Morning News Digest: January 25, 2011

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Christie expects Abbott decision by March

In Camden County Monday afternoon, Gov. Chris Christie connected the dots between underfunded rural and suburban school districts – as in close-by Swedesboro – and the fight for his state Supreme Court nominee, Anne Patterson.  Carroll, PolitickerNJ)



Christie vetoes COAH bill

Gov. Christie on Monday afternoon conditionally vetoed affordable housing legislation, saying it fails to reform how such housing is provided.  (Mooney, PolitickerNJ)



Senate dollars: Sweeney has $944,430 COH; Kean $275K

In an election year, state Senate President Steve Sweeney has $944,430 cash on hand and Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr has $274,994, according to their quarterly Election Law Enforcement Commission reports.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Gov. Christie pushes pension reform in Camden County town-hall meeting

Gov. Chris Christie brought his fight over public-worker benefits to the southern part of the state Monday, allowing room for anger among disappointed retirees and current employees who face changes to their benefits, but warning, “Be careful who you direct your anger at.”  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Message of reform well received

Gov. Chris Christie brought his reform message to this tiny blue collar, majority African-American borough on Monday upon a dare from Mayor Michael Blunt. It was a gamble worth making … the Republican governor appeared to win converts.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



Gov. Christie to launch campaign encouraging Illinois businesses to relocate to N.J.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration thinks there’s business to be had — from Illinois.

The governor is launching an ad campaign encouraging businesses in Illinois to relocate to the Garden State.  (The Associated Press)



NJ Gov. Chris Christie speaks at pro-life rally: I am ‘with you’

After watching Gov. Chris Christie try to burnish a reputation as a fiscal conservative, political analysts said the New Jersey governor on Monday significantly broadened his national credentials as a social conservative by joining abortion protesters at a rally and encouraging them to “stand up and speak strongly in favor for the protection of every human life.”  (Jordan, Daily Record)–Christie-fires-up-base-at-anti-abortion-rally



Christie says Camden layoffs illustrate benefits woes

Gov. Christie pointed Monday to last week’s layoffs of hundreds of city workers in Camden as an illustration of the need for widespread pension and benefits reform for public employees.  (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Christie wants new formula for school aid

Governor Christie began pulling back the curtain on next month’s budget proposal Monday, saying he will push for changes in the state’s school funding formula.  (Gibson and Megerian, The Record)



N.J. advocates, parents and school officials offer ways to improve charter school law

A week after Gov. Chris Christie rolled out plans to dramatically increase the number of charter schools in New Jersey, the Assembly Education Committee today heard calls for changing the state’s charter school law — including the possibility of a public vote in districts where a charter school is proposed.  (Rundquist, The Star-Ledger)



Some want greater local say in N.J. charter school approval process

Some education advocates argued Monday that voters deserve a say in whether charter schools open in their communities.  (Brody, The Record)



NJ parents paying their way through public school

The parents in Bernards Township were celebrating the return of kindergarten Monday right.  Under a severe budget crunch after the state made drastic cuts in aid, the school board voted to cut kindergarten to half a day.  The parents in this well to do community were so out raged they got together to raise the money for the full day themselves.  (Siegal, NBC New York)



Assembly panel approves change
in unemployment eligibility

An Assembly panel approved a bill this morning that narrows the definition of conduct that can cost fired employees their unemployment insurance benefits.  (Friedman, The Record)



N.J. bill revising appointment of municipal judges advances

New Jersey voters may get a say in the November election about the way judges are appointed on municipal courts shared by more than one municipality.  (DeMarco, The Record)



Towns using Dover, NJ court don’t want Gov. Christie to select their judge

The five towns that use the nearly two-year-old Joint Municipal Court of Dover are looking to dissolve the joint court and switch to a more complicated shared court system to avoid having the governor appoint someone to fill a vacant judgeship on the court.  (Remaly, Daily Record)



N.J. bill creates education program on criminal, social consequences of sexting

Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt has heard the story too many times.

Kids send nude pictures of themselves or others through their cell phones or social networking sites — a practice known as “sexting” — only to discover that if they get caught, they could be charged with crimes including child pornography.  (Megerian and DeMarco, The Star-Ledger)



Top aide defends N.J. snow cleanup

Transportation Commissioner James Simpson on Monday defended the state’s handling of the post-Christmas blizzard and said the state had blown through its 2010-11 storm cleanup budget.  (The Associated Press)



NJ officials defend decision to keep roads open during blizzard

State officials defended their decision not to close any roads when they declared a state of emergency in the late-December blizzard but will discuss whether to take a different approach if a similar storm slams New Jersey in the future.  (Symons, Asbury Park Press)



Rep. Garrett presses House leader to keep promise to cut $100B from federal budget

Rep. Scott Garrett worked publicly Monday to pressure House Speaker John Boehner to keep a Republican promise made during last year’s campaign to cut $100 billion from this year’s budget.  (Jackson, The Record)



Counselors, family advocacy group urge N.J. officials to postpone ending home-based therapy

Mental health counselors and a member of a family advocacy group urged state officials today to postpone plans to remove up to 9,000 children from a Medicaid home-based therapy program.  (Livio, The Star-Ledger)



College working to keep Donovan ‘in the loop’

Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan may get more say over the operations of the community college under a plan being worked out between her representatives and school leaders.  (Alex, The Record)



$1.5 million Atlantic City entertainment fund remains frozen while details of Tourism District are established

At a time when most of the area’s recession-weary government seems to be pinching pennies, two public agencies in Atlantic City have money just waiting to be spent on special events and entertainment.  (Wittkowski, Press of Atlantic City)



Tone of Obama’s State of the Union speech matters as much as much as content, experts say

The tone that President Barack Obama strikes during his State of the Union speech Tuesday will be just as important as what he says, New Jersey political experts say.  (Chebium, Asbury Park Press)



From the Back Room



Geneske gets two years probation and fine

Raymond Geneske, a longtime political advisor to former Perth Amboy Mayor Joe Vas, was sentenced to two years of probation and fined $10,000 for his role in a straw donor scheme to funnel donations to Vas’s primary campaign for the 13th District Congressional seat.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Guadagno swears in Gravino

Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno today swore in Ron Gravino as a state Turnpike Authority commissioner at a small Statehouse ceremony.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)






Has Christie touched the third rail?

Today, Governor Chris Christie inserted himself into the national political debate.  It wasn’t on repeal of President Obama’s health care plan or immigration reform.  It was on the issue of abortion.  (Murray, PolitickerNJ)



Christie now has pro-life bona fides

The hero’s welcome Governor Christie received from antiabortion protesters standing in the frigid shadows of the State House on Monday also meant that his pro-life conversion was complete.  (Stile, The Record)



On school choice, Christie should go back to the future

Our governor has declared this “School Choice Week.”

Here’s my choice: Let’s have the state stop building schools.

I think I speak for every taxpayer in New Jersey when I say that — not to mention every investor on Wall Street.  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)



Focus on ‘super users’ saves lives and dollars in New Jersey

Family doctor Jeffrey Brenner is pioneering a new way to deliver health care in Camden that we are likely to see much more of in the years ahead. He focuses on a small group of “super users” who make frequent hospital visits and absorb an outsized share of medical spending. By providing more care for this group, he is driving down costs by nearly half and creating better outcomes.  (Moran, 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 25, 2011