Morning News Digest: March 17, 2011

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Christie targets Commissioners Cricco and Manzo; Manzo says he won’t resign on guv’s time line

He’s a TV bigshot on the Real Housewives of New Jersey as he fills out a leading role with his wife, but North Jersey Water Supply Commissioner Albert Manzo’s toney Franklin Lakes address has him in trouble with the administration of Gov. Chris Christie.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Gov. Chris Christie wants expanded veto power

Gov. Chris Cristie announced today his plan to submit legislation allowing for veto power of many more state authorities.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Christie targets health benefits without bargaining

Gov. Christie said Wednesday that he would not negotiate health benefits for public workers through collective bargaining and instead would try to change the law to increase contributions toward health premiums.  (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Christie, Democrats to talk of regional force

Gov. Chris Christie, Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney and Camden County officials will convene next week to discuss a possible regionalized police department that could be the catalyst for unprecedented consolidation across New Jersey.  (Roh, Courier-Post)|head



Aide: Gov siding with taxpayers in union talks

Gov. Chris Christie will serve as taxpayer advocate when he opens negotiations with the state workers’ labor unions whose contracts expire later this year, the governor’s top aide said Friday.  (Burd, Gannett)|head



Christie cites recent slaying in push to end early-release program for N.J. prisoners

Rondell Jones was not scheduled to be out of prison for another four months when he allegedly shot and killed a Newark man in Jersey City less than two weeks ago.  (Megerian, The Star-Ledger)



N.J. commission considers fast-growing Hispanic, Asian populations in redrawing legislative districts

It didn’t take long for witnesses to cut to the chase Wednesday at the final public meeting of the commission that’s redrawing the state’s 40 legislative districts.  (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)



Lautenberg plans hearings on bus safety after fatal crashes

Many changes in bus-safety rules proposed in 2009 by the federal Department of Transportation have not been implemented, and with another deadly crash occurring Monday night, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.) plans to hold hearings to find out why.  (Nussbaum and Simon, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Sweeney says he may allow Senate vote on school bill

Senate President Stephen Sweeney said Wednesday that he opposed a bill to offer scholarships for New Jersey students to transfer out of failing public schools, but he left open the possibility that he would post it for a vote.  (Rao and Giordano, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Sweeney: N.J. Transportation Fund will pay for proposed Camden-Gloucester County light rail line

Money from New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund will pay for much of a proposed commuter rail line between Camden and Gloucester County, State Senate president Stephen Sweeney said Wednesday.  (Nussbaum, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



State senator says state should be obligated to cover tax sharing payments

Local State Senator Paul Sarlo said last week that he is on the verge of introducing legislation that is looking to redesign the formula that is used for tax sharing in the Meadowlands.  (Lamendola, North Jersey Media Group)



Groups seek to halt NJ Legislature’s passage of telecommunications bill

Interest groups are trying to stop momentum on a Verizon-friendly bill in the state Legislature, saying it will leave consumers with reduced options for landline phone and cable TV service.  (Jordan, Gannett)|head



OLS runs the numbers on the Opportunity Scholarship Act

As debate continues over New Jersey’s foray into private school vouchers, a new non-partisan analysis of the proposed Opportunity Scholarship Act (OSA) backs some of the numbers that are being thrown around by supporters while contesting others.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



NJPIRG gives state C+ for transparency

New Jersey has made improvements in providing readily accessible information on how tax money is spent, but still has more work to do, to a public advocacy group says.  (Courier-Post)



Democratic lawmaker says Christie should pay for political campaigning during taxpayer-funded events

Gov. Chris Christie has feuded with teachers. He has been flirted with. And he has ordered that constituents be escorted away by state troopers. All of this has taken place in front of thousands of residents and millions of YouTube viewers.  (DeMarco, The Star-Ledger)



Assemblyman calls for casino commission

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-28th), of Belleville, pointed to the development plan laid out last week by the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce as yet another reason why the Legislature needs to move forward quickly with a measure he has sponsored to explore future gaming prospects in Bergen County.  (North Jersey Media Group)



Assemblyman John Amodeo and Vince Polistina want to expand rights for voters to block local governmental borrowing

A dispute over a Margate firehouse could force a change to statewide law that would give voters more rights to petition and block government borrowing.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Legislators to introduce twin bills that ban sale of ‘bath salts’ drug in N.J.

Three Democratic legislators announced Wednesday they will introduce measures aimed at banning the sale of “bath salts,” legal powders that give users a high similar to meth.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



Southern New Jersey officials push effort to save Vineland Developmental Center

Southern New Jersey officials are stepping up their efforts to stop the state from closing the Vineland Developmental Center.  (Barlas, Press of Atlantic City)



Students make case for more education aid

A blind middle schooler who uses braille to read and write and a college student who relies on financial aid to help pay his tuition were among those who pleaded their case for a more generous state budget at a public hearing Wednesday at Montclair University.  (The Associated Press)



Four Hackensack officers allege corruption at highest levels

Any student of Shakespeare, or of ancient Rome, knows these words well: “Beware the ides Of March.”  (Bonamo, North Jersey Media Group_



Reporters detail massive FBI sting in book

On July 23, 2009 43 people in New Jersey were arrested by the FBI in a broad ranging corruption and international money laundering investigation.  (D’Onofrio, North Jersey Media Group)






N.J. unions pushing Democrats for support

Labor unions heralded the Democratic state senators who fled Wisconsin as heroes. In New Jersey, unions are hounding Democrats out of their legislative offices, calling them zeroes.  (Stile, The Record)



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  Morning News Digest: March 17, 2011