning News Digest: January 14, 2011

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Christie keeps Sweeney and McCormac happy as power plant bill awaits his signature

However you want to apply the term, in energy or politics: it’s called a power grid.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Reform Jersey Now, and the ongoing battle of Bayonne Medical Center

Bayonne Medical Center is a rogue hospital eschewing its patients for a buck, according to Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield.

The only way to provide service at all, the hospital retorts, is to refuse Horizon’s measly reimbursement.  (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)



Atlantic City bill diverts money out of the city

An amendment introduced during the final hours of deliberation over the bill to create Atlantic City’s new tourism district would divert 100 percent of the proceeds of a potential sale of the airport there to eight south Jersey counties rather than back to the city as the bill originally intended.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Gov. Chris Christie praises Obama speech, defends Palin on ‘GMA’

Days after giving his State of the State address, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has continued making the rounds doing media interviews to promote his ideas.  (The Associated Press)–defends-Palin-on–GMA-



Christie proposes health care cost increase for public workers

Gov. Chris Christie proposed significantly higher health insurance premiums for hundreds of thousands of public workers in New Jersey on Thursday, saying overly generous benefits are threatening to bankrupt the system.  (Delli Santi for The Associated Press)



N.J. mayors plan to seek more shared services

A large number of New Jersey mayors say they plan to seek sharing services with other towns or their school districts or county governments in an attempt to meet the new state law that requires them to keep annual property tax hikes at no more than 2 percent.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



Gov. Christie pushes five-year performance review for teachers

Gov. Chris Christie, who wants to scrap teacher tenure, today said he would like a system that reviews teacher performance every five years. 

Christie suggested placing teachers on five-year contracts. When a contract expires, the teacher’s performance would be reviewed and decision would be made whether to renew for another five years, he said today at a town hall meeting in Paramus. (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



N.J. court asks whether cuts harmed schools

The New Jersey Supreme Court said it needs more evidence of how reductions in the state’s budget have affected public schools before deciding on a legal challenge to the cuts, according to an order released Thursday.  (Fleisher, The Wall Street Jounal)



N.J. must prove sufficient school funding

New Jersey must show that its current level of school funding is sufficient to provide the “thorough and efficient” education required by the state constitution, according to a Superior Court ruling released Thursday.  (Giordano, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Judge Doyne tapped to determine education funding effects

The state Supreme Court has appointed a judge to examine whether $1 billion in school-aid cuts have hurt education to the point of violating the constitutional mandate for local schools.  (Method, Home News Tribune)



Christie vows to close failing schools, open new charters

Governor Christie pledged Thursday to close failing schools, open new charter schools and consider concentrating the state’s resources for students with autism in schools whose programs already stand out.  (Akin, The Record)



Supreme Court remands Abbott v. Burke to lower court for fact finding

In the Assembly chamber of the Statehouse on Tuesday, justices of New Jersey’s Supreme Court listened as Gov. Chris Christie in his State of the State address made a not-so-subtle jab at the Abbott v. Burke school funding case.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Christie: Arizona shootings will not change how I
meet with public

The shooting rampage in Arizona that left six dead, more than a dozen wounded and a congresswoman clinging to life will not affect Gov. Chris Christie’s aggressive schedule of public meet-and-greets, the governor told the audience at his town hall meeting Thursday.  (Jordan, Daily Record)–Arizona-shootings-will-not-change-how-I-meet-with-public



Gov. Christie wants every N.J. county to develop a school for children with autism

Gov. Chris Christie said he is exploring a plan to develop a school in each county that specializes in educating children with autism.

Responding to a question during a town hall meeting Thursday in Paramus, the governor said the idea has merit because it would offer a cost-effective alternative to cash-strapped communities trying to create their own special education curriculum for these students.  (Staff, The Star-Ledger)



Poll: Christie, Booker race for governor too close to call

If Newark Mayor Cory Booker set his sights on the State House in 2013, a race between Booker and Governor Christie would be too close to call, a poll released Thursday finds.  (DeMarco, The Record)



Christie criticized over bankruptcy remark after New Jersey cuts bond sale

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s comments that rising health-care costs might “bankrupt” the state, made on the same day of a planned bond sale, drew criticism for their poor timing and may have driven borrowing costs higher.  (McGrail, Bloomberg)



Superintendents file suit to block pay cap

The group representing New Jersey schools superintendents has filed suit seeking to block the Christie administration’s attempt to limit district leaders’ pay, saying the move is “illegal and unconstitutional.”  (Alex, The Record)



Christie to name Muslim to court

Gov. Christie, the former federal prosecutor who oversaw several terrorism-related cases after the Sept. 11 attacks, said Thursday that one of his nominations for a Superior Court judgeship will be a lawyer who represented many detainees swept up by the government in the post-9/11 dragnet.  (Parry for The Associated Press)



N.J. health department release revised rules on regulating medical marijuana

The state health department released a set of revised rules today governing New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, despite the Legislature’s intent to repeal them.  (Livio, The Star-Ledger)



New Jersey agency’s borrowing costs as state scales back sale: Muni credit

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority scaled back the week’s largest bond offering as tax- exempt municipal yields climbed and Governor Chris Christie made comments about the state’s financial well-being.  (McGrail, Bloomberg)



Sports authority board meets with new chairman

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority board met Thursday with a new chairman, a president working without a contract and five board seats not yet filled by Governor Christie.  (Brennan, The Record)



Illinois raises taxes – N.J. hopes to lure its business

Watch out, Illinois: New Jersey wants your businesses.

It is a time-honored tradition for mayors and governors of neighboring cities and states to compete for large corporations with tax breaks and other incentives.  (Pérez-Peña, The New York Times)



From the Back Room



Lance named to Energy and Commerce Committee

U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7th) has been named to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)






Chris Christie’s year to deliver

In 2010, New Jersey’s Chris Christie proved that a governor can take on teachers unions and not only survive politically, but attract an enthusiastic following. In 2011, Mr. Christie has a chance to prove that his inspiring YouTube speeches are translating into significant reform.  (Freeman, The Wall Street Journal)



On the other hand, maybe he’s better off not telling the truth

As I have noted, our governor has already broken his campaign promise not to borrow without voter approval. And he intends to break it again.

He lied, in other words.  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)



In 2000, (now entered the political stage, changing how New Jersey’s power elite received its daily political fix. Starting in January 2011, we’re shaking up Trenton once again. Stay tuned for State Street Wire.


Morning News Digest: January 14, 2011