Morning News Digest: June 10, 2011

Morning News Digest: Friday, June 10, 2011

By Missy Rebovich

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Thigpen intervenes in Dem caucus health/pension debacle

Sources say Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) has South Jersey Democrats, Republicans and herself lined up in support of pension and health benefits reform.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Christie on health and pension reform: Won’t sign one without the other

Gov. Chris Christie said today he will not sign a pension reform bill unless it includes a health benefit overhaul as well.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



In the middle of health and pension debate, Christie burnishes South Jersey Dem support in Camden

The South Jersey-front office partnership was in full effect this afternoon, as Camden Mayor Dana Redd heaped praise on Gov. Chris Christie while Democratic Party power player George Norcross III watched from the back of a small crowd at the Lanning Street School.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Re-educating Camden—one school at a time

This time, Democratic power-broker George Norcross wasn’t on stage with the governor, but at the rear of the sweltering crowd gathered yesterday for Gov. Chris Christie’s second visit to Camden in a week.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Sweeney to introduce bill to change pension, benefits system for N.J. public workers

Despite slim support from his party and unrest in the Assembly, State Senate President Stephen Sweeney said yesterday he would introduce a bill to overhaul health and pension benefits for the state’s 500,000 public employees and have lawmakers take it up next week.  (Renshaw, The Star-Ledger)



National labor leaders oppose N.J. benefits deal

National labor leaders are urging Trenton Democrats to oppose a proposal that would limit collective bargaining over health insurance benefits for public workers in New Jersey.  (The Associated Press)



Chris Christie draft stirs in South Carolina

Multiple South Carolina state representatives plan on holding a news conference next week to urge New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to enter the presidential race.  (Burns, Politico)



Gov. Christie tells American Legion convention in Wildwood that veterans’ sacrifices inspire him to make tough decisions

Gov. Chris Christie told the state’s veterans Thursday that their service offers an example to all New Jerseyans on the importance and value of sacrifice.  (Gilfillian, Press of Atlantic City)



Lautenberg critical of NJN transfer to N.Y.

Some New Jersey lawmakers are taking a critical look at a deal to transfer operations of the state-owned New Jersey Network to one of New York’s largest public broadcasting stations.  (DeFalco, The Associated Press)



No deal? TV stations could go dark

If lawmakers concerned about New Jersey’s agreement to grant WNET control of a rebranded New Jersey Network veto the deal, that could force public TV to go completely dark at month’s end.  (Symons, Gannett)



N.J., Pa. act to cope with insolvency in unemployment funds

Legislators on both sides of the Delaware River took measures Thursday to cope with insolvency in the funds that pay benefits to the unemployed.  (Von Bergen, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Green Acres bill advances

Spending of more than a quarter-billion dollars on Green Acres land-preservation purchases and related projects was unanimously approved in the state Senate Thursday, though lawmakers said hard decisions are ahead after current voter-approved open space funding runs out.  (Jordan, Gannett)



‘Bath salts’ drug ban

The New Jersey Senate has passed a bill outlawing synthetic drugs known as “bath salts.”  (The Associated Press)



States considering online lottery sales

Going to the local convenience store to buy a lottery ticket might be the next common practice to give way to technology.  (Jennings, Gannett)



Trade secrets would be better protected under bill

A national organization is pushing a New Jersey bill that would tighten the laws protecting trade secrets and provide for tougher penalties.  (Morley, The Record)



Survey confirms that New Jersey is a solar power

In another indication of the fast-paced growth of New Jersey’s solar market, two of the state’s four electric utilities ranked in the top 10 nationally in adding solar power in the past year, according to a new survey.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



Former NJ state workers ask: Now what?

Vincent Lobascio inspected passenger buses and investigated accidents for New Jersey for 35 years. He still can spell the last name of the family who perished when their car was demolished by a Trailways bus.  (Method, Gannett)



Poll: Obama leads GOP field, including Christie

A new poll shows President Obama leading his re-election race against all Republican challengers including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who insists he isn’t going to run.  (The Associated Press)



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Sweeney releases health care contribution grid

The Senate Majority office, as promised by state Sen. President Steve Sweeney (D-3) today, released a contribution grid that accompanies his health care proposal, which has support from Gov. Chris Christie, but not the Assembly Democrats.  (Carroll, State Street Wire)



Senate approves bill to reduce unemployment insurance tax rates

The Senate passed by a vote of 37-0 bill S3819, which would reduce unemployment insurance tax rates. There was no discussion before the vote.  (Hassan, State Street Wire)



CWA: Christie’s goal is to score points with GOP voters in Iowa

The Communications Workers of America blasted the pension and health benefits reform deal drawn up by the Senate president and the governor.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Oroho pension fixes pulled from Senate agenda, to be folded into Sweeney reform

Dubbed the “Joe D” bills, state Sen. Steve Oroho (R-24), of Franklin Township, sponsored two bills that ­­­were supposed to fix a pension loophole that was recently brought to light when PolitickerNJ reported that Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo was collecting a pension, at least partially, for service in the post he currently holds. State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-37), of Teaneck, also admitted to cashing in on retirement for a job she still held.  (Carroll, State Street Wire)



From the Back Room



Sources: CoryPac inro “clumsy,” “bad politics”

Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s introduction of a federal political action committee was clumsy and bad politics, sources told PolitickerNJ.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Former corrections official indicted

A former Deputy Commissioner of the state Department of Corrections has been indicted on bribery and extortion charges for allegedly accepting cash in exchange for official actions.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)






It’s Democrat vs Democrat

Senate President Steve Sweeney says next Thursday there will be a hearing on his bill to increase health and pension benefit payments by public workers. He has reached a deal with Gov. Christie.  (Ingle, Gannett)

  Morning News Digest: June 10, 2011