Morning Digest: September 23rd

Sources: pen/ben debacle going back to 2011 worsens Newark’s woes

They already knew the financial situation was bad in Newark – but it turns out it’s worse. In a conversation with the front office this morning in Trenton, Newark lawmakers expressed worry about the state’s relative sparse offering of additional transitional aid to the fiscally downtrodden city – $13 million – only to find out from others in their midst about yet another problem. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Senate passes Weinberg and Gordon’s Port Authority reform bill 38-0

TRENTON – The ongoing toxic gurgle of Bridgegate consumed an already beleaguered state for a year, putting late night talk show wise guys into overdrive, hobbling an ambitious Gov. Chris Christie’s national profile – and prompting the New Jersey Senate this afternoon to pass S2181, which concentrates reforms for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



At Senate Judiciary hearing, Doherty unfazed by Fox’s shining background

TRENTON – In the midst of shining positivity from other members on the Senate Judiciary Committee here today, State Sen. Mike Doherty sat unfazed by Jamie Fox — Gov. Chris Christie’s nominee to be the next commissioner of the Department of Transportation — and his long resume of politicking in New Jersey and elsewhere. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)



Senate Judiciary Committee releases Christie’s nomination for next DOT Commissioner

TRENTON – Jamie Fox — longtime Democratic political strategist and former transportation commissioner under then-governor Jim McGreevey — is set to return to the Department of Transportation following a Senate Judiciary hearing here today. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)



Lesniak on Chivukula to BPU: ‘my abstention speaks for itself’

TRENTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee mostly enthusiastically backed Gov. Chris Christie’s nominee to the Board of Public Utilities, over a reluctant no vote from Sen. Mike Doherty (R-23) and one notable abstention. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Senate Judiciary release Mroz, Chivukula as state BPU commissioners

TRENTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee approved two nominees to the state’s Board of Public Utilities at its meeting here today. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)



Wisniewski leads Transportation Committee discussion on Port Authority reforms

TRENTON – Under pressure from Gov. Chris Christie to end his investigation, and facing questions from leadership in his own party about the future role of the joint legislative committee looking into Bridgegate, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19) this morning laid out his ideas for reforming the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Doherty giving Christie ‘the benefit of the doubt’ in Fox nomination

TRENTON – State Sen. Mike Doherty’s (R-23) grilling of Jamie Fox, Gov. Chris Christie’s nominee to serve as the state’s next Department of Transportation Commissioner, was the highlight of this morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)



Menendez calls Scotland’s vote to stay in U.K. “a message to separatist movements across the globe”

JERSEY CITY – Days after Scotland’s voters decided to vote no on independence by a 55 percent to 45 percent margin, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) looked at the vote as an example of well-engaged democracy in action. (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)



NJ bill would allow military to defer property taxes during war deployment

Enlisted military members deployed during times of war would be able to defer paying property taxes under a bill released by the Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Committee Monday morning. (Hayes/The Bergen Record)



Fatal bear attack in West Milford preserve is first recorded in New Jersey in 150 years

WEST MILFORD — Around the Apshawa Preserve, residents seal garbage containers, bring their dogs inside and scrub their barbecue grills clean, daily chores to ensure that ever-present bears keep their distance. (Park, O’Neill/The Bergen Record)



Booker, Pascrell bills would target health care disparities among minorities

Michelle Machado, a case worker with the Hispanic Multi-Purpose Service Center in Paterson, sees HIV and AIDS patients all day long. She knows first hand that the most marginalized members of this community are the ones who have the biggest problems accessing good health care. (Cruz/NJTV)



Chris Christie builds profile as he eyes 2016 presidential run

Washington (CNN) — When he won re-election by a landslide last year, Chris Christie’s calling card became the Republ
ican who can get Democratic votes. This week, the New Jersey governor travels to three blue states — Illinois, Connecticut and Michigan — to show Republicans gubernatorial candidates how it’s done. (Bash/CNN)



NJ Assembly panel votes to let judges retire later

TRENTON — The Assembly Judiciary Committee today approved several measures today aimed at allowing judges to stay on the bench longer. (Friedman/NJ Advance Media)



Christie pick for transportation commissioner: raising gas tax can’t be ruled out

TRENTON — New Jersey’s incoming commissioner of the Department of Transportation is not ruling out raising the gasoline tax to pay for transportation projects. (Friedman/NJ Advance Media)



Morris sheriff wants his guns back, but needs court’s ok

MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County Sheriff Edward Rochford is seeking the return of his guns, which were seized by authorities after his wife obtained a temporary restraining order against him. (Horowitz/NJ Advance)



Christie: gaining friends and losing weight

Behind closed doors at David Koch’s Upper East Side apartment Friday night, Gov. Chris Christie told conservative donors that he has shed 85 pounds since undergoing weight loss surgery last year. The governor’s appearance – inside Mr. Koch’s sprawling 18-room duplex – was strictly off limits to the press, but a guest told us that Mr. Christie was pressed by donors about his health. (Confessore/The New York Times)



Gun reform advocates planning another protest for Chris Christie’s Connecticut RGA event today

TRENTON — Gun reform advocates who protested Gov. Chris Christie’s last visit to Connecticut plan to do it all over again when the governor makes a swing through the state today. (Arco/NJ Media Advance for



U.S. expands war against Islamic state with airstrikes in Syria

The United States and several Middle East partners pounded Islamic State targets in Syria Tuesday with waves of warplanes and Tomahawk cruise missiles in an aggressive and risky operation marking a new phase in the conflict. (Whitlock/The Washington Post)






Stile: Democrat tapped for another Christie crisis

Governor Christie, who pitched himself to voters as a tough-talking Trenton outsider and vowed to shake up the status quo, once again has turned to a veteran Democratic insider to pull him out of a political jam. (Stile/The Bergen Record)




Chris Christie isn’t out from under Bridgegate just yet

Some members of the media have been echoing Chris Christie’s long-stated assertion that he is scandal-free. Just one small problem: There is no evidence to suggest that is true. (Nuzzi/The Daily Beast)







Morning Digest: September 23rd