Morning News Digest: February 18, 2011

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The state Senate passes resolution on justice’s resignation

The state Senate passed a resolution by a vote of 21-3 that calls for the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto if the Assembly does not proceed with an impeachment hearing.  (Hassan, PolitickerNJ)



Doherty hosts Tea Party allies at the Statehouse

Amid persistent rumors that he’s running for U.S. Senate in 2012 as the anti-establishment Republican alternative, state Sen. Michael Doherty (R-Washington Twp.) gripped a podium at the head of a committee room packed with Tea Party activists and welcomed them to the Statehouse.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Gov. Christie pushes tax waiver for N.J. businesses in financial hardship

A new rule being pushed by Gov. Chris Christie would allow the director of the Division of Taxation to waive or “relax” taxes and fees if businesses can prove paying them would be a financial hardship.  (Renshaw, The Star-Ledger)



N.J. health care benefits plan under scrutiny

Of New Jersey’s 15-member federal delegation, four representatives are enrolled in the state’s plush health benefits plan.  (Roh, Asbury Park Press)



New Jersey towns in limbo on affordable housing rules

Another delay in efforts to roll back state affordable housing requirements has left towns uncertain how to proceed on the difficult issue and fair-housing advocates opposed to making changes.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



N.J. advocates push commission to draw more competitive districts

Judging by election results, New Jersey is about as politically segregated as a state can be.  (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)



Senate bill would ease method for municipalities to combine

In the wake of a failed bid to combine Cherry Hill and Merchantville, the state Senate has approved a measure that would make it easier to consider such mergers.  (Walsh, Courier-Post)



N.J. Senate OKs bill to cap salaries for authorities, boards and commissions

Bipartisan legislation to limit salaries and benefits at New Jersey’s authorities, boards and commissions passed unanimously in the state Senate on Thursday.  (Reitmeyer, The Record)



Senate passes bill ending New Jersey’s tax on buses from out of state

The state Senate voted Thursday to approve a plan to spare out-of-state bus companies from being charged corporate business taxes simply for driving into and out of New Jersey.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



N.J. Senate votes to allow pharmacies to provide illegal drug users syringes without a prescription

New Jersey pharmacies would be allowed to sell hypodermic syringes and needles without a prescription under legislation approved 28 to 12 by the state Senate Thursday.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



Senate votes to trim hike in tolls, citing tunnel veto

By the barest of veto-proof majorities, the state Senate voted Thursday to trim a 2012 toll hike approved for the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway by the amount once intended for a Hudson River train tunnel.  (Symons, New Jersey Press Media)



Bill paves way for more OTW centers

Off-track wagering for horse racing was authorized in the state by a 2001 law, with up to 15 facilities ap­proved. So far, the only OTWs built are in Toms River, Woodbridge, and Vineland — but more may be on the way, thanks to legislation de­signed to create more start-ups.  (Jordan, Asbury Park Press)



N.J. Assembly passes bill to end more regulations of basic cable, land line telephone services

Most of the state’s regulation of basic cable and land line telephone service would come to an end under a controversial bill that passed the state Assembly on Thursday.  (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)



Senate approves police dog measure

The Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a bill that would stiffen penalties for anyone who intentionally kills a police dog.  (Walsh, Courier-Post)



N.J Senate bill limits use of out-of-court witness testimony to criminal cases

The state Senate today passed a bill restricting the state Supreme Court’s new rules for witness testimony by limiting the types of cases where people can testify outside the courtroom.  (Rizzo, The Star-Ledger)



Bill targets suspects returning to scene

A crime-fighting bill backed by two South Jersey legislators won final legislative approval Thursday.  (Staff, Courier-Post)



Room for cuts remain at streamlined Schools Development Authority

When Gov. Chris Christie this week announced a restart of the state’s $12 billion school construction program, he praised the streamlining and efficiencies that have been realized at the authority overseeing the work.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Parsippany school board is again ordered to rescind superintendent’s contract

The school board for a second time has been ordered to rescind Superintendent Lee Seitz’s contract extension.  (Jennings, Daily Record)



State anticipates major expansion for Xanadu

A deal under which the operators of Mall of America would take over the stalled Xanadu project from a group of creditors has yet to be completed, nearly two months after a preliminary letter of intent was signed and announced.  (Brennan, The Record)



$1.15 billion deal revives stalled Revel project, thousands of new jobs expected

Revel Entertainment Group successfully secured the financing needed to complete its half-built $2.8 billion casino project Thursday, ending months of uncertainty and potentially marking an upswing in Atlantic City’s economic future.  (Clark, Press of Atlantic City)



2 seek to fold district fire vote

Fire district elections will be held across South Jersey on Saturday — and if the past is a guide, relatively few voters will bother to turn out.  (Walsh, Courier-Post)



Council amends Camden budget proposal with smaller tax hike

One week after rejecting a budget proposal that included a double-digit tax increase, Camden City Council members have devised a spending plan with a smaller tax hike.  (Vargas, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



State commission voids 25 percent pay hike for Atlantic County corrections officers as case goes back to arbitration

The New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission, or PERC, has vacated a 2010 arbitration decision awarding Atlantic County corrections officers a 25 percent increase in their starting salary over the past four years – a 40 percent package increase overall, including benefits – ruling that “the increases to the base salary are more than marginally higher than the increase in cost of living.”  (Lemongello, Press of Atlantic City)






Enemies of the people

What do Senator Menendez and nine Republican and Democratic New Jersey members of the House of Representatives have in common?  They voted to extend the Patriot Act the other day.   (Sabrin, PolitickerNJ)



The man in the middle is Christie

Scott Walker, the new Republican governor of Wisconsin, took a page from the Chris Christie playbook and is demanding that public employees pay more for their health insurance and contribute more into their pension funds. If that’s not enough, Walker also wants to severely limit the use of collective bargaining by public employee unions.  (Doblin, The Record)



Christie coalition a Jersey majority

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is locked in a stare-down with Democratic legislators over his plan to reform the state’s bloated pension system. A recent Quinnipiac University poll suggests that the Dems may want to blink first if they value re-election.  (Freeman, The Wall Street Journal)



CCM to allow undocumented students…

Yep, the County College of Morris in Republican Morris County is now open to all students no matter their immigration status.  The CCM Board of Trustees agreed to the change at this week’s meeting.  (Snowflack, Morris County Politics)



Chris Christie is a Republican favorite for 2012.  Too bad he’s not running.  Right?

Everyone is hoping Chris Christie will run for president in 2012–everyone meaning political reporters who like to have interesting people to write about and think Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney is just a huge yawn.  (Reeve, National Journal)–20110217?mrefid=site_search



Greenwald just learns of property tax

And so there was a meeting of mayors in Trenton where the Trenton insiders took turns giving their assessment of things. Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Lou “The Empty Suit” Greenwald was one of them. He made it sound like he’s just now finding out about high property taxes.  (Ingle, Politics Patrol)



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Morning News Digest: February 18, 2011