NJ Politics Digest: FBI Pick Still on Christie’s Bridgegate Defense

Jim Comey, left, and Chris Wray in 2004. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Bridgegate continues to hang over President Donald Trump’s pick to head the FBI, with the Asbury Park Press reporting that Christopher Wray’s firm has already billed taxpayers more than $2 million to represent Christie in the case, and are still working for the governor seven months after the trial of two of his former aides ended in guilty verdicts.

And with the budget battle about to heat up in Trenton, the Assembly’s two top leaders say they will work to set an example of civility even in the midst of political clashes.

Quote of the Day: “Some of the biggest losing districts are Democratic districts.” – Senate President Steve Sweeney, on his school funding deal with Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto.

Democrats agree on $35.7B budget, but await Christie support on school funding
Democratic leaders in the state Legislature have settled on a $35.7 billion budget that would enact changes to the state’s school funding formula, but they will not introduce their plan until Gov. Chris Christie signs off and may shut down state government if he declines to do so, lawmakers said Monday.
Ryan Hutchins and Linh Tat, Politico Read more

Sweeney Defends Democrats’ School Funding Deal
Facing criticism from the left and right over his school funding proposal, Senate President Steve Sweeney defended his plan on Monday and said schools that would lose state aid have seen declines in enrollment.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Obama ISIS Adviser Andrew Kim Launches Bid for MacArthur’s Seat
Andrew Kim, a former White House adviser to President Barack Obama, on Monday became the first Democrat to announce a challenge to Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-3) in next year’s midterm elections.
Salvador Rizzo, Observer Read more

Trump FBI pick Christopher Wray still at work as Christie’s Bridgegate attorney
Potential FBI Director Christopher Wray is still working as Gov. Chris Christie’s personal attorney from the Bridgegate investigation, trial and aftermath — seven months after jurors found two of Christie’s former aides guilty of shutting down George Washington Bridge entrance lanes.
Bob Jordan, Asbury Park Press Read more

N.J. lawmakers push to expand family leave benefits
An Assembly committee on Monday approved a major expansion of the state’s paid family leave law that boosts benefits and and offers workers job protection.
Samantha Marcus, NJ.com Read more

A look at the high-profile developer who played major role in the indictment of Paterson’s mayor
In July 2014, real estate developer Charles Florio bought a table’s worth of tickets for newly elected mayor Joey Torres’ inaugural ball at The Brownstone banquet hall.
Joe Malinconico, Paterson Press Read more

LoBiondo, local officials blast Trump’s offshore drilling proposal
U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, called a move by the Trump administration to conduct seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean “barbaric” and “insane” during a press conference Monday.
Press of Atlantic City Read more

31 officials urge DEP to reject PennEast’s pipeline permit application
Officials from more than a dozen towns are urging the state’s environmental agency to reject a permit application for PennEast’s proposed $1 billion natural gas pipeline.
Cristina Rojas, NJ.com Read more

Bramnick, Prieto Want to Make NJ Politics Polite
Amid what’s expected to be a charged political atmosphere in Trenton — with the budget and school funding on the legislative agenda — the Assembly’s two top leaders say they are recommitting themselves to civility and mutual respect to set an example for others.
John Reitmeyer, NJSpotlight Read more

NJ Democrats Begin Push to Legalize Marijuana
Democratic lawmakers began their push to legalize recreational marijuana in New Jersey on Monday with a nearly five hour legislative hearing stacked with supporters.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Bill Reimbursing Sanctuary Cities for Federal Funding Cuts Continues Advancing
Cities in New Jersey that do not use resources to enforce federal immigration laws regarding undocumented immigrants —known as sanctuary cities— may soon be able to apply for state grants aimed at replacing federal funding that is withheld due to sanctuary jurisdiction.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Vote-by-mail recount changes little in A.C. mayoral primary
A court-ordered recount of machine and vote-by-mail ballots Monday did not change much in the Democratic primary held in the Atlantic City mayoral election.
Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Read more NJ Politics Digest: FBI Pick Still on Christie’s Bridgegate Defense