Morning News Digest: June 15, 2011

Morning News Digest: Wednesday, June 15, 2011

By Missy Rebovich

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Pressure builds around Oliver as Assembly moves on reform

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, (D-34), of East Orange, is under increasing pressure from various quarters as landmark pension and benefit reform legislation is scheduled to be heard in an Assembly committee next week.  (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)



Barnes beats McCabe by 105 votes in over 90% turnout contest

Former Assemblyman Peter Barnes of Edison tonight defeated Kevin McCabe of Woodbridge to become the new chairman of the Middlesex County Democratic Committee.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Chris Christie ‘100 percent certain’ about 2012

Chris Christie said Monday that he understands the argument for why he should run, but remains committed to sitting out the 2012 presidential race.  (Barr, Politico)



Christie doesn’t rule out 2016 campaign run in mostly light-hearted Piers Morgan interview

No, Piers Morgan, Chris Christie still isn’t running for president next year.

In a mostly light-hearted interview, Gov. Chris Christie appeared on CNN’s Piers Morgan Show this evening, repeatedly denying that he has any interest in running for president in 2012. But he didn’t rule out 2016.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Dept. of meetings, Rudy-Christie edition

Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie, two former federal prosecutors and two similar political models, are set to have lunch Wednesday, sources confirmed.  (Haberman, Politico)



Chris Christie holding on gay marriage

New York may or may not end up seeing a new law legalizing gay marriage this week – although so far the signs seem to indicate “yes” – but across the river, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says his own feelings on the topic are unchanged.  (Haberman, Politico)



Green group reconsiders support for Christie

For the past year and a half, New Jersey’s tree-huggers have been at each others throats.

One group, the New Jersey Environmental Federation, had been working with Gov. Chris Christie ever since endorsing him as a candidate, drawing howls from other green activists who criticized cuts to green programs and loosened regulations.  (Fleisher, The Wall Street Journal)



Inside Christie-Sweeney plan to make N.J. public employees pay more for pension, health benefits

In a new twist to the controversial plan to make 500,000 New Jersey public employees pay more for their pension and health insurance, Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex) announced on Tuesday that the lower house’s Budget Committee will meet Monday to consider the so-called compromise legislation to bring about the payment increases that has been introduced in the Senate.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



Against own party’s wishes, Sweeney pushes overhaul to pension system for N.J. public employees

Despite a rising chorus of opposition from fellow Democrats, the Senate president and Assembly speaker pressed forward Tuesday to overhaul health and pension benefits for the state’s 500,000 public employees.  (Renshaw, The Star-Ledger)



Pension legislation hits snag

An effort to pass major pension and benefit reform legislation hit a snag late Tuesday when the Republican state senators balked at supporting the 120-page bill because of clauses that limit workers’ rights to use out-of-state medical providers.  (Method, Gannett)



N.J. Dem urges colleagues to fight Christie’s proposal

A veteran Democrat in the New Jersey Legislature is imploring colleagues to stay true to core party principles.  (The Associated Press)



Democrat calls for limits on Christie’s helicopter use

The head of a legislative homeland security panel in New Jersey is calling for restrictions on the governor’s use of state helicopters for transportation, including an outright ban on air transit to personal and political events.  (Delli Santi, The Associated Press)



New Jersey’s State Police chief defends Christie’s helicopter use

The governor isn’t getting a free ride.

That’s what New Jersey’s top cop told an Assembly committee Tuesday after Democrats convened a hearing to investigate the controversy known as Coptergate.  (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Malone says his departure had nothing to do with redistricting

Joseph Malone has served in public office since he was elected mayor of Bordentown at age 23, nearly four decades ago.  (Rao, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Malone vows not to be out of the public life for long

Longtime Republican Assemblyman Joseph R. Malone III said Tuesday he would not be out of public life for long despite his decision not to seek re-election this fall.  (Roh, Gannett)



Senate approves two for federal judgeships

Two federal magistrates sitting in Newark were unanimously approved for promotion to U.S. District Court judgeships by the Senate on Tuesday. 

Esther Salas and Claire C. Cecchi both have served as magistrates, who handle motions and other proceedings, since 2006. In December, President Obama nominated the two to judgeships, which carry lifetime tenure.  (Jackson, The Record)



Biotech exec Crowley considering Senate run in N.J.

A close friend of wealthy biotech founder John Crowley says the New Jersey man portrayed in the movie “Extraordinary Measures” may challenge U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez in 2012.  (The Associated Press)



Federal agency agrees to reconsider NJ power plant plan

New Jersey is going to get another opportunity to convince federal officials to approve a controversial plan to build three new natural-gas fired plants, a step administration officials say will help bring down sky-high energy bills.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



GOP governors push back against Obama on federal Medicaid rules

Faced with severe budget problems, Republican governors are escalating their fight against federal rules requiring states to maintain current levels of health-care coverage for the poor and disabled.  (Fletcher, The Washington Post)



Doherty to discuss school-funding plan at town hall meeting

A state senator who has proposed a new school-funding formula will meet residents and take questions about the plan.  (O’Brien, Gannett)



Bob Balicki and Doug Long to replace Louis Magazzu as Cumberland County Democratic Committee co-chairmen

Louis Magazzu said Tuesday he won’t seek re-election as chairman of Cumberland County’s Democratic Committee, and the organization selected two local officials to fill his shoes.  (Barlas and Landau, Press of Atlantic City)



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Oliver posts Sweeney/Christie pension and benefit reform bill

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34) and Budget Officer Lou Greenwald (D-6) announced the Budget Committee will meet Monday to consider state Sen. President Steve Sweeney’s (D-3) pension and benefit reform bill for public workers.  (Carroll, State Street Wire)



N.J. Builders Assoc., developers from Mixed-Use affiliate

The New Jersey Builders Association and several developers of multifamily housing have formed a new affiliate that will serve as advocate for various legislative and regulatory issues, according to a report.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



CWA rips health care benefits change proposed by Sweeney

The Communications Workers of America today criticized the health care benefits reform offered by Senate President Steve Sweeney.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Bills would restore over $7.4M for family planning services

Bills that would restore more than $7.4 million for family planning services that was cut from the fiscal year 2011 appropriations act have been introduced.  (Mooney, State Street Wire)



From the Back Room



Source: NJEA ready to go ‘nuclear’

A source told tonight that the NJEA will go “nuclear” tomorrow with a huge anti-Sweeney-Christie-Norcross ad.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)






Now Senate Republicans are concerned about Sweeney’s health reform bill

Assembly Democrats and public employee unions have been freaking out since last week about the health benefits and pension reform deal negotiated by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Gov. Chris Christie. Sweeney today tweaked the bill to  soften opposition from labor and Central and North Jersey Democrats.  (Roh, Strictly Politics)



Our top graduation rate no proof of learning

New Jersey hands out diplomas to 87 percent of high school students, making the Garden State’s graduation rate the highest in the nation, according to an annual report.  (Ingle, Gannett)



New voice would replace NJN

After more than 40 years, the Garden State is getting out of broadcasting. That’s a good thing. No state belongs there. When everyone from the cameraman’s assistant to the news anchor is on the same payroll as the governor, there is at least the suspicion that politicians control what is seen. No doubt politics played a role in NJN’s operation at some level.  (Ingle, Gannett)



An app can help you check service provider history

Access to license and registration info on about 600,000 service providers in New Jersey — from doctors to home improvement contractors — is now available on your cellphone or other communications devices through a mobile application launched last week by the Division of Consumer Affairs.  (DeMarrais, The Record)

  Morning News Digest: June 15, 2011