Morning Digest: Dec. 27, 2013

Menendez targets Target hacking trouble  

JERSEY CITY – Standing in front of a local Target store, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) today said he wants a full briefing by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding last week’s security breach at Target Corporation retail stores.

“Our country’s consumers depend upon safe and secure transactions, and especially at this crucial time of year, our country’s retailers must commit to fulfilling that expectation,” Menendez said in a letter to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “Unfortunately, these data breaches are becoming increasingly common.”

Target said a data breach at its stores impacted 40 million credit and debit card accounts, compromising customers’ names, card information and security codes.

The breach occurred between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)





Prieto taps Gardner, Messenger, Cirillo to staff Speaker’s Office

 Assembly Speaker-elect Vincent Prieto (D-32) on Friday announced Steve Gardner will serve as the Assembly Majority Office’s executive director, Mary Alice Messenger as Chief of Staff to the Speaker in Trenton and Cosmo Cirillo as a senior advisor to the Speaker.

The moves are effective when the Assembly reorganizes on Jan. 14.

“I’m very excited to announce this team,” said Prieto. “With Steve, Mary and Cosmo, I know I will have the best team in Trenton, and that it will prove to be a force when it comes to advocating for the people of our state and the Assembly Democratic Majority caucus. I look forward to seeing their hard-work paying off for everyone’s benefit.”

Gardner, a graduate of Syracuse University and Rutgers-Camden Law School, is currently a deputy executive director at the Assembly Majority Office and senior advisor to Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-6). (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)






Poll: Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie in a draw

 Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are in a virtual tie in a hypothetical 2016 presidential matchup, but Clinton holds a strong lead against eight other potential GOP contenders, according to a poll released Thursday.

The CNN/ORC International poll has Christie leading Clinton 48 percent to 46 percent among registered voters nationally, within the survey’s margin of error. The New Jersey governor polls ahead among independent voters and men, while Clinton holds a strong lead among women. Neither Christie nor Clinton have announced their intentions to run for president, but both are widely considered to be strong potential candidates. (DelReal/Politico)





Barack Obama signs budget bill

 President Barack Obama has signed a bill that provides a broad outline for the federal budget through 2015 and eases some of sequestration’s cuts, the White House said Thursday.

 The Bipartisan Budget Act restores a total of $63 billion in discretionary funding to the Defense Department and some domestic agencies in 2014 and 2015, but also includes $85 billion in deficit reduction. (Epstein/Politico)




Funding obtained for wetlands research in Meadowlands

The research arm of the Meadowlands Commission has received a federal grant to study seven wetland areas within the region that have been targeted for restoration.

Researchers plan to study the diversity of plant life in the seven areas, the prevalence of invasive plant species, and factors that could prevent the wetlands from functioning effectively, like man-made barriers to tidal action and the proximity of old landfills to the sites.

The scientists will also study wetlands heights and tidal flows and how much the wetlands habitat is fragmented by man-made intrusions, including roads, tidal gates and berms.

The information collected will help researchers develop criteria for long-term wetlands restoration and to prioritize restoration efforts in the Meadowlands. The ultimate goal is “increasing the quality and quantity of urban wetlands,” according to the commission’s grant proposal.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency will provide $235,000, and the Meadowlands Commission will contribute $100,500 in matching funds for the project. (O’Neill/The Record) 






NJ Dems wait to see if Van Drew will run for House

 ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The Democratic Party leaders from six southern New Jersey counties say they will not endorse a 2nd District congressional candidate before learning whether state Sen. Jeff Van Drew will run for the seat.

The county chairman all signed a letter laying out the agreement, as reported by The Press of Atlantic City ( ).

The chairmen says they want to give Van Drew a chance to run if he wants since he handily won re-election in his district even though Republican Gov. Chris Christie carried it bb an overwhelming margin.

Republican U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo has held the seat since 1995. But Democrats have been targeting the district for 2014.

Bill Hughes Jr, the son of former U.S. Rep. William Hughes, has already announced that he is running as a Democrat. (Associated Press)   






Construction completed on New Jersey State Police Marine Barracks in Carteret

 CARTERET — Construction of a new $1.4 million New Jersey State Police marine barracks adjacent to Waterfront Park has been completed.

The project, funded by a federal grant from the Department of Homeland Security, was first proposed in 2012 through a partnership between the state police and the borough’s administration.

The building is located on a 1-acre site previously used as a trailer storage lot for the former occupants, along Carteret’s Arthur Kill waterfront redevelopment area overlooking the borough’s planned marina project.

Construction on the 4,350-square-foot police barracks began in early January. The structure houses a unit of the Marine Services Division of the New Jersey State Police, which is relocating from Newark Bay in Essex County and will patrol New Jersey waterways in the greater New York harbor, north of the area handled by the Monmouth Beach station.

A Port Security Grant from the American Recovery and Investment Act provided a $1,442,000 grant for the project funding, covering both planning and construction.  (Asbury Park Press) 




Weinberg says port Authority is late on GWB freedom of information law request 

TRENTON — State Sen. Loretta Weinberg says her Freedom of Information Act request for documents involving September’s controversial closing of George Washington Bridge local access lanes is a week overdue.

In a letter today to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridge, Weinberg (D-Bergen) said her request for any electronic or paper documents related to the Sept. 9-13 lane closures should have been delivered to her on Dec. 19.

“To this date, my office has not received any documents or explanation for your lack of response,” Weinberg, the Senate majority leader, wrote to Daniel Duffy, the agency’s FOIA administrator.

In an interview with The Star-Ledger, Weinberg said, “They ignore the press, that’s bad enough, but I am the majority leader of the State Senate.” (Strunsky/Star-Ledger) 



Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton neck and neck for presidency in 2016, CNN poll shows

TRENTON — If the next presidential election were held today, Gov. Chris Christie would be neck and neck with Hillary Clinton, according to new national poll.

The CNN/ORC International poll released this evening shows Christie leading Clinton 48 percent to 46 percent among registered voters,according to .

Christie’s lead is within the poll’s margin of error. But he the only potential Republican contender who does not trail Clinton by a significant margin.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland told the network’s website that Christie wins 6 in 10 independents and beats Clinton in the Midwest. Clinton has a narrow lead in the northeast, Holland said, while the two are tied in the south and west.

Christie leads Clinton by 14 points among men, while Clinton leads by 10 points among women, according to the poll. (Friedman/Star-Ledger) 



From the Back Room


Carney appointed to NJ Casino Fund Advisory Commission

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) appointed James A. Carney of Egg Harbor Township to the New Jersey Casino Revenue Fund Advisory Commission.

“Jim has a wealth of business and governmental experience that will serve the Commission well,” said Senator  Jim Whelan (D-2), who announced the appointment. “I know he will be a strong voice for seniors and the disabled who benefit from programs paid for by the Casino Revenue Fund.”

Eight percent of yearly casino gross receipts are deposited into the Casino Revenue Fund to provide crucial funding for health care, transportation, and housing services for New Jersey’s seniors and disabled. The 2014 Casino Revenue Fund budget is $435.8 million. (PolitickerNJ)

Morning Digest: Dec. 27, 2013