Morning News Digest: May 13, 2011

Morning News Digest: May 13, 2011 By Missy Rebovich Try State Street Wire, Follow PolitickerNJ on Twitter and Facebook. Text

Morning News Digest: May 13, 2011

By Missy Rebovich

Try State Street Wire, Follow PolitickerNJ on Twitter and Facebook. Text “PNJ” to 89800 to receive alerts



Cryan, Quijano, pound pavement in LD 20

The district didn’t change much – Elizabeth still forms its industrial urban heart – but it changed just enough to give the all-minority Democratic Primary opposition another battlefront.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Christie appeals FEMA snub

Gov. Chris Christie announced Thursday that the state is appealing the recent FEMA denial of aid to new Jersey townships ravaged by March flooding.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Lesniak enlists Clinton for re-election effort as two sides clash in Union County Dem Primary

State Sen. Nick Sacco had to fend off a phony robocall from a faux former Prez Bill Clinton earlier this week, right around the same time that the real former president’s voice was descending on Elizabeth and the environs of the 20th Legislative District.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Gov. Chris Christie stands firm on ending massive sick-leave payouts

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on Thursday that lawmakers are close to an agreement on ending huge payouts to retiring public employees for unused sick days.  (DeFalco, The Assocaited Press)



Unions counter on pensions, benefits

With the state’s pension and health benefit issues casting a dark shadow over New Jersey’s finances, government workers union leaders are coalescing around proposals they think will fix the problem and protect their members.  (Method, Gannett)



Christie names first secretary of higher ed

A longtime state Education Department official with experience as a college administrator is to become New Jersey’s first secretary of higher education, Gov. Christie announced Thursday.  (DeFalco, The Associated Press)



Christie burns bridges with N.J. senators

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he won’t criticize the state’s Democratic U.S. senators for a lack of federal funding for a vital bridge repair. Nope, that just wouldn’t be fair.  (Fleisher, The Wall Street Journal)



Christie says deals will preserve racing at Meadowlands, Monmouth Park

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said agreements have been reached with private operators to take over the state’s Meadowlands and Monmouth Park horse tracks. Terms weren’t disclosed.  (Young, Bloomberg)



Christie vetoes Barnegat Bay bill that sought to prevent pollution through development fees

A Democratic push to improve the murky waters of Barnegat Bay suffered a blow today when Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have allowed Ocean County to charge developers to pay for pollution prevention.  (Baxter, The Star-Ledger)



NAACP head decries Christie move

The NAACP president said Thursday that he was disappointed that Gov. Chris Christie is considering defying the state Supreme Court over a school funding case, and he alluded to the situation when Alabama Gov. George Wallace refused to allow desegregated schools in 1963.  (Method, Gannett)



Assemblymen call on state to repay $3.6 million to Casino Reinvestment Development Authority

Local legislators are demanding that Gov. Chris Christie return $3.6 million to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority that the Atlantic City-based agency lost through a bad loan to the state Department of Community Affairs.  (Previti, Press of Atlantic City)



Tax boost over 3 years

New Jersey businesses would be spared a sudden major boost in the unemployment tax under legislation that calls for it to be phased in to help restore the state’s depleted unemployment-insurance fund.  (The Associated Press)



Garrett alone in wanting oil drilling in N.J.

The entire New Jersey delegation except Rep. Scott Garrett opposed a bill Thursday that would expand the areas where oil drilling is allowed to include the Atlantic Ocean off the Jersey Shore.  (Jackson, The Record)



Bill would allow lawmakers to save Vineland Developmental Center

The Vineland Developmental Center could be saved from its threatened closure under a proposed piece of legislation that gives legislators a say in the future of state psychiatric or residential-care facilities.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Plan to let Shore towns decide access opposed

New Jersey residents came out loud and clear Thursday against a plan to allow individual towns to decide how much beach or urban-waterway access is appropriate for their communities.  (Parry, The Associated Press)



NJ looks to improve transparency through better websites

Local, regional and state authorities would be required to improve transparency through better websites under a proposal unanimously endorsed Thursday by a Senate committee.  (Gannett)|head



A charter conversation

There’s not much agreement about New Jersey’s charter schools lately, but as the Christie administration and the legislature weigh how to move forward, some leading voices in the debate agree maybe it’s a good time to look back, too.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Freeholders discuss pay-to-play measures

Members of the Bergen County Freeholder Board held the first public hearing regarding a proposed political patronage ordinance on May 5, listening to suggestions meant to address pay-to-play issues.  (Bonamo, Hackensack Chronicle)



5 towns talk of combining for savings

Forces are converging to unite both Mendhams, both Chesters and Washington Township under one municipal government and one school system.  (Ash, Gannett)



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Bill giving towns longer time frame to remit funds on successful tax appeals advances

The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee cleared bills Thursday that broaden rent control provisions, require commissions and authorities to maintain web sites, and give towns a break on the timetable for repaying tax refunds due to successful appeals.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Lawmakers weigh pros, cons of videotaping psychologist sessions with child abuse victims

A bill that would have a psychologist’s sessions with a child who is the subject of an abuse allegation be videotaped was heard Thursday in committee.  (Mooney, State Street Wire)



Christie: Cash-value accumulation a sticking point for sick leave reform

With his late push for sick leave reform, one of the more agreeable lingering toolkit bills, Gov. Chris Christie said today there is only one sticking point left.  (Carroll, State Street Wire)



Inmates’ phone rate costs have fallen, commissioner says

Phone rates for inmates calling family members have fallen, the Corrections Department head said Thursday to a Budget Committee.  (Hassan, State Street Wire)



From the Back Room



Dems grumble over convention audible

Democrats are quietly griping over the last minute decision by State Chairman John Wisniewski to move the party’s convention from the Tropicana in an effort to honor a labor dispute between the hotel and several labor unions.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)






Analysis: Gov. Christie’s political theater masks strategy

If you couldn’t call out sick Tuesday to attend Gov. Chris Christie’s profile-building “town hall” show at Evesham’s Blue Barn, here’s how it went down:

Pump-up music amplified a video highlight reel of Christie’s best verbal jabs of yester-March.  (Rosen, Gannett)|mostcom



Right locomotives on the wrong track

Some people live on the wrong side of the tracks. NJ Transit commuters using the Bergen, Main and Pascack Valley lines are not on the wrong side. They’re on the wrong tracks.  (Doblin, The Record)



Governor should look into rail to nowhere

Gov. Chris Christie introduced principals of the Triple Five Group to the media last week and they unveiled their plans to revamp and complete the abortive Xanadu shopping and entertainment complex in the Meadowlands.  (Sullivan, The Record)


Morning News Digest: May 13, 2011