Morning News Digest: June 27, 2013



Morning News Digest: June 27, 2013

By Matt Arco



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Poll: Booker holds commanding lead; Christie approval rating at 70 percent


Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Gov. Chris Christie continue to be among the most popular politicians in the state, at least according to a new poll from Kean University.


Booker holds a huge lead over his four rivals in the U.S. Senate primary, while Christie’s approval ratings are at 70 percent according to the poll of 1,000 likely voters. (Isherwood/PolitickerNJ)



Obe resurfaces on Roselle Board of Education with aye vote for new insurance contract


She lost districtwide, but Roselle Board of Education President Donna Obe voted for a winning insurance contract connected to a local ally otherwise badgered by politics and charges of insurance fraud.


In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Obe and fellow Board member Tony Esposito took the lead in dumping Hub Insurance’s health insurance contract for 400 some-odd district employees and instead hiring Alamo Insurance of North Bergen. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Gay marriage advocates see Supreme Court decision as ‘game changer’ for N.J.


TRENTON – The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today that struck down a provision of federal law that denied marriage benefits to gay couples could be a “game changer” in New Jersey, according to Garden State gay rights advocates.


The groundbreaking decision, while only applying to states that recognize same-sex marriages, is setting the stage for a legal battle in New Jersey some advocates predict will have rippling effects here sooner rather than later. (Arco/PolitickerNJ)



Myers to serve as executive director of the Democratic State Committee


Justin Myers will be the Democratic State Committee’s new executive director, according to two sources close to the committee. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Lonegan reams ‘activist’ Supreme Court


Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Mayor Steve Lonegan slammed the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



HCDO backs Booker for U.S. Senate


Hudson County pols don’t appear overly Twitter-friendly.


But they love Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s U.S. Senate candidacy, apparently.


Today, Hudson County Democratic Organization Chairman Vincent Prieto announced that the HCDO is officially endorsing Cory Booker for U.S. Senate in the upcoming special primary election. The Newark Mayor will be awarded the HCDO ballot slogan and will have the full support of the county organization. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Christie slams high court, calls DOMA ruling a ‘bad decision’ 


Hours after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling today striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Gov. Chris Christie maintained his opposition to same-sex marriage and lambasted the high court.


“It’s just another example of judicial supremacy rather than having the government run by the people we actually vote for,” he said of the high court’s 5-4 vote during his monthly radio show on NJ 101.5 FM. “I thought it was a bad decision.” (Portnoy/Star-Ledger)



DOMA ruling’s impact on N.J. unclear as Christie stands ground against same-sex marriage


The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that gay couples cannot be denied federal benefits essentially leaves proponents of same-sex marriage in New Jersey two options: cobbling together a veto-proof majority in the Legislature, which advocates acknowledge doesn’t presently exist, or pursuing action in the courts.


As Governor Christie held fast to his personal belief that gay couples should not have the right to marry, gay-marriage proponents pressed forward on the legal front on Wednesday, announcing that they would ask a state Superior Court judge to extend marriage rights to gay couples in the Garden State. (Campisi/The Record)



Christie says Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA ‘was wrong’


Governor Christie held fast to his personal belief that gay couples should not have the right to marry despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Wednesday morning that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.


Christie, who last year vetoed a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage in New Jersey, dodged questions about the court ruling earlier Wednesday, but was asked about it again during his monthly radio show. (Reitmeyer/The Record)



Status of civil service changes uncertain as N.J. Democrats move to block them


A controversial proposal backed by Governor Christie that would alter the state’s civil service system is stalled in a commission led by a Christie appointee.


Neither the governor’s office nor the Civil Service Commission — which, Wednesday morning, passed on its second opportunity to enact the proposal — is commenting on why the changes aren’t moving forward. (Linhorst/The Record)



Christie says would veto same-sex marriage bill again


Gov. Chris Christie says he would veto a same-sex marriage bill again.


Appearing on TownSquare Media’s “Ask the Governor,” Christie said Wednesday he remains opposed to gay marriage but is willing to put the question to voters. (AP)



Newark serves as resume for Booker’s Senate run


It took two years and the effort of three different agencies to open a police mini-precinct on Market Street, another sign of renewal in this city’s battered downtown. But the ribbon-cutting last week started early and ended quickly — thanks to the hurried-up schedule of its star, Mayor Cory Booker. Brief remarks, handshakes all around, and Booker was in his SUV and headed for a day of Senate campaigning outside the city. (USA Today)



N.J. couple at front of fight for gay marriage say state isn’t there yet


Married 21 years ago by a Reform rabbi in Edison, Marsha Shapiro and Louise Walpin have their Jewish marriage certificate hanging on the wall on the stairwell of their Monmouth Junction home.


Last year, they got married in New York, a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. (Spoto/Star-Ledger)



Legal titans battle in federal court over future of sports betting in N.J.


Lawyers for New Jersey and the nations’ top athletic leagues battled today before a federal appeals court over whether the state had the right to legalize sports betting, arguing in a case that could decide the future of a multi-billion-dollar industry and much more.


The dispute, expected to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court, deals with some lofty legal issues that the high court grappled with as recently as this week. But for New Jersey, it comes down to some simple questions with no clear answers: Does Congress have the right to tell states which laws they can and can’t pass? And if it does have that right, must it treat all states equally? (Hutchins/Star-Ledger)



Rutgers board may have to give consent for own elimination, legislative office says


Any attempt to dismantle the Rutgers University board of trustees may have to be approved by that board, according to an opinion written today by the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services.


The document – requested by Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) and obtained by The Star-Ledger – comes as lawmakers, led by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), have fast-tracked a bill that would dissolve the university’s 59-member board of trustees and give its powers to the 11-member board of governors. (Friedman/Star-Ledger)



For N.J.’s gay couples, Supreme Court ruling brings almost no change

Josh Vandiver got a life-changing birthday present today from the U.S. Supreme Court.


Vandiver, who turns 32 today, has been married to Henri Velandia for seven years. For all of that time, the New Jersey couple has been living in legal limbo. (Rizzo/Star-Ledger)



In N.J., battle lines remain intact


Backers of same-sex marriage in New Jersey were reinvigorated Wednesday, with Democratic lawmakers said to be contemplating an attempt to override Gov. Christie’s veto of a bill that sought to legalize it.


But Christie had nothing but scathing words for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upending the federal Defense of Marriage Act, dismissing the ruling as “wrong” and “typical” of the judicial activism that he says he perceives in the state high court. (Mondics & Giordano/Inquirer)



Report: Beachgoers should be careful of what’s in the water 


When beachgoers take to the water at the New Jersey Shore and elsewhere, they may expect to come away with a nasty sunburn if they are not careful.


But the Natural Resources Defense Council, in its 23d annual good-news-bad-news report on the nation’s beaches released Wednesday, contends that beach lovers may be in for more than they bargained for these days in the form of dysentery, hepatitis, stomach flu, and rashes. (Urgo/Inquirer)



From the Back Room 



“No work” attorney still has contract with North Bergen


An attorney who resigned from the city of North Bergen earlier this year after the state comptroller cited him for collecting a salary while performing no discernible legal work still has a separate contract with the city as an outside counsel.


According to a spokesman for the city, the attorney, Eric Bal, bills about $10,000 per year to act as the attorney for the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. (Isherwood/PolitickerNJ)






Christie’s gay marriage veto, and how to get past it: Editorial 


Celebrate the Supreme Court’s decisions on gay marriage for a moment, but not for long.


Because none of it helps the thousands of gay couples in New Jersey who remain the victims of official discrimination by our state government, thanks entirely to Gov. Chris Christie. (Star-Ledger)

  Morning News Digest: June 27, 2013