Morning News Digest: February 11, 2011

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Latino stronghold microcosm of one redistricting battlefront

A few blocks up from the docks in this maritime city, Mayor Wilda Diaz told a crowd at the Dr. Herbert N. Richardson School that Perth Amboy surpassed the magic number of 50,000 in the 2010 census, making it vitally eligible for more federal dollars and reflecting a statewide trend of a rising Latino population.   (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



S & P drops New Jersey’s credit rating

Standard and Poors credit rating agency cut the state’s credit rating from AA to AA- today, citing the state’s health care and pension obligations for its action.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Privately, public employees see cuts as inevitable

The meeting of the public-workers’ union had ended, the rallying cries about hostile lawmakers and ominous contract deadlines had given way to a buffet dinner.  (Halbfinger, The New York Times)



Survey: Don’t cut aid to schools

New Jersey voters want state workers and the wealthy to be the ones to help balance the state’s budget, a new poll shows.  (Method, Courier-Post)



Pension investments save money on fees

The New Jersey Division of Investments said today it had negotiated a savings of $40 million in fees with money managers over the next five years.  (Method, Asbury Park Press)



Christie preaches to choir in Union League speech

Gov. Chris Christie crossed the Delaware River on Thursday to share the agenda of “big things” he’s determined to fix in New Jersey with about 500 members of the Union League, a private club with deep Republican roots.  (Stilwell, Asbury Park Press)



Democrats fight Gov. Christie’s plan to privatize N.J. government functions

Democrats are pushing back against Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to privatize some state government functions by calling for a change in the state constitution to put a short leash on agencies that want to hire private firms.  (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)



Longtime Democrats support Gov. Chris Christie’s efforts – even if his Atlantic City overhaul plan will cost them their positions

Two prominent, longtime Democrats applauded Gov. Chris Christie Thursday, despite their political differences with the Republican governor and the chance that his new initiatives will strip them of decision-making power.  (Previti, Press of Atlantic City)



NJ State Sen. Ciesla not seeking reelection

After serving nearly 20 years in the state Senate, Andrew R. Ciesla announced Thursday he will not seek re-election in November, and endorsed Assemblyman James W. Holzapfel to succeed him.  (Michaels, Daily Record)|head



Cyber attacks targeted in bill

Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey said Thursday he will introduce legislation soon that would increase federal spending on cybersecurity research to prevent hackers from attacking the financial industry.  (Chebium, Courier-Post)



Assembly panel approves 5-bill package to encourage design of green energy buildings

A five-bill package designed to encourage the proliferation of environmentally friendly buildings, was approved Thursday by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



Lawmakers approve bill to give Legislature power to block closure of N.J. hospitals for disabled patients

In a rebuke to the Christie administration’s proposal to close the Garrett W. Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital in Glen Gardner, an Assembly committee today voted to give the Legislature the authority to block the demise of any state institution serving disabled patients.  (Livio, The Star-Ledger)



N.J. Assembly panel considers proposed constitutional amendment on rules for privatization

An Assembly panel is discussing a proposed constitutional amendment that would give state and local governments strict guidelines on how to privatize functions.  (Friedman, The Record)



Christie visits Philadelphia to receive Lincoln Award

New Jersey Gov. Christie came to Philadelphia to bask in the shadow of Abraham Lincoln on Thursday, accepting an award named for the former Republican president before evoking modern-day GOP principles in a highly partisan speech.  (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Poll: New Jerseyans don’t mind Christie’s presidential aspirations

The way a majority of New Jerseyans see it, Gov. Chris Christie can leave the state or appear on network TV as much as he wants to bolster his image nationally because it isn’t hindering his role as governor.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



33 more layoff notices from NJ casino commission

The dismantling of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission continued this week with a second round of layoffs.  (The Associated Press)



N.J. State Museum board asks top director to resign

Eric Pryor, executive director of the New Jersey State Museum for the past two years, has been asked to resign.  (McGlone, The Star-Ledger)



Stockton out of running for NJN

Richard Stockton College says it’s no longer interested in taking over operation of New Jersey Network.  (Staff, Courier-Post)



Pinelands plan controls solar facilities

The New Jersey Pinelands Commission is proposing rules to control solar energy use in the million-acre Pinelands.  (Comegno, Courier-Post)



State adopts preliminary rules to govern offshore wind market

How hot is New Jersey’s offshore wind market?

Hot enough to convince a developer to file an application before the state adopted preliminary rules governing the development of offshore wind farms.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



Veto power at college remains a possibility

The political power struggle continues at Bergen Community College, with the County Executive’s Office saying Thursday that it has not given up the fight for more control at the school.  (Alex, The Record)



From the Back Room



Ciesla out in 10th

Republican state Sen. Andy Ciesla announced today he will not seek reelection in the 10th District.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)






Battling for women’s health care funding

I was deeply disturbed this past week to see a video of a now former Planned Parenthood employee offering reprehensible advice to an undercover member of the anti-choice group Live Action.  (Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle for PolitickerNJ)




Last night, New Jersey’s Legislative Reapportionment Committee held a public hearing in Newark, one of just 5 opportunities scheduled for the public to weigh in on what could determine who controls state government for the next 10 years. More than a little interested in the process, I decided to attend.  (Gardner, BlueJersey)



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Morning News Digest: February 11, 2011