NJ Politics Digest: Sweeney-NJEA Ad War Intensifies

Roundup of daily news.

Senate President Steve Sweeney. Max Pizarro for Observer

It’s only August, but the allies and enemies of Senate President Steve Sweeney have already spent a lot of money on the upcoming election for his Senate seat.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that political groups supporting Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and the New Jersey Education Association — the powerful teacher’s union trying to oust him — have poured nearly $1 million in television advertising thus far. At this rate, the legislative race could become one of the most expensive in state history.

The NJEA had announced its endorsement of Sweeney’s Republican rival, Fran Grenier, back in June. On Saturday, the union’s political action committee announced endorsements for nearly 100 other legislative candidates, almost all of whom were Democrats. But there were some notable exceptions, such as Republican Assemblyman Chris Brown for his 2nd Legislative District Senate bid.

And New Jersey is officially the “Garden State” after Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law making the well-known state nickname the new state slogan. The monumental piece of legislation was one of 50 bills the governor signed before heading overseas for a family vacation.

Quote of the Day: “I definitely have the munchies in ways that people stereotypically think of as somebody that’s smoking marijuana.” – Sen. Cory Booker on his late-night binges of Ben and Jerry’s vegan ice cream.

Cory Booker Makes the Case for Legal Marijuana
Sen. Cory Booker has become the highest-ranking official in Washington advocating marijuana legalization, taking up a cause that has been gaining ground in more states even as the Trump administration vows a crackdown.
Salvador Rizzo and Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Christie Signs Bill to Let NJ Towns Reduce Public Smoking Penalties
New Jersey towns would be allowed to make smoking in public a civil offense instead of a disorderly person’s charge, which carries a penalty of up to 30 days in prison and a fine of up to $200, under a bill signed by Gov. Chris Christie on Monday.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

NJEA PAC Releases Legislative Endorsements
The New Jersey Education Association’s political action committee released a list of endorsements on Monday for November’s legislative elections, in which all 40 state Senate seats and all 80 state Assembly seats are on the ballot.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Appeals Court Upholds 35-Month Sentence for Joe Ferriero
A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a 35-month prison sentence for Joseph Ferriero, the former chairman of the Bergen County Democratic Organization, who was convicted on bribery and fraud charges.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Bridgegate mastermind plots out online persona, ripping Christie along the way
Chris Christie is no stranger to internet trolls. Mere mention of the New Jersey governor’s name elicits a stream of unprintable quips about belt sizes, bridges and beaches. But few of these digital jokesters have the potency of Christie’s latest online critic: A high school classmate and former ally who destroyed the Republican’s political career.
Politico Read more

You can now be fined for leaving pets outside in bad weather in N.J.
A new state law bans leaving pets chained up outside in bad weather for extended periods of time, creating penalties for owners and allowing authorities to take custody of pets in some cases.
NJ.com Read more

Christie signs bill creating statewide sex assault training for police
Gov. Chris Christie on Monday signed legislation creating a statewide training program for police officers investigating sexual assault.
NJ.com Read more

Amtrak Says Penn Station Repairs Likely To End Soon After Labor Day
The major repairs at New York’s Penn Station that have pushed thousands of New Jersey Transit commuters off their normal routes into Manhattan this summer are right on-schedule after the first month of work.
NJSpotlight Read more

Greater Oversight for Residential Facilities Serving Disabled
By early next year, residential facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities will likely face additional state scrutiny and be tasked with keeping family members better informed under a New Jersey law one step from being finalized.
NJSpotlight Read more

NJ attorney Berman being considered for top federal prosecutor in Manhattan
The head of the New Jersey office of an international law firm, who had been under consideration for the state’s top federal law enforcement job despite objections from Gov. Chris Christie, might be in line for the same post on the other side of the Hudson River, Buzzfeed reported Monday.
The Record Read more


Trump: I’m ‘working hard from New Jersey’
President Donald Trump may be scheduled to spend much of the month of August at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, but he reiterated Monday morning that his time away from Washington is not a vacation.
Politico Read more

Bail bond industry mounts another attack on N.J. reforms
Reality TV star Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman traveled to Trenton with his wife Beth last week to announce that the couple were joining a federal lawsuit against Gov. Chris Christie aimed at derailing the major changes New Jersey recently made to its criminal justice system.
The Record Read more

Charles Mainor backs out of Jersey City mayor’s race
Former assemblyman and retired police detective Charles Mainor is dropping his bid to become Jersey City’s next mayor, three weeks after suffering what he called a stroke-like event that landed him in the hospital for four days.
Jersey Journal Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Sweeney-NJEA Ad War Intensifies