Edison Stunner: Hahn beats Russomano by two votes in Dems’ Chairman fight
EDISON – It seems a cruel twist of fate – that a town like Edison – named in honor of American energy and ingenuity – should have a habitation as dysfunctional as that bureaucratic backwater called New Jersey, but high spirits nonetheless permeated what most expected would be this passing of the Bunson burner from octogenarian Edison Democratic Committee Chairman Doc Paterniti to his successor Anthony Russomano. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)
Ciattarelli v. Blistan: Public Pension debate spills into the streets
SOMERVILLE – On the eve of a court decision on a legal battle between Gov. Chris Christie and public sector labor, teacher members of the Somerset County Education Association (SCEA) stormed the downtown offices of LD16 Republican lawmakers demanding full payment of the public pension.
The state’s high court tomorrow is set to release its long-awaited decision over the state’s move to cut some $1.6 billion from a slated pension and benefits payment in 2015, according to an announcement by state judiciary officials. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)
In aftermath of Edgewater fire, construction code legislation considered by Senate committee
TRENTON – A mixed group of firefighters, labor leaders, local residents, architects and real estate developers descended on a state Senate community and urban affairs committee meeting in Trenton on Monday to debate an issue burning in their minds: should construction code regulations change statewide, especially in the aftermath of a Bergen County blaze earlier this year that torched an Edgewater apartment complex. (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)
Out-of-network consumer protection bill held at Senate Commerce Committee hearing
TRENTON — A controversial and complex consumer protection bill aimed at shoring up rising out-of-network healthcare prices in New Jersey was held from a vote at the Senate Commerce Committee’s hearing today, as parties both supporting and opposing the legislation debated its details and merits.
Dubbed the “Out-of-Network Consumer Protection, Transparency, Cost Containment and Accountability Act,” S20/A4444 aims to make the amount that health care providers bill to patients and insurers more transparent, and has been heavily lobbied by hospital and insurance representatives in Trenton over the last several weeks. Proponents of the bill have lauded it as a consumer advocacy measure, one that would protect customers from price-gouging and “surprise” billing by out-of-network doctors and hospitals. But opponents say otherwise, arguing the bill threatens to suppress out-of-network physicians’ ability to negotiate fair pay, or that it does nothing to require insurance companies to pay more reasonable rates. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)
Rice “not sure” casino good idea for Newark
TRENTON – State Senator Ron L. Rice (D-28) expressed serious reservations about the present push to put a casino in his Newark hometown, even with a charge to build a casino in New Jersey’s largest city led by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo.
“I’m not even sure where in Newark you would put a casino, given the land situation,” said Rice moments after a Senate Community and Urban Affairs meeting at the State House in Trenton on Monday. “I do know that we have to look to place casinos elsewhere in the state if we’re going to bring revenue back that’s now going out of the state. The question is where.” (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)
Thompson sees ‘no particular reason’ to limit gaming to North Jersey
TRENTON — As the rest of his region’s lawmakers rally behind a proposed constitutional amendment to expand casinos beyond Atlantic City, state Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) said today that he’s open to the prospect not just in Central Jersey, but anywhere in the state where the benefits of gaming could be realized.
“I see not only Central Jersey, but Ocean County and up. There’s a lot of discussion by various legislators indicating that this would be a good idea. I don’t see any particular reason to limit it to [North Jersey or Atlantic City],” Thompson, whose district includes parts of Middlesex and Monmouth Counties, told PolitickerNJ. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)
Central Jersey lawmakers drop their own constitutional amendment into casino debate
Trenton’s casino wars continue.
Following up on their “what-about-us?” complaint last week amid debate on the prospect of North Jersey casinos, lawmakers in Central Jersey are set to introduce their own constitutional amendment that would expand gaming beyond a beleaguered Atlantic City — this time to both north and central regions of the state, as opposed to just north. The new legislation, expected to drop this afternoon, would authorize the establishment of one gambling hall within the boundaries of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, or Union counties, and one within the boundaries of Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset, or Warren. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)
Report: Christie accused of breaking grand jury law
Fallout from Bridgegate continues to plague New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
David Wildstein, the former Port Authority official who pleaded guilty for his role in the closure of access lanes on the George Washington Bridge, wrote in a sworn statement last week that the governor broke the law by revealing information about a grand jury proceeding he had overseen, The New York Times reported late Sunday. (Gass/Politico)
Chris Christie’s Financial Supporters Say Don’t Count the Man Out Yet
Some of Chris Christie’s early financial backers are sticking it out, saying the New Jersey governor’s troubles may make him a better candidate if he is chosen for the first Republican presidential debate.
The George Washington Bridge traffic scandal? Republicans will get over it, said Home Depot Inc. co-founder Ken Langone. Christie’s high negative ratings? The more people get to know him, the more they’ll like him, said New York investor Nick Loeb. His polling in the middle of a crowded field? The Nov. 8, 2016, election is a long way off, said Bobbie Kilberg, a Republican donor and fundraiser. (Dopp/Bloomberg)
Mayor de Blasio Tells New Jersey to Reject Deal With Exxon
New Jersey’s proposed $225 million pollution settlement with Exxon Mobil Corporation has a prominent and new opponent: the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, which has asked that the deal be rejected, saying it “appears wholly inadequate.”
The agreement, reached by Gov. Chris Christie’s administration earlier this year, seeks to end a decade of litigation in which New Jersey demanded $8.9 billion in compensation for natural resource damage to more than 1,500 acres of wetlands and marshes at refinery sites once owned by Exxon in Bayonne and Linden. (Weiser/The New York Times)
New Jersey uses ‘one-shot’ budget-balancing maneuvers: study
(Reuters) – Many U.S. states balance their budgets by using short-term techniques to make it appear spending does not exceed revenue, according to a report released on Monday that singled out New Jersey for using these budget-balancing maneuvers.
The report by public policy nonprofit Volcker Alliance, founded by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, said New Jersey has produced a balanced budget by shifting resources intended for other programs to its general fund and increased borrowing. Governor Chris Christie is a potential Republican presidential contender in 2016. (DiNapoli/Reuters)
Panel Singles Out New Jersey For Budget Maneuvers
A panel of economic experts which took aim at the budgeting practices of three states facing long-term financial risk has found particular fault with New Jersey’s fiscal planning.
The nonpartisan budget watchdog group led by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker found that New Jersey is without “lasting solutions” to its budgeting challenges and has relied on too many short-term fixes to fill fiscal gaps.
“It’s not a secret. They know they have a problem,” William Glasgall, a program director with the Volcker Alliance, said during a news conference to release the report Monday.
In its inaugural analysis of state budgets, the Volcker Alliance found California and Virginia also faced budgetary risks. (Haddon/The Wall Street Journal)
In Atlantic City, A Silver Lining For Casinos Left Standing
New casinos are popping up all along the East Coast, giving Atlantic City a run for its money. Four casinos out of 12 in Atlantic City closed last year. But those closures have, in turn, helped the remaining gambling houses there.
Casino customers tend to be pretty loyal to one or two houses — to accrue rewards, or sometimes for other reasons.
“We like to bring the dog down once in a while because he likes to walk the boardwalk, go in the ocean,” says Patty Davis. She and her husband travel more than six hours to gamble in Atlantic City. (Jacobs/NPR)
Atlantic City to host public meeting on new rules for jitneys and taxis
City officials will hold a public meeting at noon June 16 in City Council chambers to discuss a new ordinance changing the rules for the city’s taxis, limousines, and jitneys.
City Council won’t vote on the bill until June 24, said Atlantic City Licensing and Inspection Director Dale Finch, allowing for additional public and industry input. (Santore/Press of Atlantic City)
Celebrities who visited Atlantic City during polio epidemic
The 1930s to the 1950s was a busy time for Atlantic City. The city and surrounding areas housed military bases for World War II while simultaneously providing an entertainment and vacation destination for celebrities.
While in the area for shows, military training or war-bond drives, celebrities met with children being treated for polio at Betty Bacharach Home for Crippled Children in Longport, which was first established as a children’s polio clinic. It later moved to Galloway Township and became the Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation. (Leonard/Press of Atlantic City)
Former Christie aide fined $500 for violating conflicts law
A former aide to Governor Christie has agreed to pay $500 for violating the state’s conflicts of interest law after she used her work e-mail account to discuss state business with her husband, an executive at the firm proposing a gas pipeline in the Pinelands.
Christina Renna, a former employee in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, which Christie disbanded last year after questions were raised about the unit’s involvement in the George Washington Bridge lane closures, signed a consent order with the State Ethics Commission acknowledging that she used her work e-mail account to correspond with her husband, an executive at a natural gas company with an interest in the state.. (Hayes/The Record)
Hillary Clinton scheduled to come to New Jersey to fundraise this month
Hillary Clinton will make her first scheduled New Jersey stop on the 2016 presidential trail on June 29th in Red Bank, a source told PolitickerNJ.
Rocker Jon Bon Jovi will host the fundraiser and play at the event, the source said. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)
Salters ends the DeFilippo era in Hillside
Tonight, the newly elected Hillside Democratic Committee voted in its first new chairman in 20 years, as Anthony Salters received unanimous backing and bumped Charlotte DeFillipo, formerly the chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.
Salters praised the work of the outgoing chairwoman, promising to work with the entire Democratic Committee for the betterment of Hillside. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)
Lonegan to serve as NJ chair for Cruz’s presidential campaign
Former Bogota mayor and longtime conservative candidate Steve Lonegan has found a home leading the New Jersey campaign of Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s burgeoning presidential bid.
According to an announcement by the Republican today, Lonegan has been named the New Jersey State Chair of Cruz’s presidential campaign, launched four months ago amid much fanfare. In a press release, the Tea Party standard bearer called Lonegan a “tireless advocate for taxpayers,” and praised his work as a conservative activist in the state. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)
Supreme Court to release pen/ben decision tomorrow
The state’s high court is set to release its long-awaited decision on a legal battle between Gov. Chris Christie’s administration and a cadre of public labor unions over the state’s move to cut some $1.6 billion from a slated pension and benefits payment in 2015, according to an announcement by state judiciary officials.
The verdict, which could have significant repercussions for the Republican’s burgeoning presidential bid, is expected to drop at 10 a.m. tomorrow. For more, see here. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)
SCR-163 passes Senate Environment and Energy Committee
The Senate Environment and Energy Committee released SCR-163 this morning, a resolution that would amend the state’s constitution in order to dedicate all money received through environmental contamination settlements — such as the state’s recent settlement with Exxon Mobil — for certain environmental purposes.
Sponsored by state Senator Bob Smith (D-19), the bill was introduced but held during the committee’s last meeting, amid concerns from members of the environmental community. Lawmakers removed a provision that would obligate settlement money to be put toward bond repayment, as well as added one that dedicated five percent of the money to administrative costs, and passed the bill today 4-1.
The bill also comes on the heels of recent protest surrounding the state’s $225 million settlement with Exxon Mobil, which is expected to be approved by a judge this month following a 60-day public comment period. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)
Drewniak: ‘a lovely gentleman’
Departing Sussex County GOP Chair Ailish Hambel occasionally encounters former Gov. Chris Christie Press Secretary Michael Drewniak where they both work at NJ Transit.
“A lovely gentleman,” is Hambel’s assessment of her co-worker.
For more, see Rob Jennings’ column here. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)
NJ pro-gun law protesters post up on Sweeney’s front lawn
A cadre of protesters calling for modernized gun laws in the state took their case to Woodbury yesterday, where they marched outside the home of Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3).
The top Democrat, they argued, is holding up certain gun control reforms that could help protect residents.
NBC Philly has the story. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)
NYT: Wildstein says Christie broke Grand Jury law
A new civil lawsuit involving embattled former Port Authority executive and Passaic County Sheriff Gerry Speziale accuses Gov. Chris Christie of further using the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to advance his political goals, according to a report by the New York Times.
Read it here. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)
Wefer running for 4th Ward Hoboken Council seat
Dana Wefer announced on Monday that she will be running for the 4th Ward Seat of the Hoboken City Council. The elections for City Council are on November 3rd and all six ward seats are up. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)