NJ Politics Digest: Christmas in June in Trenton

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, left, and Senate President Steve Sweeney. Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The attention in Trenton is on the horse-trading and deals that will ensure a new state budget is adopted by July 1. Gov. Chris Christie is pushing hard for two of his policy priorities — raiding Horizon’s capital reserves and using the state lottery to shore up the state pension system.

And whil Senate President Steve Sweeney seems willing to go along, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto says he won’t allow Christie or anyone to single out Horizon.

With Republicans in the U.S. Senate releasing their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, New Jersey’s Democratic congressional contingent is, no surprise, blasting the plan.

Quote of the Day: “The governor wants to get two bills. I think I may get one of the two. I think that’s a nice average. If you were a baseball player, you’d be Hall of Fame right away,” Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto.

Prieto: Horizon Proposals Dead in NJ Assembly
Senate President Steve Sweeney said he was open to raiding funds from New Jersey’s largest health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, so long as consumer costs were not affected.
Salvador Rizzo, Observer Read more

Democratic leaders sharply divided over Christie’s Horizon demands
Until now, lawmakers of both parties have largely dismissed a proposal by Gov. Chris Christie to raid a portion of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield’s capital reserves to finance an expansion of the state’s drug treatment services.
Nicholas Pugliese and Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

Beck Pitches Alternative School Funding Proposal
With a state budget deadline looming, a key Republican lawmaker on Thursday called for $175 million in new revenue for cash-starved school districts next year, but said none of that money should come at the expense of so-called overfunded districts.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Christie’s latest ‘shock and awe’ is met with a collective shrug
It’s a performance that has had a long, colorful run in the State House dome for 7½ years.
Charles Stile, The Record Read more

NJ Democrats criticize Senate healthcare bill
Senate Republicans released their long-awaited bill Thursday to dismantle much of Barack Obama’s health care law to criticism from most of New Jersey’s congressional delegation with one notable exception.
Associated Press Read more

A political dirty trickster and Trump adviser has no regrets
America’s self-proclaimed king of political dirty tricks was thirsty
Mike Kelly, The Record Read more

Amtrak CEO: Trump budget eliminates money to upgrade Northeast Corridor
Federal railroad officials said Thursday they opposed President Donald Trump’s budget proposal because it would eliminate Amtrak’s ability to upgrade the Northeast Corridor and block funding from going to the Gateway project.
Herb Jackson, The Record Read more

NJ investigating drug-makers in multi-state painkiller probe
As Gov. Chris Christie openly pushes his agenda focusing on treatment and prevention of opioid abuse, his administration is quietly expanding the effort to the legal front.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

NJ Assembly Approves Expanding Paid Family Leave
The state Assembly passed a bill Thursday that would vastly expand the state’s family leave policy to give workers more money and time off to take care of a new child or sick relative.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Push for Prevailing Wages at State Transit Hubs Passes Assembly
The New Jersey General Assembly on Thursday passed legislation requiring that subcontracted Newark Liberty Airport, Hoboken Terminal and Newark Penn Station employees be paid prevailing wages, a move that is estimated to bring wages for those employees up to $17.98 per hour according to the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

For N.J. family with two disabled children, Medicaid cuts would hurt
For Stephanie Pratico and children Sara, 18, and John, 23, both born with Down syndrome, the Senate’s proposal to cut Medicaid and roll back its funding of many states’ programs is not just politics.
Rita Giordano, Inquirer Read more

Judge won’t reduce charges in New York-New Jersey bomb case
A federal judge refused Thursday to throw out criminal charges that could result in a mandatory life prison sentence for a man accused of plotting bomb attacks in New Jersey and New York that injured 30 people.
Associated Press Read more

Baraka Announces 2018 Re-election Campaign With Support of NJ Democrats
Some of the state’s most influential Democrats including Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, state party Chairman John Currie and Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo stood with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka on Thursday as the incumbent announced his 2018 re-election campaign from the steps of City Hall.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Officials hear tax appeal targeting Jersey City mayor
Imagine an episode of “House Hunters” devoid of all relationship drama but with an undercurrent of political theater. That’s what transpired at a special hearing at Hudson County Plaza this afternoon.
Terrence T. McDonald,The Jersey Journal Read more

Christie to decide whether to raise N.J. smoking age to 21
Gov. Chris Christie now gets to decide whether to raise the age for tobacco product purchases in New Jersey from 19 to 21.
Matt Arco, NJ.com Read more

Woody Johnson officially nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom
President Donald Trump nominated Jets owner Woody Johnson to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom on Thursday evening, ending a 153-day wait from when he unofficially named Johnson to the position back in January.
NJ.com Read more

Dune construction is starting at the shore and people are ranting
It was bound to happen sooner or later, but the reality of the Army Corps of Engineers’ dune construction and beach replenishment work coming at the height of summer is particularly galling to people at the Jersey Shore. Especially on a sunny day.
Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Read more

N.J. lawmakers pass measure to legalize fireworks sales
Lawmakers have sent a bill to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk to legalize the sale of sparklers and novelty fireworks in New Jersey.
Associated Press Read more

Paterson councilman appeals to school board over son’s grade
City Councilman Michael Jackson attended Wednesday night’s Board to Education meeting to lodge a complaint about the “F” his son recently received in a high school health class.
Joe Malinconico, Paterson Press Read more

Attorney: Lakewood owes $500K for private school busing
The consortium formed to bus Lakewood’s substantial number of private school students says the school district owes it a half-million dollars, a liability that would heap still more havoc upon a system in perpetual budget crisis.
Payton Guion, Asbury Park Press Read more

Dog sentenced to death by judge gets second chance at life
A 2-year-old American Bully sentenced to death after he bit the mailman, has been given a second chance at life.
Matt Fagan, The Record Read more

Alec Baldwin appears as Trump at Monmouth University
Alec Baldwin made an appearance at Monmouth University this week, according to reports.
Tamara Walker, Asbury Park Press Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Christmas in June in Trenton