Morning News Digest – May 23, 2013 interview: Jason O’Donnell

Confident he has the votes to be the next Democratic State chairman, Jason O’Donnell said his objective will be to drive the core message of the Democratic Party.

“My main objective is to bring Democrats home,” said O’Donnell, 41, an assemblyman from Bayonne. “If we bring them home we win this election. We need to appeal to our base, and we need to do that by going door to door and by reminding people why they are Democrats. We’re about civil rights, workers’ rights and a woman’s right to choose. We have to make that appeal on the grassroots level.”

Presumptive gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono’s (D-18) selection of O’Donnell sent Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) on the warpath. He panned O’Donnell as a bad choice, citing alliances within the party that sank Democrats in 2009 and a 2011 leadership fight that cast O’Donnell’s clan out of power.



Source: Menendez unhappy w. O’Donnell as chair

Add U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez’s name to the list of Democrats around the state unhappy with the choice of Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell as state party chairman.



Buono campaign unveils first TV ad

The Buono for Governor campaign this morning unveiled its first television ad, “Another New Jersey.” staff


Affordable Care Act about coverage not cost containment

TRENTON – The Affordable Care Act that will go into full effect in 2014 might as well be a misnomer.

That’s according to one expert – Joel White, president of the Council for Affordable Health Care Coverage in Washington, D.C. – who said Wednesday that the federal health insurance law is “more about coverage than cost containment

Minhaj Hassan-State Street Wire


Oliver reiterates criticism of bond act selection process

TRENTON – Speaker Sheila Oliver reiterated her criticism today of the selection process regarding public colleges that will be awarded money under the bond act approved by voters last year.

State Steet Wire staff


Even with lower revenues, Christie urges tax credit

Governor Christie issued a new challenge to lawmakers struggling to make sense of recently lowered state revenue projections Wednesday: Pass a new tax credit even if they fear the state can’t afford it.

John Reitmeyer, Karen Sudol and Michael Linhorst – The Record



On second try Bergen County freeholders  affirm higher limit on ‘pay to play’ contributions

The Bergen County freeholders adopted a revised county pay-to-play ordinance Wednesday that supporters say will bring much-needed clarity to a flawed law they contend would never survive a constitutional challenge.

John C. Enslin – The Record


A difficult trip home to Oklahoma: Record reporter surveys tornado devastation

MOORE, Okla. — I know this path, the one the tornado took. I know this town.

Walking through the remains of people’s flattened homes on Wednesday, tracing the indiscriminate path of destruction that connects my childhood home and a demolished school gymnasium nearly a mile away, I rediscovered some old truths about the people of Moore, a suburb of about 50,000 just south of Oklahoma City. Their fortitude, their stoicism and good humor in the face of tragedy — the type of tragedy that has become all too familiar over the past 15 years.


Shawn Boburg – The Record


NJ Education Department loses two top staffers

Two of the state Department of Education’s top staffers are leaving this week, one a longtime official who has played a prominent role behind the scenes and another a newer, public voice of the agency.

John Mooney-NJ Spotlight

Chicago board votes to close 50 schools

CHICAGO — The Chicago Board of Education voted Wednesday to close 50 schools and programs, an ambitious plan that has sparked protests and lawsuits and could help define — for better or worse — Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s term in office.

Sara Burnett-Associated Press


Trucks fuel up on natural gas rather than dirty coal

According to “Tomorrow’s Trucks: Leaving the Era of Oil Behind,” a report released yesterday by the national nonprofit organization Energy Vision, there has been a rapid rise in the use of natural gas to fuel trucks — a tenfold increase over the past five years

Tom Johnson – NJ Spotlight


Ridgewood bars councilman’s business from municipal worker after bill controversy

RIDGEWOOD — A communications firm owned by Councilman Thomas Riche will no longer conduct business with the village, the council decided during its meeting Wednesday night.

Chris Harris – The Record


Can New Jersey insure against the next Sandy

The impact of climate change goes far beyond the obvious issues of public safety and disaster planning, participants stressed during a conference held yesterday at Rutgers University.

New Jersey should be considering future costs, long-term health risks, and even social justice issues when considering how to deal with a warming climate, they said. The good news is that there are some creative ideas on how to deal with the varied effects of climate change, regardless of its cause.

John Hurdle- NJ Spotlight


Insurance premiums after ACA kicks in are a mystery

Whether health insurance rates under the Affordable Care Act will rise or fall is still a big unknown, as a recent congressional report made clear. Two large New Jersey insurers submitted widely divergent estimates for the future cost of insurance premiums — one saying they could rise as much as 19 percent, another saying they could fall by up to 25 percent. In addition, one insurer said premiums for small businesses would rise by 16 percent.

Andrew Kitchenman- NJ Spotlight

Morning News Digest – May 23, 2013