PolitickerNJ News Digest: April 21st

Sweeney, left, with Mercury's Mo Butler.

Sweeney, left, with Mercury’s Mo Butler.

Good morning, it’s Thursday, and talk in and around Trenton are of state takeovers – of Atlantic City and school districts while national politics visited the state in the form of Heidi Cruz.

Quote of the Day: “If we’re going to start pulling aid away from half the school districts in the state, I do think it can’t be just a proclamation by me and the state aid notice. There has to be a legislative change,” – Department of Education Comissioner David Hespe, on the legislature’s need to address the state’s school funding formula.

Wimberly: ‘We Must Look at State Takeover Districts with More Concern’
Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-35) issued the following statement regarding today’s conversation with the NJ Department of Education Commissioner Hespe.
Politicker Staff, PolitickerNJ Read more

Heidi Cruz Visits New Jersey
Just one day after Texas Senator Ted Cruz suffered a staggering loss to Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump in New York, his wife, Heidi Cruz, ventured across the river to address her husband’s New Jersey supporters.
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNJ Read more

The 15 Most Influential LGBT Officials and Advocates in NJ Politic
As Garden State Equality named a new executive director this week, the rush of support from elected officials like Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-06) and Senate president Steve Sweeney (D-3) gave an indication of how far New Jersey has come on LGBT issues. The political valence of pro-LGBT stances has turned on a dime in the time since the state allowed its first same-sex civil union in 2007.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

Racial Profiling by Police Takes Center Stage in Bloomfield
A place card bearing the name “Mayor Michael Venezia” sat on the table at Carteret School in Bloomfield on Tuesday, sandwiched between Senator Ronald Rice (D-28) and Councilman Joe Lopez, Venezia’s archrival as they compete for the Democratic nomination for mayor in the June 7th primary election.
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Menendez Event Next Month Has a 2018 Vibe
Signaling 2018 intentions in absolute defiance of a tough luck under-indictment story line, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) will have his annual Meadowlands campaign fundraiser in May with special guest Yankees bulldog Lou Pinella.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

NJ DOE Faces Assembly Scrutiny on ‘Unfair’ School Funding
Following the Democratic majority’s rejection of changes to New Jersey’s school funding formula in the legislature last month, DOE Comissioner David Hespe said Wednesday that he believes lawmakers are better suited for making changes to the formula than the department in addressing the uneven distribution of money to under and over-funded schools. Lawmakers from both parties criticized the department and the administration of Governor Chris Christie for their inability to effect the necessary changes to the formula since Christie issued an executive order on school funding in 2012.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

Norcross and Challenger Alex Law to Debate in CD1
U.S. Representative Donald Norcross will debate progressive challenger Alex Law in Deptford twice before the primary election that will see them square off for the nomination in the first congressional district.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

March at the U.S. Supreme Court
While the debate continues regarding Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement, the remaining eight justices were hard at work in the month of March. The justices issued 13 opinions, most notably a 4-4 tie in the biggest labor case to reach the Supreme Court in years. They also heard oral arguments in several high-profile cases, including those involving the Affordable Care Act and abortion restrictions.
Donald Scarinci, PolitickerNJ Read more

AG’s Office: Lucchese Crime Family Boss Sentenced to Prison
Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy announced that Joseph Napoli, a ruling boss of the New York-based Lucchese crime family, was sentenced to state prison today as a result of Operation Heat, an investigation by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice that uncovered an international criminal gambling enterprise that transacted billions of dollars in wagers, primarily on sporting events, and relied on extortion and violence to collect debts.
Politicker Staff, PolitickerNJ Read more

OAG: Seven More Charged with Filing False Sandy Applications
Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy announced that seven additional individuals were charged criminally today with filing fraudulent applications for federal relief funds related to Superstorm Sandy. Since March 2014, the Attorney General’s Office has filed criminal charges against 57 people for allegedly engaging in this type of fraud, including the seven individuals charged today.
Politicker Staff, PolitickerNJ Read more

How Trump can be beaten in NJ (Ok, it’s a long shot)
It’s gut-check time for Republicans in New Jersey: Do they really want to help Donald Trump get over the finish line?
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger Editorial Board Read more

Christie heading to Indiana for meetings with Donald Trump
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is heading to Indiana for political meetings with Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump.
Associated Press Read more

Feud between Sweeney and Prieto over competing Atlantic City plans continues
Discord between state Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto grew more intense Wednesday after they met for an hour to discuss Atlantic City’s financial crisis.
Salvador Rizzo, The Record Read more

Computer glitch forces postponement of PARCC tests in New Jersey
A computer glitch that shut down the PARCC testing system on Wednesday morning was still being fixed as of 5 p.m., said the testing company, but state officials said they expected testing to resume Thursday morning.
Staff Reports, The Record Read more

N.J. panel strikes down police camera law over funding
A law requiring all new police vehicles in New Jersey to be equipped with cameras was struck down by a state panel Wednesday that ruled it didn’t include enough money for towns to implement the requirement.
Associated Press Read more

Bernards offers second chance to submit mosque proposal
The township Planning Board has given the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge a second opportunity to submit a revised plan to build a mosque in Liberty Corner, the attorney for the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge confirmed Wednesday.
Dave Hutchinson, NJ.com Read more

Charter backers, ‘machine politics’ make mark on Newark school board vote
Tuesday’s sweep of the city’s school board elections by a so-called “Unity” slate is being hailed as both a victory against the often hostile rhetoric surrounding education in Newark and a sign of a new wrinkle in local politics.
Dan Ivers, NJ.com Read more

PolitickerNJ News Digest: April 21st