NJ Politics Digest: Murphy Signs Homeless Assistance Measures

Phil Murphy (left) and Steve Sweeney

Phil Murphy (left) and Steve Sweeney. Christian Hetrick for Observer

When Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed a measure aimed at guaranteeing emergency assistance for homeless people during a cold snap earlier this year, Senate President Steve Sweeney called it a cold act on the coldest day of the year.

On Tuesday, however, Murphy signed a pair of bills to close gaps in coverage for homeless people, according to a report by The Record.

The bills limits state spending on housing assistance under the program to $20 million, with another $5 million earmarked for case management services, according to the report. This addresses Murphy’s concerns that the plan basically amounted to a blank check New Jersey might not be able to pay.

While housing advocates had expressed dismay at the governor’s earlier veto, on Tuesday they sang Murphy’s praises, saying the measure is a crucial thread in the social safety net.

Quote of the Day: “I don’t see any way how those fees are not going to be passed on to the patients. There’s never been a tax by manufacturers that hasn’t been,”  — Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, on a Murphy administration proposal to impose $21.5 million in new taxes on opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Is NJ Prepared to Spend $9M, $1 Per Person, to Ensure Accurate Census Count
No one thinks New Jersey is devoting enough money to the census—a huge issue for the state since it could lose billions and even a member of Congress if the population is undercounted.
NJSpotlight Read more

How the Citizenship Question Could Break the Census
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census has been challenged by various states and civil rights organizations, with two lower court judges ruling that the question would violate the Constitution because it is likely to result in an undercount.
FiveThirtyEight Read more

Fees on Opioids, Workers on Medicaid Examined at Budget Hearing
At nearly $19 billion, the state Department of Human Services budget accounts nearly $1 of every $4 New Jersey state government will spend next year—including federal funds, transportation construction, unemployment benefits, independent authorities and public colleges.
NJ101.5 Read more

EDA Could Be Hit With Lawsuit Over Multi-Billion Dollar Tax Breaks
In a move signaling a potential lawsuit, the attorneys for over a dozen activist groups are telling the state’s embattled Economic Development Authority to preserve any records related to how it awarded and monitored compliance of its controversial tax break program during Gov. Chris Christie’s time in office, between 2010 and 2018.
NJBiz Read more

Hillsborough Schools Lays Off 37 Teachers, Staff After Failed Referendum
The township Board of Education followed through on the budget cuts that officials had warned would happen if voters didn’t approve a referendum in March. The school board on Monday eliminated 50 positions and laid off 37 teachers and employees.
NJ101.5 Read more

Editorial: Medical Marijuana Could Move on Without Recreational Legal Weed, Expungement Plan
So, what will be the fate of the legal recreational marijuana bill as we enter the countdown to Gov. Phil Murphy’s latest deadline for passage?
Asbury Park Press Read more

Judge Allowed Revenge Porn Defendant Into Diversionary Program. Appeals Court Just Reversed That, and Roasted the Judge.
A man charged with posting nude photos of an ex-girlfriend online without her permission was admitted to a diversionary program last year over the objections of Middlesex County prosecutors.
NJ.com Read more

Progressives and Camden County Democratic Machine Wage All-Out War in Primary Race
Galvanized by a blue wave that brought fresh faces into government in November, an unprecedented 107 progressives united under one banner this year to buck the endorsed candidates of the entrenched Camden County Democratic Committee in the June 4 primaries.
Inquirer Read more

State Seeks Public Input in Campaign to End AIDs and Curb HIV
New Jersey officials are seeking direct input from people affected by HIV/AIDS to help shape the plan the state is now developing to eradicate the most severe forms of the once deadly disease and significantly curtail its spread by 2025.
NJSpotlight Read more

SALT Workaround for Small Businesses in NJ Misses the Boat
A bipartisan bill that would have restored a full federal SALT deduction for many New Jersey small businesses didn’t cross the finish line before this month’s tax-filing deadline, delaying potentially significant savings by at least a year.
NJSpotlight Read more

A Lawsuit, a Government Shutdown Scare, and a $16M Loss. Trenton’s Budget Nightmare Is Far From Over.
The city government in Trenton narrowly avoided a shutdown Tuesday, the same day three council members filed a lawsuit against the mayor and state officials in a political struggle that is leaving millions of dollars in state aid in limbo.
NJ.com Read more

With the Clock Ticking, Lawmakers Could Split Incentives Vote From Budget Process
Legislators have been discussing an extension for the timeline to vote on and implement new tax incentive programs in the state, separating it from the budget process, as the start of the new fiscal year approaches.
ROI-NJ Read more

Longtime NJ Police Director Under Dire for Racist Language Will Resign, Mayor Says
Elizabeth Police Director James Cosgrove will resign after an internal inquiry found he used racist and sexist slurs against his own staff, the city’s mayor said Tuesday.
NJ.com Read more

Casino Gaming’s Economic Impact in Other States Rivals NJ
New Jersey still ranks among national leaders in terms of casino gaming’s economic impact but other states, including nearby competitors, are gaining ground, according to a recent report.
Press of Atlantic City Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Murphy Signs Homeless Assistance Measures