Morning News Digest: April 21, 2011

Morning News Digest: April 21, 2011


By Missy Rebovich

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Judge Schuster dismisses Lewis case; Olympian remains on the ballot as GOP plans to appeal

Administrative Law Judge John J. Schuster today decided that legendary Olympian Carl Lewis of Medford is elligible to be a candidate for the state senate in Legislative District 8, overruling Republican claims that Lewis does not fulfill residency requirements.    (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Mulligan blasts Sweeney over health care plan

Running against state Senate President Steve Sweeney of West Deptford in the newly redistricted 3rd, Republican attorney Mike Mulligan doesn’t have any illusions about a contest – he knows it will be hard not to get flattened – but that doesn’t change his opinion about Sweeney’s designs on scrapping new applicants to a cost-savings state insurance plan.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Most N.J. residents want to spend more on education but don’t want Supreme Court to order it, poll says

Most New Jersey voters want more education spending, but nearly as many don’t want the Supreme Court to force the state to pump more money into schools, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll being released today.  (Megerian, The Star-Ledger)



Christie ‘wholeheartedly’ agrees with president’s education reform effort

Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan met behind closed doors in Princeton Wednesday and the Republican governor emerged to describe himself as an ally of Democratic President Obama when it comes to education reform.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



Court weighs funding

The future of New Jersey school funding is in the hands of the state Supreme Court, after the Christie administration and an advocate for poor children on Wednesday made final arguments on whether the recession justified a billion-dollar cut to local school district subsidies.  (Fleisher, The Wall Street Journal)



N.J. justices question Christie push to cut school funding

Two state Supreme Court justices on Wednesday pressed a lawyer for Gov. Chris Christie’s administration about why New Jersey should not fund another $1.75 billion for local schools in the upcoming state budget.  (Method, Gannett)



As Abbott returns to Supreme Court, familiar faces play pivotal roles

The courtroom inside the Hughes Justice Center was a little more crowded than usual yesterday, even for an Abbott v. Burke case, as all eyes were on the state Supreme Court to see what it will do next.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Teacher bonuses emerge in Newark

Mayor Cory Booker said he is looking to bring teacher incentive pay to the city.

“I think we should pay our teachers more,” Mr. Booker said on Wednesday. The mayor said he and his staff have begun “crunching the numbers” to try to reward top-performing teachers with higher salaries, a top priority for many national educational reformers.  (Martinez, The Wall Street Journal)



N.J. to review ‘senior freeze’ repayment notices, Christie tells AARP

Gov. Chris Christie said officials are checking to see if a state tax audit went too far when 7,000 seniors and disabled people got bills to repay their “senior freeze” property tax reimbursements.  (Jordan, Gannett)|head putting municipal budgets online

Imagine a website where you can compare municipal budget information of up to three New Jersey towns, side by side, at any one time.  (Staff, Gannett)



Supporters of medical marijuana program wonder if N.J. wants to delay its launch this summer

As state Attorney General Paula Dow awaited guidance from top federal law enforcement officials on whether New Jersey’s planned medical marijuana program is legal, supporters today questioned whether the state was looking for a reason to delay the program’s launch this summer.  (Livio, The Star-Ledger)



Auditor criticizes N.J. management of federally funded weatherization program

After a sluggish start and months of intense scrutiny, management of the state’s troubled weatherization program is again under fire.  (DeMarco, The Star-Ledger)



CCM votes to charge higher rates to illegal immigrants

The County College of Morris board of trustees reversed a policy they approved just two months ago by voting Wednesday night to charge illegal immigrants higher tuition rates than other students who live in the county.  (Koloff, Gannett)|head



U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan says his fishing bill would protect jobs, help fisherman

U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan wants commercial and recreational fishermen to be able to catch more fish, and in the process create more jobs.  (Degener, Press of Atlantic City)



Sen. Sarlo says he’s backing move for N.J. to withdraw from regional clean energy program

The push for New Jersey to withdraw from a regional clean energy program that critics say includes an “economically destructive tax” gained a key Democratic ally on Wednesday.  (Fallon, The Record)



Sen. Steve Oroho calls for vote on bills to stop public officials from ‘double-dipping’

State Sen. Steve Oroho (R-Sussex) Wednesday called for the Senate Budget Committee to act on two bills that would prevent elected officials from collecting both a taxpayer-funded paychecks and pensions at it next meeting on May 12.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



Atlantic County GOP head wants Democratic candidate to disclose work for arts council

Atlantic County Republican Chairman Keith Davis called Wednesday for Alisa Cooper, a Democratic candidate for Assembly, to disclose details of her work on the state Council on the Arts.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Plans aired to privatize toll collections in NJ

Plans to privatize toll collections on New Jersey’s two major highways will be hashed out at a legislative hearing.  (The Associated Press)
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Advocacy groups, students argue N.J. should allow voter registration of Election Day

The times have changed, but a key part of the state’s election law is still stuck in the past, according to a coalition of students and advocacy groups that filed a challenge to New Jersey’s voter-registration law today.  (Rizzo, The Star-Ledger)



Old financial deals drain DRPA resources

Risky financial arrangements that have soured after a dozen years are still draining the coffers of the Delaware River Port Authority.  (Stilwell, Gannett)



North Bergen mayor rejects opposition’s calls to return donations from those with ties to disgraced Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission

The slate of opposition candidates in the May 10 municipal elections is demanding that Mayor Nicholas Sacco return nearly $7,000 in campaign contributions to donors connected to the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission.  (Mestanza, The Jersey Journal)



The slightly higher cost of meeting NJ’s aggressive solar goals

For ratepayers, the cost of increasing the state’s reliance on solar power rose slightly in the past 12 months to $122 million, according to an annual report by the state’s Office of Clean Energy.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



State puts onshore wind program back in business

The state yesterday lifted a temporary hold on its small wind program after determining that seven of the 10 onshore wind turbine manufacturers operating in New Jersey had no problems with safety issues, unlike two other vendors whose turbines broke free or caught fire.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



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DOJ reviewing Dow medical marijuana request, Scutari calls it a “stall tactic”

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, a prime sponsor of legislation that legalized medical marijuana in New Jersey, Wednesday called a request by Attorney General Paula Dow for guidance on the legality of the program a “stall tactic by the administration.  (Isherwood, State Street Wire)



Lesniak hoping to amend telecomm bill to address seniors’ concerns

In the wake of comments from the governor suggesting an end to effort to deregulate the telecommunications industry, state Sen. Ray Lesniak said he will continue to work on amendments to assuage the concerns of the state’s senior citizen community.  (Isherwood, State Street Wire)



Christie, U.S. Education secretary show unity on educational issues

Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan Wednesday expressed unity on the issue of educational reform.  (Mooney, State Street Wire)



Christie likely signal death of telecomm deregulation bill

Gov. Chris Christie likely signaled the end today of efforts to deregulate the telecommunications industry in New Jersey.  (Isherwood, State Street Wire)



From the Back Room



Toto short on signatures

Mercer County Democrats have likely succeeded in pushing 15th District Assembly candidate Dan Toto off the ballot.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Toto signatures remanded back to court

Secretary of State Kim Guadagno has remanded 15th District Assembly Candidate Dan Toto’s case back to Judge Lisa James-Beavers.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)






Donald Trump…really?

The Donald Trump “brand” is a complicated thing.  With Trump on the verge of making a decision as to whether he runs for president or not, there is a question that remains—Is the old adage “any publicity is good publicity” still true?  If it is, then Trump will be fine.  If not, his past comments, actions and often outlandish persona will come back to haunt him.   (Adubato, Jr., PolitickerNJ)



Can Christie erase the Hughes legacy? He’d better hope so

Well, just what the heck could you have expected at a hearing held in a building named for the politician who engineered the state income tax?  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)

  Morning News Digest: April 21, 2011