NJ Politics Digest: A Busy Day In The State House

The Assembly chamber in the New Jersey statehouse. Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

New Jersey’s lame duck Legislature was busy on Thursday, passing dozens of bills and confirming a massive list of Gov. Chris Christie’s final nominations.

Lawmakers in both houses approved an overhaul of criminal expungement laws. The Senate passed a bill to ban drunken drone flying. The Assembly voted to allow gambling at racetracks. Legislators passed bills dealing with fire safety, breast-feeding and domestic violence, too.

Governor-elect Phil Murphy has someone who was involved with the “chairman’s flight” scandal on his transition team. The transportation and infrastructure committee adviser, Monica Slater Stokes, was not accused of wrongdoing in the case.

And in Washington D.C., Sen. Bob Menendez will be on the conference committee negotiating the final version of federal tax legislation. In the House, three New Jersey members voted to allow those with concealed carry permits in their home states to carry weapons in other states.

Quote of the Day: “I think something has to be done radically in the United States as far as what people say during campaigns.” — Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph Vicari calling for limitations on free speech.

Murphy Transition Adviser Was Involved With Chairman’s Flight
A member of Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s transition team is an executive at United Airlines who was involved in discussions over the “chairman’s flight,” Observer has learned.
Salvador Rizzo, Observer Read more

NJ Lawmakers Send Expungement Overhaul Bills to Christie
New Jersey lawmakers passed a three-bill package Thursday to make it easier for criminal records to be expunged, sending the legislation to Gov. Chris Christie, who has pledged to sign the measures into law.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Concealed Carry Bill Gets Support from 3 NJ House Members
Reps. Tom MacArthur (R-3), Frank LoBiondo (R-2) and Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11) on Wednesday were the only members of New Jersey’s 12-member congressional delegation to vote in favor of a House bill that would make it legal for those granted concealed carry permits in their home states to carry weapons in other states, even if the laws of those states are contradictory.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Menendez Named to Conference Committee on GOP Tax Bill
Sen. Bob Menendez will be one of seven Democratic senators on the 29-member conference committee of the House and Senate that will negotiate the final version of the tax legislation, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Thursday.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Stile: With grim pension warning, Christie makes bid for lame-duck relevance
Gov. Chris Christie made it clear Wednesday that he wants to add one final chapter to his legacy before he leaves office in six weeks to write his memoir.
The Record Read more

Christie Hints He Might Sign Nuclear Plant Subsidy Bill
Gov. Chris Christie yesterday signaled he may be willing to sign a measure to prop up PSEG Power’s three nuclear power plants, but only if it does not include other incentives sought by environmentalists.
NJSpotlight Read more

Christie plan to demolish Trenton state buildings advances despite residents’ objections
Outspoken Trenton residents are no match for Gov. Chris Christie’s vision for their city’s future.
NJ.com Read more

New Jersey Senate passes bill to dissolve waterfront commission
The New Jersey state Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would effectively abolish the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, advancing a measure identical to one Gov. Chris Christie vetoed two years ago but is now apparently open to signing.
Politico Read more

Final tab for canceled Jersey City reval is $3.8M
The final tab for the property revaluation Jersey City halted in 2013, plus the city’s legal fight to break its contract with the company conducting the long-delayed reval, is $3,784,198.
Jersey Journal Read more

Prosecutors insist eye doc stole $136 million from Medicaid
Either Dr. Salomon Melgen is one of the biggest Medicare swindlers ever, stealing more than $100 million from the federal health care program, or a penny ante thief who walked off with $64,000.
Associated Press Read more

Ocean County Freeholder Director Joe Vicari calls for restrictions on freedom of speech
Angered over Ocean County’s $550,000 settlement of a sexual harassment lawsuit lodged against him in the midst of a re-election bid, Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari says some limitations on free speech are in order.
Asbury Park Press Read more

NJ Rents Go Through the Roof
The cost of rental housing in New Jersey has risen faster than inflation and is consuming an even greater portion of income than ever before, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
NJSpotlight Read more

Future first lady to head Phil Murphy inaugural committee
New Jersey’s next first lady, Tammy Murphy, will Gov.-elect Phil Murphy’s inaugural committee, the transition team announced Thursday.
NJ.com Read more

Plousis appointed head of Casino Control Commission
James T. Plousis, the former Cape May County sheriff, will lead the Casino Control Commission for the next five years as Atlantic City’s gaming market continues to rebound following the closing of five casinos since 2014.
Press of Atlantic City Read more

NJ Politics Digest: A Busy Day In The State House