PolitickerNJ News Digest: Jan. 21st


It’s Thursday in New Jersey, where political parties are in decline, committee assignments are made and the fight over Atlantic City continues

Quote of the Day: ““The Governor did not sign the PILOT legislation for one simple reason: Atlantic City government has been given over five years and two city administrations to deal with its structural budget issues and excessive spending. It has not. The Governor is not going to ask the taxpayers to continue to be enablers in this waste and abuse,” – Kevin Roberts, Director of Communications for the governor’s office.

Senate Committee Assignments
What are the new commitee assignments? We have them.
By Max Pizarro, PolitickerNj Read more

ELEC Report: Traditional Party Group Fundraising in ‘Long-Term Decline’
A Wednesday report released by New Jersey’s Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) reported that while Big Six committee spending doubled from 2014 to 2015, it still fell significantly short of previous years dating back to 2007.
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNj Read more

Guardian Attacks Sweeney-Led State Takeover in Open Letter
As Atlantic City grapples with the possibility of bankruptcy, Mayor Don Guardian is pushing back against a proposal from Senate President Steve Sweeney to bring in greater oversight with a state takeover. The state takeover would likely see Trenton sell the city’s water utility, and the defunct airport at Bader Field. See Guardian’s full open letter addressing Sweeney’s plan below.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNj Read more

Lagana Takes Aim at Estate and Inheritance Taxes
Assemblyman Joe Lagana (D-38) is making reform to New Jersey’s inheritance and estate taxes a priority for his second term in office. The Democrat has introduced a bill, A611, that would boost the current threshold for the estate tax from where it currently sits at $675,000 to $1.5 million. His plan also includes limiting the inheritance tax from impacting next-of-kin family members of a deceased person and shifting class c and class d beneficiary classifications.
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNj Read more

AC Looms Large as Prieto Announces Anti-Poverty Initiative
Assembly Speaker Vince Prieto (D-32) announced Wednesday that his anti-poverty initiative will begin in earnest this legislative session. Two conflicts loomed over the announcement — Prieto’s recently resolved feud with Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) over two new casinos in North Jersey, and the bad blood between Sweeney and Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNj Read more

Could a Presidential Candidate be declared the Winner before New Jersey Votes?
As a country, our most important day comes on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November every four years – It’s a Presidential Election Day. On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, voters across the country will line up at polling places to voice their opinion about who should serve as our next commander-in-chief. However, by that time, about 40% of the vote already will be in.
Christopher Durkin, PolitickerNj Read more

Riding the High Country: Longtime Outcast Allies Saddle up on Opposing GOP Sides
They seemed to stand together on a last strand on the western side of the state, a pair of GOP outlaws with the flat shadows of mostly barren downtown Flemington creating angles usually associated with Sam Peckinpaw pictures featuring Gordon MacCrae and Randolph Scott.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNj Read more

Menendez Got It Right on Iran
So far everything Senator Robert Menendez’s said about the Iran deal has proven to be true and accurate. Iran has caused one embarrassment after another for the Obama Administration, yet the administration stubbornly refuses to admit they made a mistake as they move forward to lift the asset freeze.
Donald Scarinci, PolitickerNj Read more

Plot Thickens as Republican Norcross Challenger Enters CD1 Race
With an opinion piece in the Courier-Post today, Republican newcomer Bob Patterson announced his candidacy for the 2016 congressional race in New Jersey’s first district. Should he get the nomination, Patterson will likely face incumbent U.S. Representative Donald Norcross, who faces a challenge in that district’s Democratic primary from grassroots progressive Alex Law.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNj Read more

Protecting Those Who Protect Us
With two of his many recent legislative vetoes, Governor Christie has sent a clear message to our child welfare workers, public safety workers and emergency responders: we expect you to risk your health and even your life to protect our children, our families and our communities but, should workplace hazards injure or sicken you, you are on your own.
Ann Twomey, PolitickerNj Read more

US Senators Secure Compensation for Iran Hostage Crisis Victims
The Iranian Hostage Crisis ended 35 years ago but, thanks to a coalition of U.S. Senators and Representatives led by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga), the victims are now slated to finally receive compensation for their 444 days in captivity all those years ago.
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNj Read more

N.J. bill would shield all police video, recordings of 911 calls from public view
Three towns in Sen. Paul Sarlo’s district are arguing before the state Supreme Court that they should not have to release records from a 2014 road chase in which police fatally shot a 23-year-old black man.
Salvador Rizzo and John C. Ensslin, The Record Read more

North Jersey Media Group sues Port Authority; says agency violated public records laws
North Jersey Media Group, publisher of The Record, has filed a lawsuit against the Port Authority claiming that the bi-state agency violated public records laws by denying access to internal documents.
Paul Berger, The Record Read more

Christie: ‘Stupid’ mandatory school recess bill deserved my veto
Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday said he vetoed legislation that would have guaranteed daily recess to New Jersey’s youngest elementary school children “because part of my job as governor is to veto the stupid bills. That was a stupid bill and I vetoed it.”
Claude Brodesser-Akner , NJ.com Read more

N.J. mayor says he is helping thousands of Cuban refugees come to U.S.
A Cuban-born N.J. mayor says that he is helping thousands of Cuban refugees come to America, and has used $200,000 of his own money so far to support refugees during their travels.
Laura Herzog, NJ.com Read more

Delaware River Port Authority chief’s $40K raise put on hold
The Delaware River Port Authority CEO who is still working with the same salary he had before his promotion will have to wait a little longer before the board of commissioners will decide on his raise.
Alex Young, NJ.com Read more

Menendez, Booker help block move to restrict Syrian refugees
U.S. Senate Democrats — including New Jersey’s Robert Menendez and Cory Booker — blocked action on legislation that would impose new restrictions on admitting Syrian refugees.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

Lawsuit alleging ‘political conspiracy’ in N.J. town tossed by judge
A federal lawsuit that is at the crux of a long-simmering political conflict in Washington Township has been tossed out of court.
Michelle Caffrey, NJ.com Read more

Christie defends right of gang members to buy guns. Seriously.
Is there any line that Gov. Chris Christie will not cross for the sake of his own ambition?
He is now defending the right of gang members to buy guns legally in New Jersey
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger Editorial Board Read more

Christie gives speech to state legislature — this time in N.H.
The setting was similar but the message couldn’t have been any different.
Just over a week after Gov. Chris Christie delivered a State of the State speech littered with jabs at Democrats in the New Jersey Assembly chambers, the Republican presidential hopeful pitched a bipartisan battle to New Hampshire’s lawmakers on their turf in the state capitol: Fighting substance abuse and the stigma of drug addiction.
Matt Arco, NJ.com Read more

How Christie’s ‘petulant child’ remark ranks in history of insulting a president
As bad as it may have sounded, Gov. Chris Christie’s “petulant child” insult hurled at President Obama last week on Fox News Sunday and then repeated at Thursday’s GOP presidential debate wasn’t quite as bad as one might think.
Enrique Lavin, NJ.com Read more

An Ocean County freeholder wants to pitch an idea for a movie to Hollywood studios — not a story, but a place.
With 44 miles of Atlantic coastline, boardwalks, beachfront mansions, colonial and Victorian-era architecture, thousands of acres of farmland and tens of thousands of acres of forested wilderness, and even a vineyard and an early 20th Century ghost town — Ocean County is one humongous backlot, explained Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari.
Erik Larsen, Asbury Park Press Read more

A.C. council members to return city cars
The council cars are being returned.
Council President Marty Small said all the cars will be brought back to City Hall by noon Thursday. Small will then hold a press conference in the City Hall lobby at 12:30 about the car issue.
Staff reports, The Press of Atlantic City Read more

EDITORIAL: Christie remains enemy of the environment
The lame-duck Legislature’s flurry of 11th-hour bills yielded more than 150 signatures and vetoes from Gov. Chris Christie Tuesday, and the overall results were largely predictable. Gun-rights advocates were pleased; Christie blocked anything with the scent of gun control. Elementary school kids probably won’t be happy; Christie didn’t approve a bill mandating 20 minutes a day for recess.
Daily Record Read more

PolitickerNJ News Digest: Jan. 21st