PolitickerNJ News Digest: August 11th

Sweeney, left, with Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21).

Sweeney, left, with Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21).

It’s Tuesday in New Jersey, where Chris Christie started the week by cleaning off the bills that had been piling up on his desk while he prepared for the GOP presidential debate. Read on to see what he signed, and what he kicked to the curb.
Sweeney critical of Christie after veto of pension prepayment bill
Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) upbraided Gov. Chris Christie this afternoon in response to the front office vetoing of Sweeney’s legislation (S-3107/A-4606) to have the state make use of $300 million in 2015 surplus as a 2016 prepayment into the state’s pension system.
(Max Pizarro, Politickernj.com)
Christie takes action on bills
Gov. Chris Christie’s spent five of every nine days this year campaigning out of state. But now he’s back and he’s busy. Roughly 100 pieces of legislation have been stacked on his desk since June. So a simple majority of senators — 21 — pulled a procedural maneuver called a quorum call to compel Christie to take action on Senate bills or let them become law without his John Hancock.
(NJTVNews.com)
Christie vetoes gun bill supported by N.J. Republicans and Democrats
Gov. Chris Christie on Monday rejected a bill that would have required people trying to erase their mental health records so they can purchase a firearm to first notify state and local police.
(Matt Arco, NJ.com)
Christie agrees to study later school start times
A new state law requires New Jersey’s Department of Education to study the feasibility and potential benefits or consequences of starting school later at middle and high schools.
(Adam Clark, NJ.com)
Christie blocks bill to allow transgender people to get new birth certificate
For the second time in two years, Gov. Chris Christie on Monday vetoed a bill that would have permitted people who underwent a clinical
sex change procedure to amend their gender designation on their birth certificates.
(Christopher Baxter, NJ.com)
Christie signs law criminalizing dog fighting in N.J.
Gov. Chris Christie on Monday signed legislation making dog fighting a criminal offense and adding it to a list of crimes that can be prosecuted under the same laws used to target organized crime members.
(Christopher Baxter, NJ.com)
Christie signs bills setting overhauls for imprisoned youth
Governor Christie has made reforming the criminal justice system a plank of his campaign for the White House, and on Monday signed into
law a set of overhauls for imprisoned youth in New Jersey, including how long they may be kept in solitary confinement.
(Dustin Raicioppi, The Record)
Amtrak rep: ‘I know of no viable alternative’ to 2025-timed Gateway program
If the earliest a new tunnel can be built is 2025, according to Steve Gardner of Amtrak, what happens between now and then if there is a
significant system failure, asked state Senator Robert Gordon (D-38), chairman of the Senate Oversight Committee.
“I know of no viable alternative,” Gardner told Gordon.
(Max Pizarro, Politickernj.com)
Amtrak contextualizes apology for July delays
Testifying this morning in front of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, Steve Gardner of Amtrak cited outdated, deteriorated
infrastructure – worsened by the impact of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 – as the culprit for massive train delays during the week of July 20th.
(Max Pizarro, Politickernj.com)
Lesniak wants to end shipment of endangered ‘trophy’ animals to N.J.
The case of Cecil the Lion, where American dentist Walter Palmer shot the animal dead in Africa, set the internet ablaze with many calling for prosecution of the animal’s killer. Now, on the heels of that case, state Senator Raymond Lesniak has called for bills (S-3146 and S-3416) that would prohibit the possession and transport of endangered animals into ports under Port Authority of New York and New Jersey jurisdiction. Bill S-3416 also expands existing legislation to include more animals like the African lion as protected species
(Alyana Alfaro, Politickernj.com)
Disabilities and shared services top agenda for Freeholder Silna Zur
According to Bergen County Freeholder Tracy Silna Zur, who was elected to first term on the board in 2012, her reelection in November would mean continued positive progress in New Jersey’s most northeastern county.
(Alyana Alfaro, Politickernj.com)
Booker brings Christie, Fox together for transportation sit-down
Amid conversations about the region’s public transportation crisis, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) reached out to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Gov. Chris Christie to schedule a sit-down among the parties of interest in the projected Gateway Program, sources tell PolitickerNJ.
(Max Pizarro, Politickernj.com)
Brown accuses Democrats of putting up possibly ‘unconstitutional’ PILOT bill
The debate over New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-3) and Senator Jim Whelan’s (D-2) payment in lieu of taxes bill continues to spark controversy as the Republican and Democratic sides attempt to find the best way for Atlantic City to improve its credit rating and draw new investment to the former gaming capital. The bill awaits the governor’s signature, with Atlantic County mayors and freeholders calling for a conditional veto.
(JT Aregood, Politickernj.com)
Controversy over Ocean County ballot position drawing
You be the judge.
An outraged Democrat sent in a link this evening to a video recording of Ocean County Clerk Scott Colabella (pictured) drawing the ballot order for Republicans and Democrats in Ocean County for the 2015 November General Election
(PolitickerNJ Editor, Politickernj.com)
Christie nominates Quintana, Crump to Sewerage Commission
Governor Chris Christie filed the following nominations with the State Senate. The Governor’s nominations are subject to the advice and consent of the State Senate.
(Max Pizarro, Politickernj.com)
Amtrak: Hard number for what NJ would pay for tunnel currently unknown
Following a presentation by an Amtrak representative Monday morning, state Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29) asked about how a proposed Gateway Program designed to relieve outdated infrastructure would alter or enhance Newark Penn Station.
(Max Pizarro, Politickernj.com)
Zur brings out a Lott of support at Stony Hill event
San Francisco 49s legend Ronnie Lott partied with Democrats Monday evening at the Stony Hill Inn in support of incumbent Bergen County Freeholder Tracy Zur.
(Max Pizarro, Politickernj.com)
State legislature inquires into pollution on the Shore
The Senate Environment and Energy Committee and the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee heard testimony on Monday to address pollution from reconstruction efforts in Barnegat Bay and other areas hit by Hurricane Sandy. The committee also praised the clean-up of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge while calling for stricter soil restoration standards for developers following major construction projects.
(JT Aregood, Politickernj.com)
Gardner Tells Sarlo that ARC would have Helped Amtrak
More tunnels into Manhattan would have helped alleviate a now deepened transportation crisis, Amtrak rep Steve Gardner admitted to state Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36) when prodded by the South Bergen lawmaker.
(Max Pizarro, Politickernj.com)
State energy master plan to get hearing
The state is kicking off hearings this week on what needs to be changed in New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan. One likely focus, at least for some, will be how will be how well it meshes with the Obama administration proposal to deal with global climate change.
(Tom Johnson, NJ Spotlight)
Ballot drawing held for Bayonne, other Hudson County school board elections
A ballot drawing at the Hudson County Clerk’s Office Monday determined the unofficial order in which school board candidates in Bayonne and other municipalities will appear on the ballot on Nov. 3.
(Jonathan Lin, The Jersey Journal)
Christie seeks to cash in on Republican debate with 2016 fundraising blitz
Gov. Chris Christie is hoping to cash in on what longtime supporters called a successful debate performance in last week’s nationally televised clash of 10 Republican presidential candidates.
(Matt Arco,NJ.com)
Booker says Voting Rights Act is threatened
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, marking the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, called for an end to voter-identification laws that he said were more about preventing minorities from voting than stopping fraud.
(Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com)
Judge: Christie need not release travel expense details
A state Superior Court judge has denied a request to compel the state to release new details about Gov. Chris Christie’s expenses while traveling out-of-state.
(Associated Press)
Tedesco calls for revamp of Bergen parks
Bergen County Executive James Tedesco has outlined an ambitious vision for the county parks system that calls for expanding existing
attractions, adding new ones and seeking out private-public partnership opportunities to help pay for them.
(John C. Ensslin, The Record)
West Milford councilman faces charges
A township councilman faces disorderly persons charges in an incident in which he allegedly tried to break a woman’s arm, pushed her into a dresser, smashed her cell phone when she tried to call 911, and eluded arrest when police arrived, a complaint says.
(Minjae Park, The Record)
Judge rules Stockton can find new Showboat buyer
Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez on Monday ruled that the contract between Stockton University and KK Ventures for the purchase of the former Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City was properly terminated and that Stockton is free to market and sell the Showboat.
(Diane D’Amico, The Press of Atlantic City)
PolitickerNJ News Digest: August 11th