Morning News Digest: May 23, 2011

Morning News Digest: Monday, May 23, 2011

By Missy Rebovich

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Winners and Losers: Week of May 16th

Felix Roque is a hot commodity. The DHS police department? Not hot. Click through for this week’s winners and losers…  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)


Booker and Healy throw their support behind Lesniak in LD 20 battle

A recognizable redheaded presence sat at a round table over a plate of breakfast in a rain-spattered Pal’s Cabin this morning when Newark Mayor Cory Booker arrived, bear-hugged him, and proceeded to make some supportive remarks to the small group of Democratic Party allies.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)


Surgical centers fork over campaign cash in advance of regulation bill

Just weeks after the introduction of a bill that would enhance scrutiny over surgical centers throughout the state, more than a dozen ambulatory surgical facilities flooded the campaign coffers of influential lawmakers with checks totaling nearly $40,000.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)


Obama collecting dirt on Christie

President Obama’s re-election campaign is trying to dig up dirt in the Garden State.

Despite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s repeated pronouncements that he will not seek the GOP presidential nomination, Obama operatives are compiling a dossier of what they call “opposition research” — material that could be used to damage Christie if he changes his mind, The Post has learned.  (Margolin, New York Post)


In Christie’s shadow, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno carves her own role

As Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno walked to the microphone to give the commencement speech last week at William Paterson University, the booing got louder. She smiled.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)


State Senate panel’s tenure bill would add mentoring for new teachers

New teachers would need a first year of on-the-job mentoring plus three consecutive years of good evaluations to earn tenure under a new bill described Sunday by the chairwoman of the state Senate’s education committee.  (Brody, The Record)


NJ family planning money back in budget for state Senate vote

Sen. Loretta Weinberg is persistent.

The veteran Bergen County Democrat will try again today to get nearly $7.5 million in funding for family planning services put back into the state budget, despite being repeatedly rebuffed by Gov. Chris Christie.  (Staff, Gannett)


Both sides to share debt blame

Votes in Congress to raise the national debt limit over the past decade contain enough evidence to expose members of both parties to charges of hypocrisy.  (Jackson, The Record)


New Jersey expects more than a half-billion in extra revenue for next year

Treasury officials reported last Tuesday that the state could anticipate higher-than-expected revenues next year. As soon as that news broke, lawmakers started talking about how that money could be used.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)


Hopatcong teacher meets Obama and Gov. Christie

In a three-week span, New Jersey Teacher of the Year Danielle Kovach met separately with Gov. Chris Christie and President Barack Obama.  (Jennings, Gannett)


New Jersey’s clean energy by the numbers

The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) annual report tracks the state’s progress in achieving its goals to shift New Jersey’s reliance on fuels contributing to global climate change to newer and cleaner ways of producing electricity. The reporting year ended May 31, 2010  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)


Federal agency says offshore developer can charge consumers before it delivers power

Atlantic Wind Connection gained a key approval from a federal agency last week that enhances its efforts to attract financing for a $5 billion project to build the nation’s first offshore transmission system along the coast of New Jersey and other states.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)


Team Daniels plots next moves

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels was supposed to be the last, best hope of the Republican Party establishment.  (Burns and Martin, Politico)


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Weekly Roundup: Week of May 16th


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$1.5M grant for Fort Monmouth displaced workers

Workers who were, or will be, dislocated from the closing of Fort Monmouth will receive some help, thanks to a $1.5 million National Emergency grant, federal Democratic lawmakers representing the state said on Friday.  (Staff, State Street Wire)


N.J. receiving more than $59M in homeland security funds

New Jersey will receive more than $59.2 million in federal homeland security funds, of which $37.2 million will go toward a seven-county area in the state designated as being particularly at risk of a terrorist attack, state Homeland Security Director Charles McKenna said.  (Staff, State Street Wire)


Sweeney, Christie working on pension/benefit reform without Assembly

Representatives for Gov. Chris Christie and state Sen. President Steve Sweeney, (D-3), of West Deptford, were trying to hash out an agreement over health care and pension reform today, but no finished product emerged, according to several statehouse sources.  (Carroll, State Street Wire)



Medicaid waiver faces Assembly Budget hearing

The Assembly Budget Committee will hold a special meeting Tuesday to discuss Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to slash the Medicaid health care program for the state’s poorest residents.  (Staff, State Street Wire)




Revenues rise, so how about that higher education aid?

Governor Christie, who was confronted with some boos and protests at the Seton Hall University graduation last week, once promised that cuts in higher education aid would be among the first things he would restore once the state’s fiscal fortunes improved.  (Stile, The Record)


To his discredit, Gov. Chris Christie apparently can’t take some joking

The old warning goes anyone missing a club meeting runs the risk of being elected secretary. Gov. Chris Christie is the first sitting governor to miss the New Jersey Legislative Correspondents’ Club show since Jon Corzine did in 2007. Christie wasn’t elected to anything, but the start of his week did not go so well.   (Ingle, Gannett)


Don’t replace county cops with Inspector Trousseau

Last week, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office released a report on the merits of eliminating or shrinking the county police department. It offers three suggestions that critics have noted are remarkably similar.  (Doblin, The Record)


In case you missed it


Chris Christie, Stephen Sweeney are New Jersey’s odd couple

One is a tough-talking, union-bashing former federal prosecutor. The other is a tough-talking union leader and former ironworker.  (The Associated Press)


Christie’s spending choice unusual

Governor Christie is following a well-beaten path in Trenton by choosing to use unexpected state revenue to pump up property tax relief during an election year.  (Reitmeyer, The Record)


A pattern of wining and dining at South Jersey Port Corp.?

There was the Miami Beach conference last year that featured a $755 meal for eight and a $260 bar tab at the hotel. There was the Italian dinner for five at La Veranda on Penn’s Landing in 2009 that cost $603, with one-quarter of the tab for wine.  (Rao, The Philadelphia Inquirer)


Gov. Christie defends his ability to say no, governmental budget cuts in Princeton University speech

Gov. Chris Christie recounted what he considers his fiscal accomplishments to a packed house at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School this afternoon, touching on the 2 percent property tax cap, cutting every government department in his budget, and rejecting the millionaire’s tax.  (DeMarco, The Star-Ledger)


Christie cabinet stocked with ex-prosecutors

Back in 2009, in one of a series of Statehouse news conferences Chris Christie held as the Republican candidate for governor, the former prosecutor telegraphed his plans for building his administration.  (Symons, Gannett)


Christie: Progress in NJ, but much more work to do

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is urging residents to stick with him as he continues trimming the size of state government and attracting business to the state.  (The Associated Press)


Gov. Christie to visit Cherry Hill for town hall meeting

Gov. Chris Christie will make another stop in his town hall tour next week, this time in Cherry Hill. It will be the governor’s 18th town hall this year.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)


Christie’s new teacher evaluation system could lead to terminations after two years

New Jersey’s state Education Department will begin new teacher assessments in September, a change Governor Christie’s been pushing for in his efforts towards education reform.  (Cruz, New Jersey Newsroom)


People and Power: Christie slams, then court state’s academics

About a month after dismissing academics for opposing his economic agenda, Gov. Chris Christie last week traveled deep into that camp for a key speech.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)


N.J. Assembly committee to consider package of charter school bills

A state Assembly committee will take the first steps toward either dramatically expanding or blocking the growth of charter schools in New Jersey when it considers a package of four charter school bills Monday.  (Calefati, The Star-Ledger)


Half the cost of sending New Jersey children to school misses the classroom

As much as half of the cost of education has nothing to do with what goes on in a classroom, the new Taxpayers’ Guide to Education Spending released Friday by the state Department of Education says.  (D’Amico, Press of Atlantic City)


State appeals dredge ruling

New Jersey has asked a federal appeals court to overturn rulings that allow deepening of the Delaware River’s shipping channel.  (Walsh, Gannett)


Sen. Bob Menendez offers bill to limit arsenic, lead in reflective highway markings

Sen. Bob Menendez on Friday announced federal legislation that would limit the amount of arsenic and lead used in highway markings around the country.  (Rouse, The Record)


Investigation finds Elizabeth school board pressures workers to fill campaign coffers

Patti Gallante, a teacher now retired from the Elizabeth public school system, said only one thing about her job ever scared her: the school board.  (Sherman, The Star-Ledger)


Vineland Developmental Center workers, supporters rally to save facility

Supporters of the Vineland Developmental Center held another rally Friday, three days after a volatile public hearing on the facility’s proposed closing.  (Barlas, Press of Atlantic City)


N.J. Sen. Bucco, Wharton Mayor Chegwidden ramp up war of words in GOP primary

Accusations of misconduct and abuse continue to bounce back and forth between state Sen. Anthony Bucco and his primary challenger, Morris County Freeholder Director William Chegwidden.  (Goldberg, The Star-Ledger)


N.J.  to receive more than $59M in federal homeland security funds

New Jersey will receive more than $59 million in federal homeland security money this year, less than it received last year, the state homeland security office announced today.  (Baxter, The Star-Ledger)


In North Jersey, teacher tenure is no sure thing

Five out of 20 teachers in the Leonia school system found out this spring they won’t get tenure after three years on the job because they weren’t making the grade.  (Brody, The Record)


In Newark, no budget plan, but outlook is just slightly less gloomy than last year

The battle for the city budget is in full force as Newark again scrambles to fill a gaping deficit and looks to a one-time booster shot to shore up city accounts.  (Giambusso, The Star-Ledger)


Group calls attention to Barnegat Bay

A summertime campaign by the group Environment New Jersey will focus on pressing the Christie administration to do more to protect the shore environment — especially on Barnegat Bay, where the group aims to bring more pressure on the state to establish hard nutrient pollution limits.  (Moore, Gannett)


Third of N.J. districts in area top state average in per-pupil spending

A third of the kindergarten-through-12th-grade public school districts in Camden, Burlington, and Gloucester Counties exceeded the state average for total per-pupil spending during the last academic year, according to data released by New Jersey Department of Education on Friday.  (Giordano and Purcell, The Philadelphia Inquirer)


Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, now of Absecon, launches campaign to promote brain research

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy has a busy summer ahead.

Kennedy recently relocated to Absecon, where his fiancee lives. The former Rhode Island Democrat will marry Amy Petitgout, a sixth-grade teacher at the Northfield Community School, in July at the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port, Mass.  (Previti, Press of Atlantic City)


Jon Huntsman to dine with Perry

Jon Huntsman will head to Texas next week for lunch with Gov. Rick Perry, a Huntsman aide told reporters Sunday.  (Hunt, Politico)

  Morning News Digest: May 23, 2011