Morning News Digest: January 21, 2011

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Stung by budget committee vote, Buono crowd drills Christie’s education agenda

Fighting words punctuated state Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono’s (D-Metuchen) high school auditorium town meeting tonight in anticipation of Gov. Chris Christie’s budget address and expansion of his education initiative that Buono believes stands to further batter public schools.   (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Vouchers escape split committee after Hendricks appearance

State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) waited for acting Education Commissioner Rochelle Hendricks to show up before conducting the vote on school vouchers while a plethora of public testimony filled the hours until she arrived.  (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)



Judge: Pension changes for new workers will remain

A Superior Court judge has rejected an attempt by the public employee unions to overturn pension changes for new government employees enacted early last year.  (Method, Asbury Park Press)–Pension-changes-for-new-workers-will-remain



GOP catching up with Democrats in fund raising

For years, Democrats have ruled the fund-raising roost in New Jersey. Now, with Republican Governor Christie helping out his party, that’s beginning to change.

Figures released Thursday by the Election Law Enforcement Commission show state Republicans trailing Democrats slightly in money raised by their “big six” fund-raising committees. But the trend appears to be on the GOP’s side, with all 120 seats in the Legislature up next year.  (Friedman, The Record)



N.J. GOP has almost $1 million, Democrats a third that for campaigns

With Gov. Christie at the helm, the New Jersey Republican Party is loaded with optimism and, according to campaign-finance reports released Thursday, flush with cash.

The GOP has nearly $1 million on hand for the 2011 elections, in which the entire 120-member state Legislature is up for grabs. The Democrats have about a third that amount, according to reports filed with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission.  (Burton, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Groups give Christie poor grades

Environmental groups are starting to release their “grades” reflecting how they view Governor Christie’s performance on environmental issues during his first year in office — and the grades are not flattering.  (O’Neill, The Record)



Runyan receives assignments; ad criticizes him

Freshman Rep. Jon Runyan received key subcommittee assignments Thursday as a TV ad attacking his vote to repeal health care reform went on the air.

It’s a sign both parties agree on Runyan’s vulnerability in 2012.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



Steep cuts in state aid may force townships to start collecting local tax

Many municipal governments will struggle with their budgets this year, but only a few will have the unfortunate historic distinction of introducing their first local tax in decades.  (Procida, Press of Atlantic City)



Gov. Christie’s mobile office comes to Jefferson, NJ

Residents had an opportunity Thursday to get answers and additional information on various issues at Gov. Chris Christie’s first mobile Office of Constituent Relations, which was set up at the Jefferson Senior Center on Schoolhouse Road.  (Hassan, Daily Record)



N.J. Senate committee approves removing $1.25B in toll hikes intended for ARC tunnel project

Democrats on Thursday told the Christie administration that because the governor has canceled the Hudson River rail tunnel, he should not get to keep toll revenue intended to pay for it.  (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)



Bill gives mayors veto power over governing bodies

The actions of municipal authorities would be reviewed by local governing bodies before they can be considered official, if a measure proposed by state Sen. Jeff Van Drew becomes law.  (New Jersey Press Media)



N.J. lawmaker’s bill bans abortion funding

The longest-serving member of New Jersey’s congressional delegation is pl
aying a leading role in the House GOP’s push to block federally funded abortions.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio teamed up Thursday to tout Smith’s new bill, which seeks to permanently ban federal subsidies for abortions.  (Chebium, Courier-Post)



Medical marijuana hearing turns personal

While considering Thursday if Gov. Chris Christie has bogged down a new medical marijuana program with overly tough rules, the chairwoman of a Senate committee referred to a deeply personal experience when expressing frustration over delays.  (Jordan, Courier-Post)



N.J. lawmakers advance bill to widen syringe sales

State lawmakers have advanced a bill to allow pharmacies in New Jersey to sell hypodermic syringes and needles without a prescription. The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee approved the measure Thursday by a 6-2 vote.  (The Associated Press)



Assembly panel OKs ski helmet use bill

Anyone under the age of 18 would be required to wear a helmet while skiing or snowboarding under a proposal that won Assembly committee approval Thursday.  (New Jersey Press Media)



N.J. Assembly panel approves stricter rules on steroid use

An Assembly committee unanimously advanced legislation yesterday calling for tighter monitoring of human growth hormone amid growing evidence the drug is widely abused, particularly in the ranks of law enforcement.  (Brittain, The Star-Ledger)



AC mayor seeks meeting on tourism district

Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford says he wants to meet with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over plans for a state-run tourism district in the resort city.  (The Associated Press)



Trenton gets funding, cancels firefighter layoffs

Dozens of firefighters in New Jersey’s capital city will keep their jobs, thanks to a multimillion-dollar federal grant.  (The Associated Press)



From the Back Room



Runyan to chair subcommittee on veterans’ disability assistance

Freshman U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (NJ-03) announced today that his colleagues named him Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs for the 112th Congress.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



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 21, 2011