PolitickerNJ News Digest: Jan. 7th

Atlantic City casinos

Good Thursday morning. In politics, the state legislature meets today for the first time in the new year and the rhetoric continues in the battle over how to bring casinos to northern New Jersey.

Quote of the Day: “If we don’t get this done, everybody loses. Whichever of the two bills gets done, Steve Sweeney can claim victory – even if it’s our bill,” – Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, on the need to approve one of two proposed ballot measures to expand casino gaming in New Jersey.

Legislative Preview: January 7
Today is a session day in Trenton, and the agenda will be topped by committee hearings on the raft of constitutional amendments proposed by the Democrats. Amendments on gaming expansion, quarterly pension payments, the gas tax and new redistricting guidelines will all be getting public hearings as the Assembly and Senate approach the end of lame duck.
Politicker Staff, PolitickerNJ Read more

Building Trades Leaders Appeal to Prieto to Back Sweeney’s Casino Bill
Running into the middle of a conflagration caused by two competing bills on northern casinos, Bill Mullen, president of the New Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council, welded himself – and a brace of allies – to the version put forward by former ironworker Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3).
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Fulop Wants to Debate Sweeney on Casinos Question
Embroiled in a flap over the provisions of two competing bills that would govern the wording of a proposed northern casino ballot question, with a bill backed by Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop on one side and a second bill supported by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) on the other, Fulop today challenged Sweeney to a public television debate.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Sweeney: No Time for ‘Manufactured Theatrics with Mr. Fulop’
A short time after Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop issued a challenge to Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) to debate the specifics of northern casinos, the office of the Senate President issued a response, brushing aside Fulop’s entreaty as high blown dramaturgy.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Source: the Only Way to Break the Casinos Impasse
As Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) brawled over which of their two bills would better package a casinos referendum question, a source offered perspective.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Wisniewski: “I Support Donald Norcross for Congress”
After endorsing for senator Bernie Sanders, the independent progressive whose grassroots campaign has proved competitive with establishment Democrat Hillary Clinton, Assemblyman and 2017 gubernatorial candidate John Wisniewski (D-19) told PolitickerNJ that his endorsement is not a sign he will stray from the party in any other 2016 race.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

Unions, Legislators and the 2017 Gubernatorial Race
Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) is arguably the most powerful elected Democrat in the state of New Jersey. He is also an ironworker by trade and holds a job as the Vice-President of the International Association of Iron Workers.
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Public Policy Poll: Trump up by 14 Points in New Hampshire
A Public Policy Poll today of the Republican contenders in New Hampshire poll finds real estate maven Donald Trump leading his rivals in the Granite State by 14 points.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

AG: Former Birdsall Exec McFadden Pleads Guilty to Misconduct
A former executive of Birdsall Services Group pleaded guilty today to participating in a criminal scheme in which hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate political contributions were illegally made through employees of the firm to evade New Jersey’s pay-to-play law. Two other former employees previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
Politicker Staff, PolitickerNJ Read more

Alex Law Prepares Volunteers for Final Months of Campaign
Gearing up for the deciding push of a campaign that has seen the 24 year-old former IBM consultant take one of South Jersey’s most established candidates, Alex Law readied his volunteers for five final months of canvassing Wednesday night at his campaign headquarters.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

Let voters decide whether N.J. should fulfill its pension obligation
The voters of this state know a financial obligation when they see it. Buy a house, pay the mortgage. Taxpayers don’t get to renege on the deal after they’ve signed the contract, whether property taxes rise, interest rates sink or they want to live in a different neighborhood.
Charles Wowkanech, Star-Ledger Read more

Christie still silent on change of Bergen County prosecutor
When it became clear two months ago that Governor Christie wouldn’t renominate longtime Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli for a third term, he said all the reasons for his decision-making would come out once a replacement was in office.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

Campaign goal for Christie is to stay on the attack
Chris Christie is not the only Republican candidate for president who pounced on President Obama’s executive actions to regulate gun sales.
Charles Stile, The Record Read more

N.J. Democrat calls GOP counterparts ‘misogynists’ for attempt to strip Planned Parenthood funding
A New Jersey Democrat in the House called her Republican counterparts “misogynists” on Wednesday for moving to strip funding for Planned Parenthood without regard to whether women could receive health services from other providers.
Herb Jackson, The Record Read more

N.J. ranks among worst in nation in ability respond to future recession: study
New Jersey is among U.S. states least equipped to respond to an economic downturn, according to a new study comparing states’ savings.
Samantha Marcus, NJ.com Read more

Christie goes Jersey in race but not on Trump
Chris Christie is finally delivering on promises to supporters to “bring a little Jersey’’ to the race for the Republican presidential nomination, blasting away at rivals Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich.
Bob Jordan, Asbury Park Press Read more

Prieto, Sweeney Split Over Revenue for Transportation Trust Fund
New Jersey needs a new plan for funding transportation projects in place by the middle of 2016, but it’s already possible to get a sense of at least the broad outlines of the scheme.
John Reitmeyer, NJSpotlight Read more

Spirit of Cooperation Evident at Newark Event
Atop Audible.com’s downtown Newark headquarters yesterday, business leaders joined Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and city schools Superintendent Chris Cerf to announce a new scholarship and internship program for the city’s brightest graduates.
John Mooney, NJSpotlight Read more PolitickerNJ News Digest: Jan. 7th