NJ Politics Digest: PSEG to Close Nuclear Plants Without NJ Subsidies

Roundup of daily news.

A nuclear power plant. JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP/Getty Images

New Jersey’s largest energy company warned state lawmakers on Monday that it would shut down three of its nuclear power plants if it doesn’t get millions of dollars in ratepayer subsidies.

Ralph Izzo, the chief executive of PSEG, told two legislative committees that the plants won’t be profitable within two years because cheap natural gas is driving down energy prices. He said he’d have to close the plants unless they get financial help, but opponents have called the proposed subsidy a “nuclear bailout.” There is currently no bill to prop up the power plants, but state Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex) told NJTV that legislation will likely be introduced during the lame duck session.

New Jersey’s quest to legalize sports betting reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and a majority of the justices hinted they would side with the state and strike down a federal ban on sports wagering. A decision is expected by June.

And Governor-elect Phil Murphy joined the governors of New York and California to condemn the Republican tax overhaul moving through Congress. The Democrats said the GOP tax plan would devastate their states because it would scale back the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction.

Quote of the Day: “It leaves in place a state law that the state does not want, so the citizens of the state of New Jersey are bound to obey a law that the state doesn’t want but that the federal government compels the state to have.” — Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on a federal law banning New Jersey from legalizing sports betting.

U.S. Supreme Court Could Side With NJ in Sports Betting Case
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday indicated that it may side with New Jersey and allow the state to legalize sports betting.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Murphy Joins Cuomo, Brown to Condemn GOP Tax Plan
Governor-elect Phil Murphy and the governors of New York and California railed against a Republican tax plan moving through Congress on Monday, but they didn’t have a specific plan to stop the GOP tax overhaul from becoming law.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Menendez Could Get a Democratic Primary Challenger
Attorney Michael Starr Hopkins is the first Democrat to openly explore a primary challenge to Sen. Bob Menendez, whose months-long corruption trial ended in November after a jury failed to reach a verdict and forced a mistrial.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Christie Nominates Bramnick’s Daughter-in-Law, Bell’s Wife for Judgeships
Gov. Chris Christie on Monday nominated Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick’s daughter-in-law and Sen. Colin Bell’s wife for judgeships in one of his last major moves before leaving office.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Ryan weighed stripping Frelinghuysen of chairmanship
Speaker Paul Ryan and his leadership team recently discussed replacing House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen after he bucked the party and voted against the GOP tax bill.
Politico Read more

DWI case against N.J. lawmaker who went on vulgar rant can proceed, judge says
A state assemblywoman accused of driving while intoxicated must face the charge against her, despite claims that a blood sample taken the night of a crash was drawn illegally, a judge has ruled.
NJ.com Read more

PSEG wants rate increase to subsidize nuclear power
The parent company of Public Service Electric and Gas Co. wants a rate increase to subsidize its two nuclear plants in New Jersey — but the state’s largest utility isn’t saying how much.
The Record Read more

Doctor tied to Sen. Menendez case set for fraud sentencing
Prosecutors say a prominent Florida eye doctor accused of bribing Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey should get a 30-year sentence for a separate Medicare fraud scheme that they say stole more than $100 million from the federal government.
The Inquirer Read more

Murphy’s transition missteps roil Sweeney
Governor-elect Phil Murphy has a month before he takes the helm as one of the country’s most powerful governors, but he’s already managed to upset the ever-tenuous balance of New Jersey’s power dynamics with the seemingly benign appointment of Frank Minor to a transition committee.
Politico Read more

Golden: How Sen. Tom Kean Jr. can help regroup N.J.’s battered GOP
Forty-four years ago, Brendan Byrne was elected New Jersey governor, amassing a record plurality of 721,378 votes and, in the process, driving the Republican membership in the General Assembly to a historic low – 14 seats.
NJ.com Read more

Assemblyman Wisniewski: My grandfather was undocumented
Assemblyman John Wisniewski told a demonstrators Friday night at the “Awaken Community!” demonstration that people should be proud of their immigration stories, regardless of whether they or their ancestors have legal status.
Asbury Park Press Watch

Dirty tricks allegation roils Jersey City council race
Embattled Jersey City Councilman Chris Gadsden, fighting for his political life in tomorrow’s runoff election in Ward B, is alleging that his opponent and her campaign team stole pieces of his campaign literature from West Side homes on Saturday.
Jersey Journal Read more

Regional Plan Association Offers Recommendations Big and Small for NJ
The latest large-scale vision for the greater New York area put forward by the Regional Plan Association once again features a big dose of think-big proposals, including the creation of a new national park in the Meadowlands, and the establishment of a “T-REX” (Trans-Regional Express) mass-transit agency to seamlessly link New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.
NJSpotlight Read more

NJ Politics Digest: PSEG to Close Nuclear Plants Without NJ Subsidies