Morning News Digest: Tuesday, July 19, 2011
By Missy Rebovich
One NJ will not disclose its contributors
One New Jersey, the 501 (C)(4) launched this week by progressives in an effort to watchdog elected officials the group says are harming New Jersey families, has no plans to disclose its donor list according to a spokesman for the group.
The refusal to name its funders comes despite months of protest from Democrats over a conservative group with a similar mission that refused to give up its donor list last year. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)
Rice: when it comes to Newark, Christie wants ‘selective accountability’
State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-2) of Newark welcomed Gov. Chris Christie’s vow today to restore $139 million in transitional aid to cities, but he wants the governor to engage with particular vigilance on the oversight portion of his promise. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)
N.J. GOP way ahead on fund-raising
New Jersey Republicans have continued to capitalize on Gov. Christie’s popularity, raising five times as much as Democrats in the second quarter of the year.
The Republicans said they raised nearly $1 million in the second quarter – outpacing their first-quarter $740,000 total – as the parties gear up for November, when the entire Legislature is up for election. (DeFalco, The Associated Press)
Christie calls relationship with Sweeney ‘passionate,’ says they remain friends
Gov. Chris Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney didn’t hug and make up Monday. They didn’t sing “Kumbaya.” The longtime political pals from different parties didn’t patch up their very public falling out.
Two weeks after Sweeney exploded in a profane tirade over millions in Christie budget cuts, the governor returned from a vacation and insisted he wasn’t sore at the Senate president for calling him, among other things, a “mean old bastard.” (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)
Christie, Sweeney bromance still rocky relationship
Chris Christie and Stephen Sweeney are still buddies. That’s what Christie says. Sweeney isn’t sure and is signaling that the bromance is over.
“It’s hard to call somebody a friend when you hurt the people he hurt,” Sweeney, the Democratic senator from Gloucester County, said of the Republican governor.
July 3 was the first day they avoided each other, when Sweeney, fuming over Christie’s budget cuts, refused to take a telephone call from the governor. (Jordan, Gannett)
Gov. Christie demands oversight of $139M in aid restored to struggling cities
Gov. Chris Christie, fresh from a two-week trip to the West, tried to silence Democratic critics Monday by offering to restore $139 million in aid to the state’s most distressed cities, but there was a string attached.
The governor insisted that Democratic legislators allow him to retain oversight as to how municipalities spend their money — including the authority to monitor local hiring and the awarding of contracts — on his own terms. (Renshaw, The Star-Ledger)
Christie using $500,000 in federal aid to keep Newark child abuse center operating
Gov. Chris Christie on Monday afternoon announced that the state division of Children and Families would pass along a $500,000 federal grant to Wynona’s House, a Newark treatment center for child abuse victims that saw its funding slashed when he cut nearly $1 billion in Democratic-proposed allocations from the 2011-12 state budget on June 30.
During a press conference at the Essex County Hall of Records in Newark, Christie said the division obtained a federal grant before he signed the budget on June 30, and maintained the non-profit center was never in danger of closing. (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)
Christie keeps tourism, gaming panel together for another year
Citing the “extraordinary work” that resulted from his advisory commission on gaming to reshape Atlantic City’s tourism and casino industries, Gov. Chris Christie said Monday he has extended the life of the group for another year.
Christie also named the head of a nonprofit agency redeveloping New Brunswick to the influential Hanson Commission, headed by Morristown real estate developer and Christie adviser Jon F. Hanson. (Froonjian, Press of Atlantic City)
State Red Tape Review Commission to meet Tuesday in Trenton
The state Red Tape Review Commission will meeting on Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Thomas Edison State College in Trenton to hear the concerns of small businesses and non-profit organizations on problems they might face in dealing with the state government.
The Christie administration has made eliminating what it sees as red tape a priority since assuming office in January, 2010. In September, Gov. Chris Christie created the commission by executive order. The panel is chaired by Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)
Agencies fear more funding cuts for social services
As the state continues to grapple with Gov. Chris Christie’s fiscal year 2012 budget, agencies threatened with funding cuts are as confused and uncertain as everyone else about how they will be affected.
“There are still a lot of unknowns,” said Celine Fortin, associate executive director of The Arc of New Jersey. “We just don’t know how it’s going to play out. (Rothschild, Gannett)
Norcross stepping down as president of local AFL-CIO
State Sen. Donald Norcross will step down as president of the Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO, he announced Monday, less than a month after he voted in favor of a bill that raised benefit contributions by unionized public employees and removed health care from the collective-bargaining process.
State Sen. Donald Norcross will step down as president of the Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO, he announced Monday, less than a month after he voted in favor of a bill that raised benefit contributions by unionized public employees and removed health care from the collective-bargaining process. (Osborne, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Lance unveils bill to streamline care for children with brain injuries
Congressman Leonard Lance has introduced legislation that seeks to establish a standardized system of care that will be more easily accessible to families of children who have suffered brain injuries.
Appearing alongside advocates for pediatric brain injury survivors and their families in the new Caregiver’s Center at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, Lance unveiled the national Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan Act (PABI Plan Act) on June 30. (Staff, Gannett)
Judges Harden, Ostrer and St. John elevated to N.J. Appellate Court bench
State Superior Court judges, Margaret M. Hayden, Mitchel E. Ostrer, and Jerome M. St. John have been elevated to the Appellate Court effective Aug. 1, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner announced on Monday.
The Appellate Court is New Jersey’s intermediate appellate court. The 35 Appellate Court judges hear appeals from decisions of the trial courts in the 21 county seats, the Tax Court and state administrative agencies. The Appellate Division decides approximately 7,000 appeals and 7,500 motions each year. (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)
Most new charter schools not ready to open in September
When the Christie administration announced in January that it had approved 23 new charter schools, that number was celebrated as being the largest class of charters yet. Equally impressive, according to the administration, there would be close to 100 of the alternative schools operating this fall.
Six months later, it turns out only seven of those 23 will be ready to open their doors come September. Factor in two more schools, which had been approved in other application cycles, and that brings the total to nine new charters — for a grand total of 80 operating in the Garden State. (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)
CRDA loan rules will get stricter after $4 million loss
State regulations on loans made by the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority likely will get stricter in November, nearly a year after the agency forgave a $4 million loan that benefited a politically connected developer. (Previti, Press of Atlantic City)
Latest from State Street Wire
Sweeney says Christie knows he was wrong to cut Wynona Lipman House funding
Following the announcement this afternoon of the restoration of funds for the Wynona Lipman House, Senate President Steve Sweeney said in a prepared statement that, “Democrats have been fighting to correct this governor’s mistakes for 19 days, most of which the governor was on vacation and all of which the Republicans in the Legislature have failed to represent anyone other than the governor. (Staff, State Street Wire)
Sweeney: Why couldn’t GOP restore aid in override vote?
State Sen. President Steve Sweeney, (D-3), of West Deptford, is glad the governor is restoring state aid to distressed cities, but he wondered why the Republican lawmakers didn’t restore the funding last week. (Carroll, State Street Wire)
Christie defends NJN successor
Gov. Chris Christie said New Jersey Television (NJTV), which replaced New Jersey Network a few weeks ago, is doing a decent job reporting the news of the state.
“The coverage is generally pretty good for the moment,” he said during a press conference today. (Hassan, State Street Wire)
Christie: No response yet to DOJ’s medical marijuana memeo
Gov. Chris Christie said he has yet to formulate a response to the state’s quandary on medical marijuana.
The U.S. Department of Justice issued a memo a few weeks ago that was intended to clarify the federal government’s stance in relation to states that have passed medical marijuana programs. (Carroll, State Street Wire)
From the Back Room
AP: NJGOP raises $1 million in 2nd quarter
The New Jersey GOP raised $1 million during the second quarter of 2011, the Associated Press reports. (Staff, PolitickerNJ)
It’s Election Year – just look at the new budget
Governor Christie and the Republicans say their Edward Scissorhands-slashing of social programs from the budget was really a responsible pruning of the expensive treats Democrats love to hand out to their base supporters in an Election Year.
So, now the budget is recast to look a lot more like a Republican one, packed with goodies for Christie’s base supporters in an Election Year. Millionaires are protected from a tax hike for the second year in a row. Businesses will pay $185 million less thanks to “targeted” tax cuts. (Stile, The Record)
Republicans capitalize on fractured Dem Party, raise $1.15M to their $389K
The New Jersey Republican State Committee out-raised Democrats nearly 3 to 1 in the second quarter, a sign not just of Gov. Chris Christie’s popularity but also of a badly fractured majority party going into November’s elections.
The New Jersey Democratic State Committee added just $188,492 to its state account in Q2, the Courier-Post has learned. Later this month the committee will report adding about $200,000 to its federal account. (Roh, Strictly Politics)