Morning News Digest: March 24, 2011



Morning News Digest: March 24, 2011


By Missy Rebovich

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Minority coalition releases redistricting map

A coalition of minority groups Wednesday released their version of a legislative map as they look to boost the opportunities for minority representation in the state legislature.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Benenson Poll: Dems should have concerns this election year

A Benenson Strategy Group March 18 poll commissioned by a coalition of labor and circulated at the Statehouse on Monday among Democratic Party legislators shows the majority party clinging to a 2-point legislative lead over the GOP in the minds of New Jersey voters.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)



Christie: ‘Seize the moment,’ share patrols

Gov. Chris Christie and Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney Wednesday said it was time to “seize the moment” and move toward regional public safety services.  (Mast and Roh, The Courier-Post)|head



Chris Christie not running? Doesn’t matter – GOP-ers love him

While Chris Christie says his name won’t appear on any presidential ballots in 2012, Republican voters think he’s the party’s best chance to unseat Barack Obama’s reelection bid, according to a new poll.  (Summers, Politico)



Christie says he’s confident about convincing N.J. Supreme Court the state can’t afford full aid for schools

Gov. Chris Christie said today he is confident his administration will be able to convince the state Supreme Court it doesn’t have the money to fully fund the state’s school-funding law.  (Reitmeyer, The Star-Ledger)



Christie’s Atlantic City revival seeks halt to 30 percent casino plunge

Gov. Chris Christie is bucking voter skepticism and pushing ahead with his plan to revive the Atlantic City gambling resort, where casino revenue has plunged the most since the first one opened in 1978.  (Bloomberg)



Christie’s budget gets mixed reviews at hearing

Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed $29.4 billion budget was subject to both cheers and criticism Wednesday during the Assembly Budget Committee’s third and final public hearing.  (Levinsky, Burlington County Times)



Trim public worker benefits over 7 years, Sweeney urges

Senate President Stephen Sweeney outlined his take on what he calls the “public employee health benefits crisis” in New Jersey before the Courier-Post editorial board Wednesday.  (Murray, Courier-Post)



Criticism of early-release program escalates as N.J. records show another slaying attributed to ex-inmate

The controversy over the state’s new early-release program was sparked last week by the revelation that a Jersey City man was accused of murder just six weeks after being allowed out of prison months ahead of schedule.  (Megerian, The Star-Ledger)



Students urge lawmakers to pass school choice bill

As Gov. Chris Christie faces the possibility of being ordered by the state Supreme Court to restore hundreds of millions in cuts to public schools, students told an Assembly Budget panel Wednesday that taxpayers should help pay private-school tuition because it is impossible to get a decent education in their failing districts.  (Delli Santi, The Associated Press)|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE



States pass budget pain to cities as cutbacks in services cascade

The state budget squeeze is fast becoming a city budget squeeze, as struggling states around the nation plan deep cuts in aid to cities and local governments that will almost certainly result in more service cuts, layoffs and local tax increases.  (Cooper, The New York Times)



Sen. Frank Lautenberg, at tour of Technical Center, pushes for the accelerated adoption of NextGen technology at airports

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, touring the William J. Hughes Technical Center on Wednesday, called for support of a bill that would accelerate implementation of Next Generation aviation technology.  (Bogdan, Press of Atlantic City)



Pascrell, Udall introduce helmet safety act

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-8) and U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) marked Brain Injury Awareness Day last week by introducing bipartisan legislation aimed at protecting youth athletes from the dangers of sports-related traumatic brain injuries.  (Staff, Montclair Times)



Assemblywoman Elease Evans won’t seek reelection

Assemblywoman Elease Evans, D-Paterson, has informed the Passaic County Democratic Party that she will not seek reelection in the 35th District.  (Cowen, The Record)



Report on N.J. kids a mixed bag

Fewer children in New Jersey are dying as infants, missing out on preschool and getting arrested as juveniles, according to a report card published Wednesday that also warns the number living in poverty, missing recommended immunizations and being repeatedly abused is rising.  (Symons, Courier-Post)|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE



DEP looks to waive some regulations

To spur business and reduce red tape, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has proposed a rule allowing it to waive existing regulations.  (Quann, Burlington County Times)



Governor’s Conference attendees report gains in Atlantic City tourism sector

Retail, marketing and hospitality professionals from resorts and attractions statewide started arriving Wednesday for the Governor’s Conference on Tourism, many of them reporting growth and economic health for the first time in quite a while.   (Previti, Press of Atlantic City)



Interim director of CRDA says Atlantic City’s Chelsea sections may not be included in Tourism District

The head of the state agency that will control the resort’s new Tourism District indicated Wednesday there are areas where the zone’s boundaries could be changed.  (Clark, Press of Atlantic City)



Parsippany school board claims compromise in Seitz budget battle

The school board will hold an emergency meeting Thursday morning in a purported compromise aimed at fulfilling a directive from Gov. Chris Christie’s administration while not necessarily reducing Superintendent Lee Seitz’s disputed contract.  (Jennings, Daily Record)



NTU’s Del Grosso back in the fray

It was a show for the ages, a reminder of the mid-1990s when the Newark Teachers Union (NTU) defiantly took on the state’s takeover of the city’s schools in nearly any public meeting it could.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



S. Jersey taxes rose 24% from 2009 to 2010

Residents of Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties paid on average $1,140 more in property taxes in 2010 than in 2009, according to state figures released this month.  (Rao, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Race, incumbents factor in re-warding

Municipal clerks in municipalities such as Montclair need to weigh their town’s racial makeup and the location of incumbent local elected officials when they redraw their wards based on 2010 U.S. Census data, a state official said last week.  (Moss, Monthclair Times)



Urban waterway access is a concern

Carol Johnston grew up in Newark, barely aware that it had a river.

“It was locked away behind dirty, rusty fences,” or other barriers, she said.  (Parry, The Associated Press)


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Camden County mayors encouraged by state-level support for regionalized police

Camden County mayors came away with strong support Wednesday from the highest levels of state government in their quest to regionalize police services.  (Hassan, State Street Wire)



League of Municipalities program to study local policing issues

In light of increased budgetary cutbacks on municipal police forces, the N.J. League of Municipalities will present a forum next Wednesday, March 30, to help towns brainstorm ideas concerning local policing.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Christie: We will challenge special master findings

Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday he will challenge the Special Master appellate court finding that his school funding formula was unconstitutional.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Students rally in support of Opportunity Scholarship Act

Students rallied at Camden County College here Wednesday morning to support the Opportunity Scholarship Act, saying the scholarships will get students out of unsafe, failing schools by enabling them to attend alternatives such as Catholic schools.  (Hassan, State Street Wire)



From the Back Room 



Herbert Stern sued for underwear purchase

Herbert Stern, the lawyer hired by then U.S. Attorney Chris Christie to monitor UMDNJ as part of a deferred prosecution agreement, has found himself at the wrong end of a lawsuit filed by a former client.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)






Christie taking risky stance on school funding

If the state Supreme Court orders a dramatic increase in public school spending, Governor Christie may very well grandstand and disobey it.  (Stile, The Record)



On school funding, no good deed goes unpunished

I sure hope crow is a low-fat food. Chris Christie’s going to be eating a lot of it after what the court did to him Tuesday.  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)


Welcome to the Clueless State

So maybe you thought New Jersey’s peculiar brand of political cluelessness could not get any worse.

Welcome to Upper Saddle River.  (Kelly, The Record)



Students pitch tax credits for private schools

Until Wednesday, Rachel Barton and Glenda Rodriguez had never testified at a public hearing. 

But the two Camden teenagers were poised and persuasive as they urged members of the New Jersey Assembly Budget Committee to support the Opportunity Scholarship Act for students at private and parochial schools.  (Riordan, The Philadelphia Inquirer)





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Morning News Digest: March 24, 2011