Morning News Digest: Tuesday, July 12, 2011
By Missy Rebovich
Turning the tables on the GOP in the Christie era: Dems try to make ‘bossed’ argument
Deprived of a strong centerpiece public figure, the party of Adubato, Norcross and the now-defanged John Lynch and others went on offense today with the argument that the Republicans have become the party of bossed drones doing the bidding of their easily angered overlord. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)
Expert: Dems did what they wanted today
The Democrats today didn’t fail to override Gov. Chris Christie’s budget line item vetoes so much as succeed, in their view, at extravagantly tattooing Christie with a $900 million bully brand in time for elections, says Patrick Murray, a Monmouth University pollster and political scientist. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)
Allen on her lack of override votes: No money, but ‘these are things that I support’
After holding her vote on several funding restorations today, Republican state Sen. Diane Allen (R-7) said she would have liked to have been able to vote for the full agenda, but, “We cannot go on spending more than we have.” (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)
Dems try to stand by Codey as mental health cut restorations fail
To Democrats who had already thrown him overboard, Gov. Chris Christie additionally took the equivalent of a great white shark rip at a former governor’s legacy when Christie red-penned at least three mental healthcare items. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)
Senate fails to override vetoes
Senate Democrats failed to muster the three Republican votes needed to override even one of Gov. Chris Christie’s budget vetoes to restore funding for child abuse services, women’s health clinics, legal aid and mental health services.
All but one of Monday’s budget restoration votes failed 24-15 strictly along party lines. (Delli Santi, The Associated Press)
NJ Senate to consider last batch of vetoed bills
The New Jersey Senate is scheduled to vote on whether to restore $139 million in cuts in aid to distressed communities.
The aid for cities was among dozens of items Gov. Chris Christie vetoed before signing the new state budget into law.
Lawmakers also are expected to vote Tuesday on tuition aid grants funding and other vetoed items. (The Associated Press)
Governor restores funds for controversial DEP office
While much of the attention focused on Gov. Chris Christie’s line-item vetoes, which slashed $900 million from the current state budget, the Republican governor did restore $1.3 million in funds trimmed by the Democratic-controlled legislature. The cut would have eliminated the Office of Economic Growth and Green Energy within the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)
Christie education proposals blocked
Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) won’t allow two of the governor’s major education-overhaul proposals to get a vote, effectively killing them before they are formally introduced as bills.
Sweeney said Monday that he objected to Christie’s proposals to link teacher salaries to performance and to eliminate teacher seniority protections. (DeFalco, The Associated Press)
Budget override battle foreshadows legislative election campaigns
Yesterday’s Senate session failed to override any of Gov. Chris Christie’s line-item vetoes, but it did offer a preview of the upcoming legislative election campaigns, as Democrats assailed “heartless” budget cuts and Republicans countered that the Democratic budget was based on “fanciful” numbers. (Magyar, NJ Spotlight)
NJ lawmakers push Caylee’s Law to aid missing kids
State lawmakers are proposing making it a felony not to report a death or to wait more than a day before telling authorities a child has gone missing, making New Jersey one of at least 16 states to introduce a “Caylee’s Law.”
The bill was introduced in the state Senate on Monday, following last week’s acquittal of Casey Anthony, who was charged with murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. The Florida mother didn’t report Caylee missing for more than a month and later said she died accidently. (Lederman, The Associated Press)
Last chance for Vineland Developmental Center sits on governor’s desk
The bill that could still save the east campus of the Vineland Developmental Center remains on the governor’s desk.
With Gov. Chris Christie on vacation all of last week, as well as this week, the governor’s chief council and legal team are left to review the legislation in advance of his decision, said Sen. Jeff Van Drew on Monday. (Laday, News of Cumberland County)
Guadagno embraces new clout her office may get
Kim Guadagno, the state’s first lieutenant governor, sits poised to wield expanded power over the most contentious areas in the struggle between developers and business regulators.
Unless the Legislature blocks the move, Guadagno — a Republican and the only lieutenant governor in the nation who also serves as a secretary of state — assumes broad powers over critical areas where businesses want advantages: planning and zoning guidelines, business retention programs, including possible tax incentives, and the struggle for balance between development and environmental rules. (Fletcher, The Record)
Governor’s Education Transformation Task Force gets public input on education rules in New Jersey
The Governor’s Education Transformation Task Force held a public meeting here Monday afternoon giving residents in South Jersey an opportunity to voice their concerns on education regulation.
Administrators, teachers and parents filled the Pittsgrove Township Municipal Building meeting room, many of them frustrated with the current state of education in New Jersey. (Dunn, Today’s Sunbeam)
NJTV viewed as week TV by early critics
NJTV, the subsidiary of New York’s WNET which took over at the start of the month as New Jersey’s state broadcasting entity, continues to face pressure from Democrats unhappy with what they say is poor government news coverage.
During a Senate voting session Monday, Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union, noted the event wasn’t being “covered live.‘’ (Jordan, Gannett)
NJ government does not compute for much of day
Numerous New Jersey government departments experienced computer delays and shutdowns Monday, marring a plan by the Motor Vehicle Commission to launch expanded services and slowing some non-essential State Police operations.
Most departments were back to full computer operation or coming back online by the middle of the day, said a spokesman for the Treasury Department, which oversees the state Office of Information Technology. (Jordan, Gannett)
Rush Holt gains allies on Fort Monmouth commissary
Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., has won the support of two key legislators in the struggle to keep the Fort Monmouth commissary open for at least two more years.
The commissary is slated to close in September, several days before the entire fort will close, as mandated by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure commission. Most of the fort’s mission will be transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. (Bowman, Gannett)
Assemblywoman: Put lottery draw back on TV
A New Jersey assemblywoman wants live state lottery drawings back on television. The drawings used to be on New Jersey Network; that stopped when the largely New York-based NJTV replaced the state-owned station this month. (The Associated Press)
Sweeney, Guadagno to be keynote speakers as Building & Construction Trades Council convention begins
State Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno are scheduled to be the keynote speakers this morning as the State Building & Construction Trades Council opens its 107th annual convention at Caesars Atlantic City. (Rose, Press of Atlantic City)
Union chief faults school reform ‘on high’
Amid one of the most contentious periods in recent memory for teachers’ unions, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, on Monday called for education reform that emanates from teachers and their communities, rather than from “those who blame teachers for everything.” (Schwarz, The New York Times)
Latest from State Street Wire
N.J. League of Municipalities seeks restoration of Transitional Aid for towns
The N.J. League of Municipalities called on the Senate to restore Transitional Aid to municipalities that was vetoed by Gov. Christie.
The $149 million appropriation was slashed to $10 million. The Transitional Aid is one of the veto override attempts scheduled for Tuesday, day 2 of the Senate Democrats’ attempts to restore funding cut by Christie. (Carroll, State Street Wire)
Moody’s: Transitional aid cuts credit negative
Moody’s Investor Services today called the governor’s $129 million cut to transitional aid negative, saying already struggling cities will have little recourse without the additional funding. (Isherwood, State Street Wire)
Senate to vote on balance of overrides Tuesday, with surplus still in dispute
State Sen. Steve Sweeney, (D-3), West Deptford, said the Democrats will resume their veto override attempts Tuesday at 10 a.m. Asked if it was a waste of time to continue the votes given Republican are not willing to support the budget restorations, he said, “You gotta try.” (Carroll, State Street Wire)
Effort to override Medicaid waiver provision veto fails
The Senate Democrats were unable to re-insert language protecting Medicaid coverage for low-income residents. The override failed, 24-14, with state Sen. Diane Allen (R-7) abstaining and state Sen. Andy Ciesla (R-10) absent. (Carroll, State Street Wire)
From the Back Room
Report: Sweeney will block two of Christie’s education proposals
Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) today told 101.5 FM that he plans to block Gov. Chris Christie’s proposals to link teacher salaries to performance and to eliminate teacher seniority protections. (Staff, PolitickerNJ)
In New Jersey, ally one day, ‘punk’ the next
Stephen M. Sweeney, the State Senate president, is a brawny man with a pug’s face, and a natty pink tie-and-suspender combo. He leans back in his leather chair as he considers my question:
You still want to punch out Gov. Chris Christie? (Powell, The New York Times)
A moment engineered for ‘glossy mailings’
Monday’s Veto-Override-a-Thon at the State House was a low moment in political theater. Members of both parties share in the dishonor.
This session was not about minimizing harm to the most vulnerable. It was about Democrats inflicting harm on Republicans and Republicans doing their best to minimize it. (Stile, The Record)
Advocates of privatized education want to end public schools
Do supporters of privatized schooling — including Gov. Chris Christie — really want to destroy public schools? Is even asking the question an exercise in political hyperventilating?
It’s a charge frequently made by NJEA President Barbara Keshishian who said, “Chris Christie has one objective: to destroy New Jersey’s public schools in order to pave the way for their privatization.’’ (Braun, The Star-Ledger)