Morning News Digest: April 29, 2011



Morning News Digest: April 29, 2011


By Missy Rebovich

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Mountain Creek forked over campaign cash days before favorable bill made law

Earlier this month, New Jersey became the first state in the nation to pass a law requiring helmets for skiers under 18 years old. The landmark legislation had been kicking around in the Legislature for 15 years, but when State Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-25), the law’s most recent sponsor, dropped a substitute version of the bill in May, a simple line was added.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



BREAKING: In rendering his oral decision, Hillman rules against Lewis

Declaring that respect for the state constitution is of “paramount concern,” U.S. District Court Judge Noel Hillman today did not issue an injunction against the decision rendered earlier this week by Secretary of State Kim Guadagno to jettison Carl Lewis from the 8th Legislative District ballot.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



The NJ 20: The most politically effective celebrities of all time

Francis X. Bushman is almost forgotten now, but a century ago he was one of the first silent film stars, a handsome, powerfully built leading man. Traveling by train one day to a benefit in Boston with Mary Pickford, another star of the silent screen often called “America’s Sweetheart,” Bushman found himself summoned to a meeting with William Howard Taft, who was also on board.  (Brownstein, The National Journal)



NJ gov at Harvard to talk about education plans

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is heading to Harvard to discuss his hotly debated education reform proposals.  (The Associated Press)



Christie signs tax-cut bills

Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday signed into law two tax-cut bills that had become a central point of the tug-of-war between Democrats and Republicans over how to stimulate job growth in New Jersey — and who should get the credit.  (Symons, Gannett)



Sweeney says he will withdraw moratorium from health insurance bill

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney said Thursday that he plans to pull from his public-worker health-insurance proposal a provision that would bar entry into the state health-benefits pool.  (Osborne, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



N.J. alerts 200K Medicaid recipients of requirement to enroll in HMO

Not content to wait for the state budget to pass in late June, the Department of Human Services is alerting about 200,000 Medicaid recipients — many with developmental or mental disabilities — that they will be required to enroll in an HMO.  (Livio, The Star-Ledger)



Olympic star finds support on sidelines

Let Carl run.

That’s what many local residents in the 8th Legislative District said Thursday when asked if nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis should be allowed on the ballot in the June 7 primary for state Senate.  (Whittaker, Gannett)



What are Gov. Christie’s plans for the Highlands?

The Christie administration yesterday began its makeover of the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, having three of its nominees approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee despite heated opposition to two of them from several environmental groups.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



Towns cut back in wake of vote

What are people willing to live without in exchange for lower property taxes? For residents in a dozen towns in New Jersey, the answer is police officers, libraries, garbage pickup and senior services.  (Fleisher, The Wall Street Journal)



Garden State voters approve 80 percent of school budgets

The 80 percent of school budgets approved by voters on Wednesday was notable. So was how few voters cast ballots, even by school election standards.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



N.J. residents in 12 towns reject property tax hike over Christie’s 2 percent cap

For almost a year, politicians on both sides of the aisle have touted the passage of a 2 percent property tax cap, designed to reign in local spending, halt sharp increases in property taxes, and give residents more power over their bills in one of the most heavily-taxed states in the country.  (DeMarco, The Star-Ledger)



Some school budgets defeated in Wednesday’s vote had no tax hikes

Officials in districts with school budgets that were defeated in Wednesday’s elections are hoping to convince their local municipal officials to not make additional staff and program cuts, especially in districts where the budget contained no property-tax increase.  (D’Amico, Press of Atlantic City)



Turnpike, toll union agree to deal, average pay cut to $49G

The same faces with outstretched hands will continue to collect your coins and dollars at toll booths for the next two years — although for less pay — under a deal expected to be approved by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority today.  (Higgs, Gannett)



N.J. lawmakers near vote to eliminate early-release prison program

Lawmakers today moved toward eliminating the state’s controversial early-release program, which allows some inmates out of prison six months ahead of schedule.  (Megerian, The Star-Ledger)



N.J. bill restricting where sex offenders can live advances

Towns would have the power to ban sex offenders from living near schools and playgrounds under a bill that passed without opposition by the state Senate today.  (Rizzo, The Star-Ledger)



Polistina: Voters should reappoint state Supreme Court justices

State Assemblyman Vincent J. Polistina, R-Atlantic, proposed Thursday giving voters a say in the reappointments of state Supreme Court justices.  (Bogdan, Press of Atlantic City)



“Bath salts” banned in N.J.; store supplies seized

State and local law enforcement officials began visiting New Jersey retailers Thursday to confiscate so-called bath salts from store shelves, after the state issued an order making the designer drugs illegal in the state.  (Symons, Gannett)



$40 million will be spent improving Parkway Exit 105

The curving, sometimes confusing and congested Garden State Parkway interchange at Exit 105 will get a $40 million makeover to benefit drivers and future employees at a redeveloped Fort Monmouth.  (Higgs, Gannett)



For Xanadu mall, stalled and scorned, deal may offer new life

It has been called “the ugliest damn building in New Jersey and maybe America,” has bedeviled three governors and has burned through two developers. Despite $1.9 billion spent, it is still an unfinished pile of concrete, steel and garish pastel panels.  (Bagli and Pérez-Peña, The New York Times)



Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission down to one employee

The Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission oversees one of the most popular state parks in New Jersey. It manages land use to protect drinking water supplies for 20 percent of the state’s population. The fees it collects have helped fund $20 million in improvements without any taxpayer money.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



Ventnor lawyer approved for Atlantic City Superior Court

Jeffrey Light, an attorney from Ventnor, was approved Thursday by state lawmakers to a seven-year term as a judge in Atlantic County Superior Court.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



6 tapped for Pinelands panel

Gov. Chris Christie announced six nominations Thursday for the state Pinelands Commission.  (Staff, Gannett)



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Judicial vacancies, caseload rising, committee told

As the state asks for another $25 million in cuts, the caseload only seems to be increasing, and the number of judicial vacancies remains high, the head of the Judiciary told the Assembly Budget Committee on Thursday afternoon.  (Hassan, PolitickerNJ)



Nominees approved in Judiciary

In addition to approving nominees to the state Sports and Exposition Authority, the Highlands Council, and the Transportation Trust Fund, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved several other nominations Thursday.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Judiciary releases health commissioner nomination

The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday afternoon unanimously released the nomination of nominee Mary O’Dowd, acting commissioner for Health and Senior Services, to become commissioner.  (Mooney, State Street Wire)



Judiciary Comm. releases some Highlands Council nominations

Two nominees to the Highlands Planning Council drew the opposition of environmentalists who suspected they were actually opposed to the Highlands Act and would work to “gut’’ the Act.  (Mooney, State Street Wire)



From the Back Room 



Healy not dissuaded by Fulop rout

Jersey City Mayor Jerremiah Healy said today that although he counted only one win in yesterday’s school board elections, he doesn’t see a 7,000-vote election being a very good indicator of a 40,000-vote mayoral affair.  (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)



Judges for a judge

In Gov. Chris Christie’s ongoing battle to get his state Supreme Court nominee a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Christie has for the second time threatened to shelve all reappointments to the state Superior Court until Anne Patterson is heard, sources have told PolitickerNJ.  (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)






Nothing efficient about 600 districts

The history of public education in New Jersey could be reduced to two sentences: First, money was thrown at it. Then money was taken away from it. Neither was or is a very good idea.  (Doblin, The Record)



Defining quality of life in the Garden State

This week a Monmouth University poll on the Garden State’s “quality of life” revealed that most Jersey residents — some 63 percent — say the state is at least a “good place” to live. While that’s pretty high, pollsters say it’s “the lowest positive reading in 30 years of polling on this question.”  (Lowry, The Record)



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Morning News Digest: April 29, 2011