By Missy Rebovich
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Redistricting postmortem: 10 takeaways
As primary season heads into full swing and the redistricting wars fade into memory, we at PolitickerNJ thought we’d take a shot at putting the process into perspective. The immediate impact of the map chosen by Rutgers Prof. Alan Rosenthal won’t be known until November, but for the moment the assumption is the Democrats walked away from the table with control of the legislature, possibly for the next decade. (Staff, PolitickerNJ)
Southern New Jersey candidates for state seats may face tough primary battle
Primary challenges for state Senate and Assembly seats in two local districts have forced Republican and Democratic candidates to pay closer attention to the June 7 primary rather than focus all of their efforts on the general election. (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)
Bill forces shared services
Municipalities may soon have no choice but to share services.
Under a bill proposed recently by State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, towns and counties would face a monetary penalty if voters reject shared services proved by a state commission to save money. (Mathur Desai, Gannett)
School vote brings anxiety
The mood surrounding New Jersey’s 2011 school elections — held on a rare Wednesday this week — is more subdued than it was leading up to last year’s elections. (Rothschild, Gannett)
Charter schools in suburbia: More argument than agreement
Suburban charter schools almost sound like a contradiction in terms. After all, charters typically conjure up the image of families seeking alternatives to gritty urban schools. (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)
In N.J., bias against unemployed is illegal
Employers in New Jersey can no longer exclude unemployed people when they advertise job vacancies.
Legislation barring the practice was recently signed into law by Gov. Christie, who had conditionally vetoed an earlier version of the measure. Violators will face fines of up to $1,000 for the first offense and $5,000 for subsequent offenses. (Shipkowski, The Associated Press)
New Jersey bill would widen responsibility for tax appeal refunds to include school and fire districts
A bill in the Legislature would put school districts and fire districts on the hook for paying tax appeal refunds alongside counties and municipalities. (Scott, The Gloucester County Times)
Proposed regulations divide animal rehabilitators
For Shannon Mancini, it is all about the animals.
The Toms River resident has spent more than two decades as a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator, taking in injured and orphaned animals and nursing many back to health before they’re released into the wild. (Bowman, Gannett)
School budget list includes increases, decreases
When South Jersey voters go to the polls for school elections Wednesday, they are likely to decide on increased taxes by approving local school tax levies. (Rothschild, Gannett)
Incentives drive solar industry’s growth in state
Taxpayer and ratepayer dollars invested in the solar power industry are paying off in New Jersey, not only in generating electricity but also in creating much needed jobs. (Mackenzie, Gannett)
Does energy efficiency make it tough for utilities to afford upgrades?
It’s not your father’s utility company anymore.
With the nation’s water, gas and electric infrastructure aging and a new ethic building around consuming less of these essential services, it remains to be seen how the state’s utilities are going to find the capital to upgrade rapidly aging pipelines, wires and generating stations. (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)
Latest from State Street Wire
Sierra Club criticizes FEMA decision; calls for buyouts of Passaic River properties
In the wake of the Federal Emergency Management Agency decision to deny funding to the New Jersey residents affected by the flooding last month, the N.J. Sierra Club said there needs to be buyouts for people on the Passaic River. (Staff, State Street Wire)
Hoboken mayor points to proper use of stabilization funds as bridge for hospital sale
In the truest sense of the term, it was $4.1 million in hospital stabilization funding, said Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, that allowed Hoboken to move the oldest hospital in the state – and the only city-owned hospital – into the private sector. (Carroll, State Street Wire)
Christie vs. Supreme Court: Rutgers law professor takes close look at relationship among Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches
Thursday night Gov. Chris Christie slammed N.J. Supreme Court Justice Barry Albin after the justice inquired about reinstating the millionaire’s tax earlier this week during oral arguments over school funding. (Carroll, State Street Wire)
Cerf and turf in the state Senate
Acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf has a turf problem. Fertilizer won’t help. Cerf lives in Montclair. Montclair is in Essex County. And state Sen. Ron Rice, D-Essex, has senatorial courtesy over nominees from his turf. (Doblin, The Record)
In case you missed it
Christie v. Court: Is threat for real?
Just how powerful is he?
Gov. Christie said last week that he had mulled defying a possible order from New Jersey’s Supreme Court to restore funding to schools. (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Gov. Christie and Sen. Sweeney can be allies one day, adversaries the next
It is New Jersey’s odd couple.
One is a straight-talking former federal prosecutor who rose to the governor’s office and national stardom in the Republican Party by vilifying his political opponents. The other is an iron worker-turned-Senate Democratic leader who prefers consensus over turmoil. (Renshaw, The Star-Ledger)
Wharton Mayor Chegwidden announces bid for N.J. Senate seat against long-time legislator Bucco
The normally placid waters in which Morris County Republicans swim have become a bit choppy this primary season. There are still five weeks before voters go to the polls, but already there have been charges and counter-charges in one of the county’s highest-profile races. (Goldberg, The Star-Ledger)
Bill would require cash, not names, to get on ballot
To create an alternative to the time-consuming process of circulating nominating petitions, Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, R-Morris, will propose legislation permitting candidates to qualify for election ballots by submitting a $2,500 bond. (Jennings, Gannett)
Pension fears prompt surge in retirements
Public employee retirements in 2010 swelled by 60 percent, from 12,720 to 20,327, over 2009. And with Gov. Chris Christie campaigning to limit retirement pension and health benefits, municipalities expect the trend will continue. (Manochio, Gannett)
Proposed municipal tax levies appear on 14 ballots
Spending cap votes will be held Wednesday in 14 New Jersey municipalities, the first time residents will be asked if they are willing to exceed a new 2 percent ceiling on municipal property tax levy increases. (Jordan, Gannett)
LoBiondo receives FRA award
The FRA (Fleet Reserve Association) presented its 2011 Pinnacle Award to New Jersey Congressman Frank LoBiondo recently during a Capitol Hill reception in his honor. (Staff, Today’s Sunbeam)
People and Power: Residency fight clouds ballot in Hammonton’s new district
In two different corners of southern New Jersey, the fallout from the state process to re-jig legislative districts continues. (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)
N.J. school elections less fiery a year after revolt
A year after a taxpayer revolt at the polls, New Jersey’s school budget elections are back on Wednesday — with some major differences. (The Associated Press)
Two districts will ask voters to approve money for specific programs
Two local school districts, Franklin in Somerset County and Monroe in Middlesex County, will present voters with a second question to fund specific programs and projects. (Staff, Gannett)
Newark school pick
A top New York City schools official is one of two finalists for the next superintendent of schools in Newark, New Jersey’s largest district and the focal point of the state’s reform efforts. (Fleisher, The Wall Street Journal)
Rhetoric less heated in N.J. school elections this year, experts say
Frustrated over increases in school spending and property taxes during a down economy, New Jersey voters, at the urging of Gov. Chris Christie, rejected their local school budgets in record numbers last year. (Calefati, The Star-Ledger)
School boards due for significant turnover
Even before the first votes are cast in Wednesday’s school-board elections, change is this year’s winner. (Symons, Gannett)
Environmental groups complain of being outnumbered by ‘special interests’ at DEP meetings
The calendar has been rather full for the state Department of Environmental Protection in recent months. (Augenstein, The Star-Ledger)
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