Morning News Digest: April 19, 2011



Morning News Digest: April 19, 2011


By Missy Rebovich

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Medical marijuana law could put dispensaries, state employees at legal risk according to USDOJ memo

State employees tasked with monitoring the state’s medical marijuana program, as well as the state-licensed dispensaries of the drug could face prosecution under federal law according to recent letter issued by U.S. Attorneys in Washington State.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Gov. to speak in Jackson

Gov. Chris Christie will speak at a town hall-style meeting today to discuss his administration’s reform agenda.  (Oglesby, Gannett)



Workers pay more in health care plan

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has long called for state workers to pay more of their health care costs, and now proposes a phased-in plan over three years that would require employees to pay about a third of those costs by mid-2014.  (DeFalco, The Associated Press)



N.J. municipalities deal with crunch through fees

The two sides seem set on a collision course.

With the 2 percent property-tax cap pushed by Gov. Christie going into effect this year, New Jersey municipalities and school districts are working to make ends meet whatever way they can – sometimes through increasing service fees.  (Osborne, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



State lawmakers tout Urban Enterprise Zones’ impact on minorities

State lawmakers who argue that Urban Enterprise Zones should not be abolished made the case Monday that the program especially helps minority-owned businesses.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Poll: 53% in N.J. back sports bets

A public vote is still seven months away and the NFL is in a deep labor freeze, but a new poll found that 53 percent of New Jersey voters supported allowing legal sports betting at Atlantic City casinos and the state’s horse tracks.  (Parry, The Associated Press)



Lawyer says Lewis’ primary residence is in Medford

New Jersey state Senate candidate Carl Lewis owns other homes, but his primary residence is in Medford, his lawyer said Monday in response to a Republican complaint that the Olympian fails to meet the residency requirement to run for public office.  (Hefler, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



N.J. Rep. Rothman blasts GOP Medicare plan

The meeting in a Fair Lawn diner Monday was billed as a way for Rep. Steve Rothman to hear what North Jersey residents thought about the Medicare-changing 2012 budget plan that House Republicans passed last week.  (Jackson, The Record)



Still an ideological oddity in New Jersey, but a rising force in his party

Long before there was a Tea Party, there was Representative Scott Garrett, a Republican from the forested regions of northern New Jersey who had long stood out among the moderates and liberals of both parties in the state’s Congressional delegation.  (Hernandez, The New York Times)



At Rutgers, Rep. Rush Holt vows to fight cuts to Pell Grants

Tamala Chipeta left Rutgers in 2009 after her first year to go to the County College of Morris, and when she returned to Rutgers last September, things had gotten more expensive.  (Serrano, Gannett)



Tax deadline in Central N.J. brings out procrastinators, protesters

In a time of economic uncertainty and political rancor, the deadline for filing income taxes took on different meanings across the area, depending on whom you asked.  (Burd, Gannett)



Asbury Park housing commissioner Caldwell unhappy Christie didn’t notify him he was being replaced

Gov. Chris Christie late last week approved the Department of Community Affairs’ appointments for a commissioner’s seat on each of 13 local housing authorities.  (Shields, Gannett)



Atlantic City Special Improvement District votes to dissolve, transfer assets to CRDA

The Atlantic City Special Improvement District, a 19-year-old organization that has worked to better the resort’s business community, essentially dissolved itself Monday night, but not without reluctance, confusion and a lot of emotion.  (Clark, Press of Atlantic City)



State signs on to help develop tomorrow’s tests

As testing drives state education policy more and more, New Jersey has formally signed on with a national group developing the next generation of standardized tests, ones that take place over the course of the school year and could have computers asking the questions.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



New Jersey consumers can choose cheaper power

For the first time in a decade, there are options for customers looking to cut their electricity bills, a trend retail energy suppliers hope will spur the state to make it easier for ratepayers to switch power companies.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



Bureaucratic red tape or wise regulation?

When it came time for Tom Beaton to build a new office and restroom for his marina, David Beaton & Sons in Brick, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection promised to stamp its approval — with a few concessions.  (Diamond, Gannett)



N.J. open-space purchase includes Burlco acreage

New Jersey is spending nearly $28 million to preserve 1,900 acres of land as open space in Monmouth, Mercer and Burlington counties.  (The Associated Press)|topnews|text|State



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Labor Dept. announces expanded use of electronic debit cards

The state Labor Department announced Monday that its Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) and Family Leave Insurance (FLI) benefit programs are replacing paper checks with electronic debit cards.  (Staff, State Stree Wire)



Cryan, Greenwald seek information on tax ‘loopholes’ from Treasury

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Cryan and Budget Committee Chairman Lou Greenwald Monday sent a letter to State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff asking for a detailed explanation of tax exemption “loopholes” that can being exploited.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



State auditor releases Asbury Park school audit: quadruple legal costs, contractor overpayment, and $40,000 in unused phone lines

The state auditor released Trenton’s examination of the highest per-pupil cost district in New Jersey, Asbury Park.  (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)



State to help preserve 1,900 acres

Some 1,900 acres of land spanning three counties are slated for farmland and open space preservation, the Department of Environmental Protection announced Monday.  (Hassan, State Street Wire)



From the Back Room 



Star Ledger wins Pulitzer

Congratulations to Star Ledger reporter Amy Ellis Nutt on winning a Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)






Loretta, the Governor and me

To millions across New Jersey who have suffered discrimination or persecution, Senator Loretta Weinberg has been our leading champion for an entire generation.  Since her election to the State Senate in 1992, Loretta has been a prime sponsor of more than 100 bills enacted into law by Governors of both parties, a record perhaps unmatched by any other state legislator in America.  (Goldstein, for PolitickerNJ)



Hey Governor, where’s my income-tax cut?

Every year I put off doing my taxes till the last minute. It’s not because I dislike the experience. My tax accountant lives in the pleasant village of Ocean Gate along the Toms River. We always have a nice chat and on occasion we go out for pizza pizza at the Anchor Inn afterward.  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)




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Morning News Digest: April 19, 2011