NJ Politics Digest: GOP Seeks to Put Local Dems on the Spot With Healthcare Effort

The start of a new week brings word of new political efforts, with local Republicans trying to put their Democratic colleagues in Congress on the spot when it comes to passing new health care legislation, since divisions in the national GOP make it unlikely the party in power can agree on a plan among themselves. Democrats could run the risk of appearing to be obstructionists, but the popularity of the Affordable Care Act in the Garden State currently gives them little incentive to do anything but sit on the sidelines.

The race for gubernatorial nominations is also heating up now that county political leaders have almost all weighed in and the primaries are approaching. Politico looks at the real race shaping up for the GOP nod, with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno’s current lead in polls doing nothing to guarantee her chances of success.

A federal judge Friday continued to protect the identities of alleged unindicted co-conspirators in the Bridgegate scandal while a state judge last week ruled to protect information about who was helping to fund Gov. Chris Christie’s foreign travel expenses. And while New Jersey’s taxes may cost an arm and a leg, you can get a break if you part with a kidney or heart under new legislation intended to encourage organ donation.

Quote of the Day: “I certainly would welcome working with my Democratic colleagues. I have always thought it was the better way to pass legislation,” – U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur, on renewed attempts to Republican efforts to pass health care legislation.

After Trump Obamacare debacle, N.J. Republicans seek help from Democrats
Republican Reps. Tom MacArthur and Leonard Lance were opposite sides when the House debated legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with an alternative that would leave 500,000 fewer New Jersey residents without health insurance.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

Governor’s race 2017: conventions done, attacks sharpen
The county nominating conventions are nearly complete and the order of each primary ballot set. Now the front-runners are under attack.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

With county conventions over, Guadagno and Ciattarelli are in a real race
You wouldn’t know it from looking at the polls, but there’s a real race for the Republican nomination for governor in New Jersey.
Matt Friedman, Politico Read more

Bridgegate trial over, identity of ‘John Doe’ will remain secret, judge rules
Who was John Doe?
With the infamous Bridgegate corruption case now at an end, a federal judge has ruled that the public still has no right to know the names of the unindicted co-conspirators–including one known as “John Doe” in legal filings–who may have conspired in the high-stakes scheme of political retribution.
Ted Sherman, NJ.com Read more

Bridgegate judge’s smack down of Christie hits a nerve
Gov. Chris Christie’s office wants to make it clear that he is not a bully, and that the culture of his office is kind and soft, like a box of kittens.
Tom Moran, NJ.com Read more

GWB probe doesn’t spin political gold for Wisniewski
Shortly before the start of the Mercer County Democratic convention last month, Jim Healey was urged to keep his praise of John Wisniewski, a candidate for governor, brief – a couple of lines at most.
Charles Stile, The Record Read more

Group paying Christie’s travel held exempt from records law
A New Jersey appeals court has denied a public records request made of a nonprofit group run by a former aide to Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
Associated Press Read more

What do candidates for NJ governor want to do about ‘sanctuary’ cities?
The Trump administration’s emphasis this week on quashing sanctuary cities’ efforts to shelter immigrants without legal permission ricocheted through the New Jersey governor’s race.
Associated Press Read more

DNC boss Tom Perez: Trump, Christie are bullies
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez and Deputy Chairman Keith Ellison, venturing into the Republican hotbed of Monmouth County, called President Donald Trump and Gov. Chris Christie bullies and vowed to rebuild the Democratic Party.
Austin Bogues, The Record Read more

Compromise Could Increase Property-Tax Transparency
High property taxes have long been a top complaint of New Jersey homeowners, and a new law enacted by Gov. Chris Christie earlier this month following a compromise with lawmakers aims to help residents gain a better understanding of how their bills come together — and how state property-tax relief programs may help to offset them.
John Reitmeyer, NJSpotlight Read more

Gov. Christie on Rutgers athletics spending: ‘It makes sense’
A day after the principal Rutgers faculty group publicly rebuked the athletics program’s spending, Gov. Chris Christie made it clear which side he stands on in the growing debate on campus.
Keith Sargeant, NJ.com Read more

New Jersey bills call for $1K tax credit to organ donors
A New Jersey lawmaker wants to offer tax credits to organ donors, but his no-strings approach is meeting opposition from groups who believe the practice runs afoul of federal law.
Associated Press Read more

Christie’s Horizon ‘extortion’ leaves tea party steaming
Reacting to Christie’s ambush of non-for-profit Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and his repeated demand that it hand over some $300 million of its more than $2 billion surplus to expand addiction treatment, Jenny Beth Martin fired off a message that was not very genteel.
NJ.com Read more

Aetna customers could lose RWJBarnabas hospitals
Aetna and RWJBarnabas Health are locked in a contract battle that could force thousands of New Jerseyans to search for another doctor or hospital after their current agreement ends April 22.
Michael L. Diamond, Asbury Park Press Read more

How N.J.’s Israeli boycott, Iran investment bans are affecting public pensions
The state Legislature passed and Gov. Chris Christie signed over the summer a law requiring New Jersey’s $71.6 billion public worker pension fund divest from companies that boycott Israeli goods and businesses.
Samantha Marcus, NJ.com Read more

N.J. Democrats move to block Trump from allowing sale of your online data
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg says she’s planning to introduce legislation barring internet service providers from selling their customers’ personal data without expressed written consent — a response to action taken this week by Congress that’s expected to be approved by President Donald Trump.
Claude Brodesser-Akner, NJ.com Read more

Christie Whitman: Trump’s EPA cuts put lives at risk
Former New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman is warning that President Donald Trump’s “unprecedented” proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, which she used to run, pose a ‘great danger to Americans’ lives.’
Brent Johnson, NJ.com Read more

Judge allows OC corruption lawsuit to proceed
A Superior Court judge has ruled that a former detective’s lawsuit alleging widespread corruption in Ocean County can move forward.
Erik Larsen, Asbury Park Press Read more

Justice Sotomayor, at Princeton, avoids talk of Gorsuch
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke at her alma mater Princeton on Saturday on topics that touched on Hillary Clinton’s loss in the presidential election, but she didn’t mention President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Judge Neil Gorsuch, and the ensuing conflict in the Senate.
Associated Press Read more

New Jersey says it will meet federal travel ID deadline
New Jersey has about 3½ years before a federal deadline to update its driver’s licenses and other ID cards, or else residents won’t be able to board airplanes.
Associated Press Read more

Morris freeholder board majority backing Scapicchio in GOP primary
Five of seven Republican Morris County freeholders back former Freeholder David Scapicchio of Mount Olive for a new term on the board, an early endorsement that has offended one GOP candidate and not fazed a second.
Peggy Wright, Daily Record Read more

In Camden, little suspense so far in mayor’s race
Standing before a crowd assembled at Camden’s City Hall last week, Mayor Dana Redd could have been describing a newly elected official as she endorsed Council President Francisco “Frank” Moran as the city’s next leader.
Allison Steele, Inquirer Read more

Jersey City teacher to run for state Assembly
A Jersey City teacher today announced she is seeking the Democratic nomination to represent Bayonne and Jersey City in the state Assembly.
Terrence T. McDonald, The Jersey Journal Read more

Fewer foreign students are seeking jobs at the Shore this summer
Soon it will be summer, when New Jersey turns once again into the land of the Alien Abduction, the Tilt-a-Whirl, the Wacky Worm roller coaster, Dante’s Dungeon, Crazy Mouse, Demo Derby, saltwater taffy, funnel cake, and curly fries.
David O’Reilly, Inquirer Read more

Manufacturers, legislators build dialogue in Morris
Representatives of what one member termed “a great-kept secret” — the Garden State’s existing manufacturing industry — mingled with state legislators during a Friday-morning summit hosted by the nonprofit New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program at the Park Avenue Club.
William Westhoven, Daily Record Read more

Why Camden has the potential to be a hotbed of start-ups
Entrepreneur Khai Tran issued an invitation last spring to a program for start-ups, not sure how many would come. The event was in Camden. After hours.
Diane Mastrull, Inquirer Read more

Christie’s attack on Horizon: A shakedown, not a solution
Gov. Christie has been relentlessly pummeling Horizon, the state’s largest insurer, for resisting his demand that it pay into a permanent state fund for drug treatment.
Star-Ledger Read more

EDITORIAL: EMS system deadly hodgepodge
Every second counts when it comes to paramedics and other emergency responders providing appropriate treatment to people in medical distress.
Asbury Park Press Read more

What is New Jersey’s best response to Trump’s coal fixation?
Donald Trump has called global warming a ‘hoax,’ and the sweeping national rejection of coal a ‘war.’ So perhaps it was inevitable that we must now address our climate challenges without the benefit of his ‘leadership.’
Star-Ledger Read more

NJ Politics Digest: GOP Seeks to Put Local Dems on the Spot With Healthcare Effort