Morning News Digest: May 31, 2011

Morning News Digest: Tuesday, May 31, 2011

By Missy Rebovich

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Winners and Losers: Week of May 23rd

Poor schools received a money order, enviros got jolted by the governor, conservatives got jolted then pacified, West New York stayed on the map for another week as the ceremony that never ends continued and Gov. Chris Christie landed there seeking succor from another New Jersey week that will live in inanity.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)



FDU: Menendez would beat Crowley, 45%-26%

Despite underwhelming name ID in his home state, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) would easily defeat Princeton biotech millionaire John Crowley in a 2012 head-to-head contest 45%-26%, according to this morning’s Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind™ poll.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)





Partially thawed out challengers still can’t use key gala dinner funds in LD20 Primary

Superior Court Assignment Judge Karen Cassidy this afternoon partially thawed out the funds of the Democratic challengers in Legislative District 20 and allowed them to reissue their newspaper, the Union County Reporter, but refused to unfreeze funds related to a campaign gala dinner held this past Saturday night and also refused to make available the funds of the PAC, For the People of Union County.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Following a year of politics, Supreme Court nominee gets long-awaited confirmation hearing

Anne Patterson’s year in limbo ends Tuesday.

Caught in the middle of a fight not of her own making, Patterson, the newest nominee to the state Supreme Court, is poised to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee for her long-delayed hearing.  (Spoto, The Star-Ledger)



Governor ignores transportation in greenhouse gas calculations

Last week, Gov. Chris Christie talked a lot about how the state was going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — moments after saying he would pull out of a regional initiative to reduce pollution from power plants contributing to global climate change.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



Christie befriends upstart Dems in Hudson County

Republican Gov. Chris Christie was deep behind enemy lines in the Democratic bastion of Hudson County on Thursday night, but he wasn’t undercover or even unwelcome. In fact, he was the guest of honor, invited to ceremoniously swear in newly elected West New York Mayor Felix Roque, a Democrat.  (Renshaw and Megerian, The Star-Ledger)



Head of N.J. State Police is up for re-appointment

The Senate Judiciary committee is set to consider whether to re-confirm the long-time head of the State Police. 

Col. Rick Fuentes, 60, was first appointed in 2003 by Gov. James E. McGreevey. He was reappointed by Gov. Jon Corzine and has served under his third governor, Chris Christie, for more than a year.  (The Associated Press)



NJ holds last beach access hearing Thursday in LBI

New Jerseyans will get their last chance to sound off on the state’s hotly contested new beach access rules Thursday night on Long Beach Island.  (The Associated Press)



After Irvington suspected neglect case, legislator considers home-schooling laws

When Collingswood police found four brothers literally starving in their own home eight years ago, then-Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg proposed a law requiring other home-schooled children to get an annual physical and pass standardized tests.  (Livio, The Star-Ledger)



Online lottery sales sought

The 6,100 New Jersey businesses that sell lottery tickets may soon face competition from the state.

Legislation proposed by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, D-Union, would allow gamblers to buy tickets online. No other state offers the service, though other versions of online lottery purchases exist, including a subscription program in New York.  (Jordan, Gannett)|topnews|text|State



Through Lampitt, Cherry Hill reenters payout fray

Well before Gov. Christie and the Legislature put a bull’s-eye on millions of dollars in banked sick-time pay for municipal and school workers, Cherry Hill leaders were taking care of it.  (Burton, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Agenda: N.J. State Board of Education

On the docket for the Board of Education’s monthly public meeting: the likely confirmation of Cami Anderson as superintendent of Newark’s public schools.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Bill would allow gas station discounts, promos in New Jersey

Gasoline retailers in New Jersey would be able to offer discounts, coupons and premiums under legislation advancing in the Assembly.  (Barna, Gloucester County Times)



Concerns for N.J. water as Del. River eyed for ‘fracking’

New Jersey is downstream from a bitter battle over natural gas development in Pennsylvania that involves a controversial drilling practice.  (Augestein, The Star-Ledger)



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BPU sets hearing to examine electric generation capacity issues

The Board of Public Utilities will hold a hearing June 17 into various issues affecting new generation capacity in the state.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Dow resends guidance letter to Justice on medical marijuana; advocates and opponents apply full-court press

Since April, N.J. Attorney General Paula Dow has waited for the U.S. Department of Justice to clarify its position  on the potential prosecution of employees connected to the distribution of medical marijuana, but having not heard a response since, she resubmitted the letter this week.  (Carroll, State Street Wire)



N.J. Agriculture Dept. touts state’s national ranking in plant, flower sales

An agricultural survey released Friday helped maintain New Jersey’s nickname as the Garden State, as sales of plants and flowers grew 7 percent last year over 2009’s total.  (Hassan, State Street Wire)



Bill introduced to address ticket-resale issues

The issue of who profits from ticket resales is heating up again.

A bill that aims to restructure the way tickets are sold and resold in the state – including lifting limits on resale prices – was introduced this week.  (Mooney, State Street Wire)






Christie’s RGGI withdrawal and coal prohibition—sound policies based on sound science

Governor Chris Christie’s decisions that New Jersey will withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and prohibit the construction of new coal fired power plants constitute the quintessence of environmental policy based on sound science.  These are actions that will enhance the quality of life in New Jersey, both environmentally and economically.   (Alan Steinberg for PolitickerNJ)



Of cap and trade and a Reggie bar

Chris Christie could be “Mr. October.” No one could confuse New Jersey’s governor for a calendar boy. But to a die-hard Yankees fan, which Christie is not, “Mr. October” was Reggie Jackson. And ironically, it is something called “RGGI” that could propel Christie into a national campaign that will hinge on a strong October showing.  (Doblin, The Record)



Plumbing the depths of the Gov’s Hudson strategy

Last week I drove up to Hudson County to watch the governor swear in a new mayor.

It was nice to see a real right-winger in action.

And I got to see Chris Christie too.  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)



Christie court nominee to get hearing finally

Gov. Christie’s first choice for the state Supreme Court finally gets a hearing today, more than a year after he nominated Anne Patterson of Mendham. Senate President Steve Sweeney blocked her confirmation hearing because, he said, Christie was interfering with the independence of the court.  (Ingle, Gannett)



In case you missed it



Confirmation hearing set for Christie judicial nominee

Gov. Christie’s attempt to overhaul the New Jersey Supreme Court will finally get under way Tuesday, when confirmation hearings begin for a North Jersey corporate lawyer he nominated to the bench more than a year ago.  (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Gov. Christie slips when citing economic data

Billed as a speech about the economy, Gov. Chris Christie’s visit to Princeton University last Friday night unfolded more like a typical town-hall meeting, complete with his always-amusing story about being told as a child to pluck cash off a nonexistent money tree.  (Symons, Gannett)



Gov. Christie, Dems weigh how to raise $500 million

To raise taxes or not to raise taxes? That, again, is the question.

In the wake of an order by the state Supreme Court to spend $500 million more in 31 low-income school districts, Democrats who control the state Legislature are talking about tax increases and other ways to raise revenue.  (Method, Gannett)



GOP looks at N.J. school strategy

New Jersey Senate Republicans have been asked to consider taking a unified position on public education, including removing the state Supreme Court from school-funding decisions and granting the Legislature the power to determine what it means to provide a “thorough and efficient” education in public schools.  (Delli Santi, The Associated Press)



Gov. Christie’s battle over scrapped ARC tunnel costing N.J. $225K a month in interest alone

Gov. Chris Christie’s fight with the federal government over abandoning a train tunnel under the Hudson has already cost New Jerseyans more than $1 million in legal fees and interest, records show.  (Rizzo, The Star-Ledger)



Chris Christie’s mixed message

Gov. Chris Christie (R) embraced yet another hot-button political topic this week, yanking New Jersey from a regional cap-and-trade climate program for Northeastern states. The question is whether his grassroots supporters will entirely appreciate the caveats to his announcement.  (Strassel, The Wall Street Journal)



Iowans head east this week to court Christie

Even as some Iowa Republicans criticize an upcoming mission to recruit in-your-face New Jerseyan Chris Christie for the presidency, one organizer defended it as a way to send a strong endorsement of no-nonsense conservative leadership.  (Jacobs, Des Moines Register)



Fate of employees uncertain as New Jersey Network public television station to be run by PBS flagship

New Jersey officials are completing a deal to give New Jersey Network’s television operation to a new nonprofit corporation run by WNET Channel 13, the PBS flagship station based in New York City.  (McGlone, The Star-Ledger)



More lawmakers opposed to forcing N.J. workers to pay more for health benefits through legislation

Opposition hardened Friday toward plans to change state employee health benefits through legislation, a day after Gov. Chris Christie acknowledged that he had begun negotiations with the unions.  (Gibson and Renshaw, The Star-Ledger)



New Jersey officials seek approval to change Medicaid structure

State health officials are seeking federal approval to significantly change the way New Jersey handles Medicaid, as Gov. Chris Christie’s administration looks to save $300 million on the health care program for low-income and disabled residents.  (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)



Lawmakers propose new panel to help older NJ workers find employment, keep their jobs

Legislation that would help older New Jerseyans find employment or keep their jobs has cleared another important hurdle.  (Shipkowski, The Associated Press)–Legislative-Preview/



Proposed beach-access rules revive longtime battle

Allowing New Jersey beach towns to make their own access rules has triggered a wave of protests from environmentalists who suspect the interest of builders and beachfront homeowners will trump the basic needs of daytrippers.  (Stilwell, Gannett)



Proposed law would ban N.J. public colleges from paying commencement speakers

New Jersey’s public colleges would be banned from paying for commencement speakers under legislation introduced in Trenton this week.  (Heyboer, The Star-Ledger)



Democratic bill seeks green card status for soldiers’ kin

Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and seven other Democratic senators reintroduced legislation last week that would grant permanent-resident status to the immigrant relatives of active-duty military personnel.  (Shilling, The Record)



Oversight of N.J. air polluters has dropped, records show

State scrutiny of air polluters ranging from oil refineries to neighborhood dry cleaners slipped during the past decade, according to a Star-Ledger review.  (Baxter, The Star-Ledger)



Norcross bill would permit ads on toll booths and patrol vehicles

Legislation that would allow advertising on toll booths and patrol vehicles to pay for services through private funding – rather than additional taxes or tolls – has been approved by the Senate Transportation Committee.  (Barna, Gloucester County Times)



Madden bill would create MS Task Force

Legislation that would establish the New Jersey Multiple Sclerosis Task Force in the Department of Health and Senior Services has passed the full Senate.  (Barna, Gloucester County Times)



Runyan does job quietly in first year in House

Jon Runyan is still no fan of the nation’s capital.

Nearly six months after he was sworn in with the GOP-majority House freshman class, the 37-year-old Mount Laurel Republican is unimpressed with the pomp, ceremony and schmoozing that dominates Washington.  (Roh, Gannett)



Chegwidden dredges up past in race vs. Sen. Bucco

State Sen. Anthony Bucco says he attended a political fundraiser at Freeholder Bill Chegwidden’s Wharton home a few months ago, eating food at a backyard barbecue, unaware that the host was about to challenge him in the Republican primary.  (Koloff, Gannett)



Hudson power cable still has critics in 2 states

New York City officials are not completely sold on it, some state lawmakers are dead-set against it and now regulators in New Jersey are trying to stop it. But New York’s governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, wants it, so a cable that would carry electricity from New Jersey to Manhattan appears to be about to make its way across the Hudson River.  (McGeehan, The New York Times)



Atlantic City finds encouraging signs in small steps toward evolution

Resort businesses made strides last week that suggest continued progress toward the city’s economic recovery. But, while encouraging, those steps were small in light of the long, potentially difficult process analysts and local business leaders say remain for a resort that is still struggling harder than similar markets nationwide.  (Previti, Press of Atlantic City)

Morning News Digest: May 31, 2011