Morning News Digest: January 31, 2011

Follow PolitickerNJ on Twitter and Facebook. Text “PNJ” to 89800 to receive alerts     Winners and Losers: Chamber/PVSC edition The train is

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Winners and Losers: Chamber/PVSC edition

The train is pulling into the state capital now, bearing hungover cargo as it returns from the annual Chamber of Commerce junket.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)



Norcross bill could outset election superintendents

Eleven of New Jersey’s 21 counties employ a superintendent of elections, but some of them could be out of a job if a Senate bill moves forward.  (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)



Census numbers may lead to New Jersey moving voting districts from north to south

As officials prepare to start using new population counts to create new state election districts, the possibility exists that they could move a whole legislative district from the northern end of the state to the southern region.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Consolidation measure would shift election official’s duties

Nearly half of New Jersey’s counties could gain the option of saving money by consolidating elections offices under legislation proposed by a state senator from Camden County.  (Jordan, New Jersey Press Media)



More N.J. towns’ budget data to go online soon

Expanded budget information for more New Jersey towns will soon be posted online.

Gov. Chris Christie recently signed legislation that requires the Department of Community Affairs to post immediately the current budget — and the last three adopted budgets — of any municipality or county that does not have its own website.  (Shipkowski for The Associated Press)



Gov. vetoes bill, West Milford officials exhale

Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed legislation that would overhaul the state’s affordable housing system last week to the satisfaction of local officials.  (Zimmer, The Record)



New Jersey county association trims pay, perks

In response to criticism about the pay and perks given to its former executive director, the New Jersey Association of Counties is making some changes.  (Gregory, Newsworks)



Are police, fire unions next on Gov. Christie’s hit list?

In his first year, Gov. Chris Christie put the squeeze on police departments across the state but had his most prolonged and public battle with the state teachers union.  (Mast, Asbury Park Press)|head



Teacher contract negotiations: Lean times and hard bargains

As New Jersey’s school leaders begin drafting budgets for next year, lean economic times are continuing to play out at in the one place that matters most: the contract bargaining table.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Sen. Menendez says his recent low-approval ratings are misleading

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez believes his recent low-approval ratings are the result of representing a “tough state” in a media market that is New York-centric in the north and Philadelphia-centric in the south.  (McDonald, The Jersey Journal)



Christie administration quietly signs controversial ratepayer-subsidy bill

Bury the controversial news late on a Friday.

That is the conventional wisdom, and it apparently held true this past weekend when the Christie administration quietly signed a bill that would give power plant developers a lucrative ratepayer subsidy to build up to 2,000 new megawatts of generating capacity in New Jersey.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



N.J. Senate committee to consider bill that would require schools to conduct classes about dating violence

Schools in New Jersey might have to conduct classes about dating violence.

The Senate Education Committee today will consider a bill that would create a task force to develop a policy to address dating violence.  (The Associated Press)



Solar-energy plants could rise in Pinelands

A bipartisan bill now before Gov. Chris Christie could give new meaning to the phrase “cash from trash.”

The measure would clear the way for solar- and wind-energy complexes to be built atop closed landfills, particularly in the environmentally sensitive Pinelands region.  (Walsh, Courier-Post)



Group that gave New Jersey a D+ for handling teachers praises reform efforts

A year after giving New Jersey a D+ for how it manages the teaching profession, the National Council on Teacher Quality says the state is one of the most aggressive in proposing reforms to the education and evaluation of teachers.  (D’Amico, Press of Atlantic City)



From the Back Room



Hurley: Christie will sign AC bill this week

Harry Hurley of WIBG’s Hurley in the Morning is reporting that Gov. Chris Christie will sign the Atlantic City tourism district legislation on Tuesday.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)






After sewerage commission flush, Christie needs a plumber

As a U.S. attorney, Chris Christie made his reputation as a corruption-busting prosecutor. Now governor, he can add muckraking to his résumé. And he couldn’t find a public agency more mired in muck than the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners.  (Doblin, The Record)



Sometimes hard to tell which way we’re going

Ever feel like you slid down the rabbit hole and found yourself in a topsy-turvy, confusing, upside-down, Bizarro World? Consider this: Gov. Christie imposed caps on various things to try to hold down costs, to force bureaucrats and administrators to live within a budget, make sacrifices and generally live within a budget.  (Ingle, Daily Record)



Create new charter schools by removing roadblocks

Creation of a charter school in New Jersey is no easy task, evident from the stories told over the years by founders of the 73 charter schools now open in the state, as well as other organizers whose proposed schools that never got off the ground.  (Scarborough, NJBIZ)



In case you missed it



N.J. redistricting commission argues over whether it is at an impasse

In the contentious process to redraw the state’s 40 legislative districts, Democrats and Republicans are already arguing over whether to include an 11th tie-breaking member in the early parts of the meetings  (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)



NJ redistricting commission hears from public

Civil-rights activists, voting advocates and a South Jersey farmer told a bipartisan panel Saturday to resist political trickery when they redraw New Jersey’s legislative districts to reflect new Census figures.  (Young, The Record)



Residents urge more rural S.J. representation

Residents of a legislative district represented by Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney on Saturday urged New Jersey’s Reapportionment Commission to shift their boundaries farther south into rural South Jersey.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



Christie: People want politicians to make hard choices

Chris Christie is already joking about the blizzard that a month ago looked like it might be Kryptonite to the GOP’s new Superman.  (Roarty, National Journal)



Political contributions from workers at Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission exceed $100K

State Sen. John Girgenti (D-Passaic) does not work for the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners.

Instead, it appears to work for him.  (Sherman, The Star-Ledger)



GOP seeks new N.J. spend plan

If the Republicans in the state Senate had their way, New Jersey would cut funding for full-day preschool in poor districts to pump up funding to suburban and rural schools.  (Fleisher, The Wall Street Journal)



Gov. Christie signs bill giving utility companies incentive to build power stations in N.J.

Gov. Chris Christie today signed a controversial bill supporters say will lower energy rates but critics say locks ratepayers into 15 years of subsidies for some power suppliers.  (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)



Christie to visit Atlantic City on Tuesday to make announcement on legislation to boost casinos, resort tourism

Gov. Chris Christie will come to Atlantic City on Tuesday to address landmark legislation that aims to remake the resort’s tourism and casino industries, an administration source confirmed Saturday.  (Staff, Press of Atlantic City)



Bills aim to refund toll rise

Keep the cash or return it to the drivers who paid it?

Experts disagree over the feasibility of returning the $1.25 billion in New Jersey Turnpike Authority revenues that were to be used for the now canceled Hudson River rail tunnel to toll payers who use the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. The idea is proposed in two bills sponsored by top Democratic legisl
ators.  (Higgs, Asbury Park Press)|head



Officials trade tax-cap ideas

Municipal and school officials gathered Saturday to discuss ways to stay within a newly imposed 2 percent cap on local tax hikes.  (Sudol, The Record)



New Jersey school districts reluctant to use federal grant money

Trenton and other cash-strapped school districts are sitting on millions of dollars of federal money, but they have been reluctant to spend it ahead of possible announcements of more state aid cuts by Gov. Chris Christie.  (Rinde, The Times of Trenton)



N.J. finance board approves 23 percent tax hike in Camden, allowing city to rehire some police

A handful of Camden police officers who lost their jobs to budget cuts this month may get their jobs back — but not without costing city taxpayers.  (DeMarco, The Star-Ledger)



Determined to stick to tax cut promise

Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan promised during her campaign to keep county property taxes level in her first year and try to cut them in her second year.  (Gartland, The Record)



New Jersey pension official steps down

Orin Kramer, a hedge-fund partner, resigned from the New Jersey Investment Council this week, ending an eight-year run in which he led one of the biggest pension funds into alternative investments.  (Dugan, The Wall Street Journal)



Critics see ‘clear bias’ in task force report for closing Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital

Closing the Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital in Glen Gardner was all but a foregone conclusion for Gov. Chris Christie’s administration last spring.  (Livio, The Star-Ledger)



Shore leaders cheer return of a tourism marketing campaign

Jersey Shore businesses and municipal leaders are heralding the state’s plan to restore a national spring-summer tourism marketing campaign they say is critical to a successful season.  (Urgo, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



No police layoffs and city will save $4 million after officers vote to accept compromises

The president of the Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association yesterday hailed as “historic” the recent agreement between the POBA and the city that will avert 82 scheduled layoffs.  (McDonald, The Jersey Journal)



Newark’s second season

Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker is riding a roller coaster in his second term, perhaps perfect fodder for the filmmakers of “Brick City,” the acclaimed docuseries about New Jersey’s largest city.  (Staff, The Wall Street Journal)



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 31, 2011