NJ Politics Digest: As Drought Worsens, State Sits on Secret Water Plan

It’s a rainy Wednesday in New Jersey, and while the precipitation is supposed to fall all day, concern remains about drought conditions in the state. Environmentalists are using the situation to call for the release of a long overdue, and likely politically unpopular, water usage plan, which is now 15 years overdue.
In Atlantic City, the state is facing a lawsuit from the new owner of the former Revel casino, who objects to state licensing requirements. As comedian Joe Piscopo ponders a GOP gubernatorial bid, he still has not reached out to the powerful head of the Ocean County Republicans, who seems more likely to back a run by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. Whoever is the next governor will have to deal with some housekeeping headaches at the office, as Gov. Chris Christie announced plans for a four-year renovation of the capital building, while also reiterating his desire to finish out his term – unless President-elect Donald Trump calls with an urgent job offer.

Quote of the Day: “When the draft plan is complete and ready for public comment, we will release it and schedule public hearings.” – Department of Environmental Protection Spokesman Bob Considine, on the ETA for a state water usage plan that is 15 years overdue.

As Drought Worsens, Renewed Call For Release of Long-Overdue Water Plan
As New Jersey’s drought worsens, state advisers on water supply are renewing their call on the Christie administration to release a blueprint for water planning that has not been publicly updated since 1996 despite a legal requirement to do so every five years.
Jon Hurdle, NJSpotlight Read more

Owner of former Revel casino sues New Jersey over licensing
The owner of New Jersey’s former Revel casino is channeling his inner Donald Trump, hoping to follow the President-elect as an Atlantic City casino mogul.
Associated Press Read more

The man who wants to send Christie to jail
Bill Brennan was a man on a self-professed mission on that Tuesday this past September when he drove from his home in Wayne to the federal courthouse in Newark.
Mike Kelly, The Record Read more

Judge to weigh special prosecutor in Christie-bridge case
A citizen activist is asking a New Jersey judge to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether Gov. Christie broke state law when he allegedly refrained from ordering his aides to stop a political payback scheme involving the George Washington Bridge in 2013.
Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Read more

United Airlines, passengers celebrate first flight from Newark to Cuba
The first commercial flight from Newark to Cuba took off Tuesday morning after passengers received a celebratory welcome at the departure gate decorated with blue and white balloons while salsa music played and Cuban food was served.
Monsy Alvarado, The Record Read more

Gilmore: No call from Joe Piscopo
Ocean County Republican Chairman George R. Gilmore said Tuesday he had not spoken to Joe Piscopo about the comedian’s gubernatorial aspirations, despite a published report that the Saturday Night Live alumnus has been calling GOP county chairs to gauge their interest in his candidacy.
Erik Larsen, Asbury Park Press Read more

Chris Christie says he’ll complete his term
At a press conference where Gov. Chris Christie shared plans about a four-year project to renovate the Statehouse, Christie ended the session by trying to dispel speculation that he’ll leave his term early to join the administration of President-elect Donald Trump.
Bob Jordan, Asbury Park Press Read more

Christie trolls the press
After Gov. Chris Christie issued a vague advisory saying he was going to make a “press announcement” on Tuesday at the New Jersey Statehouse — his first in months — the speculation began, and his phone went “nuts all night.”
Ryan Hutchins, Politico Read more

Christie announces $300 million State House renovation
Governor Christie announced Tuesday that the State House will immediately begin a four-year, $300 million renovation.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

Critics slam Christie over $300M plan to renovate unsafe Statehouse
Gov. Chris Christie is leaving the Statehouse early, though not his political office.
Michael Symons, NJ101.5 Read more

McGreevey prison program moving from church at center of FBI investigation
A non-profit prison re-entry program housed in a Paterson building at the center of an FBI investigation is moving mid-December to another facility nearby to accommodate more people.
Sara Jerde, NJ.com Read more

Board of education to introduce transgender policy
The Hackensack Board of Education will consider approving on Tuesday a set of regulations on how to handle transgender students.
Rodrigo Torrejon, The Record Read more

NJ Assembly Judiciary chair: Study municipal courts
The chairman of the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee said Monday he wants state lawmakers to study municipal court reform after an Asbury Park Press investigation called the fairness of the system into question and showed how municipalities increasingly rely on court fines for revenue.
Kala Kachmar, Asbury Park Press Read more

N.J. Supreme Court rules forced teacher furloughs were wrong
The New Jersey Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled three furlough days imposed on Robbinsville teachers in 2010 were improperly upheld in earlier legal decisions – which had found they were necessary management decisions during a tough financial time.
Kevin Shea, NJ.com Read more

Supreme Court: Bloomfield cameras exempt from OPRA
A Bloomfield resident’s search for township security camera footage has encountered a roadblock at the state Supreme Court.
Erin M Roll, The Record Read more

Workers protest for $15 minimum wage at Newark airport
As part of a national demonstration, workers part of the Service Employees International Union converged at Newark Liberty International Airport on Tuesday afternoon to rally for a $15-per-hour minimum wage — which is what New York airport workers make, organizers say — and to advocate for fairer working standards, according to numerous reports.
Katie Park, Asbury Park Press Read more

5 N.J. professors make conservative group’s ‘watchlist’
When Peter Singer heard a conservative group put out a new watchlist singling out college professors with “leftist” and “radical agendas,” the veteran Princeton University professor was not surprised to hear he was on it.
Kelly Heyboer, NJ.com Read more

Atlantic City residents face 13 percent tax-rate hike
Residents of this struggling city have been hit with another property-tax rate hike.
Christian Hetrick, Press of Atlantic City Read more

Gay nonprofit in religious Jersey Shore community sues over eviction
A gay and lesbian community center is taking its landlord to court, claiming its lease was terminated because of anti-gay bias.
Sergio Bichao, NJ101.5 Read more

NJ Politics Digest: As Drought Worsens, State Sits on Secret Water Plan