Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Figure this out ASAP.” – Governor Murphy on the Rutgers strike
TOP STORY: Hennelly: Has the FBI Noticed Trenton’s Rush to Shut Down NJELEC Cases?
Rutgers’ union members went on strike yesterday, holding protests at three campuses, chanting that Rutgers is supposed to be ‘for education’ and ‘not a corporation’. Governor Murphy had invited both sides to the Statehouse in an attempt to work out an agreement. The NJEA expressed solidarity with the unions. The HPAE and AFT issued statements of solidarity. CWA District 1 called on Rutgers to negotiate in good faith. Senator Zwicker said the strike is ‘deeply concerning‘ and urged both sides to work for a ‘quick resolution’. Speaker Coughlin said he’s ‘disappointed‘ an agreement hasn’t been reached. NJ Policy Perspective said the workers are the ‘backbone‘ of the university and deserve to be ‘fairly compensated’.
Tomorrow is the deadline for unaffiliated voters to declare a party to vote in the June primary.
Former President Trump pleaded not guilty last week to 34 counts of falsifying business records.
Governor Murphy signed an executive order protecting gender-affirming healthcare.
Governor Murphy slammed Russian President Putin as a ‘pig’ following the jailing a Wall Street Journal reporter, according to NJ.com.
The state launched a LGBTQ+ business certification process.
The nation’s governors met with Ukrainian President Zelensky.
Opponents are challenging a plan to widen the Turnpike in South Jersey, according to NJ.com.
Free admission to state parks could be coming again this summer, according to NJ.com.
The state’s teacher shortage persists, according to NJ Monitor.
US District Court Judge Salas will keynote a forum at Stockton on judicial safety.
Bergen County installed a encrypted radio system for police dispatchers, according to the Bergen Record. Only six races will be contested in the county in the primary, according to the Bergen Record. The county will spend $15M for new voting machines for the primary, according to the Bergen Record.
Hudson County Commissioner Vainieri will resign from the board as he seeks a North Bergen commission seat in May, according to the Jersey Journal.
Hunterdon County was named the healthiest county in the state, according to NJ Hills.
Middlesex County set a goal of awarding 20% of county contracts to minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, and small businesses.
Monmouth County called for an investigation into recent whale deaths, according to the Asbury Park Press.
Somerset County awarded $200k in grants to 15 arts organizations.
Senator Booker said that recent reports that SCOTUS Justice Thomas accepted undisclosed luxury gifts from a GOP donor ‘raises serious questions about potential conflicts’.
Rep. Gottheimer urged increased port security to stop stolen cars from leaving the country.
Rep. Pallone held a press conference on new legislation to protect consumers from dangerous cosmetics.
Rep. Pascrell praised IRS reforms.
Rep. Kim reintroduced the ‘Protecting Americans From Unsafe Drugs Act’.
Deborah Preston was inaugurated as Mercer Community College President.
Felician University named Dr Mildred Mihlon as its new President.
Garden State Equality is hosting a symposium on improving LGBTQ inclusion in the workplace.
A corrections officer’s lawsuit alleges Governor Murphy ignored updated COVID-19 research, according to the Burlington County Times.
ICYMI: Murphy signed ‘Elections Transparency Act’; Trump indicted; Christie’s all-out assault on Trump; North Jersey Dems eyes fixed on key battlegrounds; Sherrill, Gottheimer more animated movements; unions warning about nurse shortage
Several Morris County GOP primary candidates’ petitions were rejected after being challenged by their opponents.
In LD26, former Assemblywoman DeCroce and Assemblyman Bergen traded barbs over the ‘Elections Transparency Act’.
Samantha Minchello is leaving her position as Monmouth County Democrats Executive Director.
Matt Anderson stepped down as Monmouth Democratic State Committeeman, and is succeeded by Steve Clayton.
The Executive Women of NJ launched its application process for its Graduate Merit Award program.
The Latina Civic Foundation will host its first fundraiser and awards gala this month.
NJ Democrats officially lost their 1M voter registration advantage in the state, according to SaveJersey.
NJDSC Chairman Jones touted the state’s ‘A’ rating from the Giffords Center for its gun laws. Jones slammed a judge’s ruling restricting access to Mifepristone.
ICYMI: In LD24, GOP candidates rushed to defend Trump; Bryan, Kelley launching Elysian Consulting; in LD11, Dnistrian kicked off campaign; in LD18, Diegnan faces primary; in CD7, Kean held his version of town hall; who filed petitions; in LD26, Pennacchio decried Mastrangelo event; in LD27, Giblin retiring amid shakeup; in LD25, Dunn faces no primary; in CD7, Dems circulating as potential challengers to Kean; in LD24, the main focus the primary; in LD26, Peluso poised to enter Assembly primary; Signorello discusses primary challenge to Menendez
Despite Governor Murphy’s consistent touting of his progressive stances, the ‘Elections Transparency Act’ has become a lightening rod of controversy for progressive groups, and others.
Governor Murphy signed legislation prohibiting water and wastewater service providers that fail to participate in LIHWAP from shutting off service.
Governor Murphy’s proposed budget includes funding for nearly 2,000 unfilled state jobs, according to the Bergen Record.
Moody’s upgraded the state’s credit rating.
Critics questioned the attendance rate of State BOE members, according to NJ.com.
Senate Majority Leader Ruiz discusses learning loss with Steve Adubato (video).
Senator Testa accused the state BOE of attempting to limit public participation in hearings on student learning standards revisions.
Senator Durr slammed AG Platkin for tweeting that he’s ‘committed to getting guns out of homes’ following a shooting in Phillipsburg, calling the response ‘misguided’.
Senator Steinhardt slammed AG Platkin for tweeting that he’s ‘committed to getting guns out of homes’ following a shooting in Phillipsburg.
Assemblyman Webber expressed opposition to legislation to shield officials’ home addresses.
The LD8 legislators applauded the S2 rollback as a ‘good start’.
The LD10 legislators slammed the Murphy Administration for launching a transgender rights website with pandemic funds.
NJ Urban Mayors Association members met with congressional representatives in DC.
ICYMI: Ruiz, Sherrill joined forces for child care; Assembly passed ‘Elections Transparency Act’ over GOP objections, ELEC commissioners resigned
In Dover, former Mayor Dodd was ejected from the ballot on a residency challenge.
In Newark, West Ward Councilman Kelly was slapped with an ELEC complaint; former challenger Onyema saluted the action.
In West New York, Commissioner Cirillo called for a early voting polling location at the waterfront.
In Clinton, Mayor Kovach kicked off her re-election campaign.
In Highland Park, Monique Coleman launched her candidacy for mayor.
In Aberdeen, the GOP launched their council candidacies.
In Plainfield, Felician University signed an agreement with the school district.
In Toms River, Councilman Lamb slammed Mayor Hill over rising taxes.
In Jersey City, Mayor Fulop and Councilmen Saleh, Solomon, and Gilmore introduced a right-to-counsel ordinance. The city is considering fining gas stations that fuel illegal ATVs, according to TAPinto.
In Bernardsville, there’s no GOP primary for council, according to NJ Hills.
In Boonton, Town Councilman Renfro-Michel resigned, citing health concerns and a ‘toxic environment’, according to NJ Hills.
In Bound Brook, a soccer initiative brought a new turf field, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Clark, the racism scandal remains unresolved, according to NJ.com.
In Collingswood, the high school hopes to address mental health with the opening of a new wellness center, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In East Orange, cannabis business applicants are concerned about the influence of NJDSC Chairman Jones, according to NJ.com.
In Edison, the county’s park expansion plan was scrutinized, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Hackensack, a police lieutenant’s whistleblower case was dismissed, according to the Bergen Record.
In Hanover, Brueno’s petition for committee was disqualified, according to TAPinto.
In Hoboken, the city is considering changing the rules for constructing swimming pools, according to TAPinto.
In Lambertville, the tax assessor was charged with child pornography, according to NJ Hills.
In Margate, the proposed tax rate is flat again for the 11th year, according to Downbeach.
In Monroe, Councilwoman Schneider passed away, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Morris Township, election season has started, according to NJ Hills.
In Mount Olive, officials decried an anti-Semitic flyer blasting Woodfield purchases, according to NJ Hills.
In North Bergen, the teachers union endorsed Mayor Sacco and his slate, according to Hudson County View.
In North Haledon, a new superintendent was hired, according to NorthJersey.com.
In Paterson, there’s tension between the police and the St. Joseph’s Hospital intervention team, according to the Paterson Press.
In Phillipsburg, four ex-employees are suing the town, according to Lehigh Valley Live.
In Pompton Lakes, a council race will be contested in the primary, according to NorthJersey.com.
In Raritan Borough, the planning board gave preliminary approval to the Raritan Crossing redevelopment, according to TAPinto.
In Readington, the town caused a stir by creating a Facebook page, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Red Bank, candidates participated in a forum, according to TAPinto.
In Ridgewood, the village debated new plans for a historic house, according to the Bergen Record.
In Ringwood, the Education Association alleges district policy violates free speech, according to NorthJersey.com.
In Roxbury, the town signed an agreement with the county for a nutrition center, according to NJ Hills. A council candidate called for a complete change in the form of government, according to NJ Hills.
In Verona, the town may share municipal court services with Essex Fells and North Caldwell, according to TAPinto.
In Warren, a flap over the GOP’s slogan kicked off the primary season, according to NJ Hills.
In Watchung, four are vying for two council seats, according to NJ Hills.
In Wayne, a developer is eying one of the largest vacant lots for a housing project, according to NorthJersey.com.
In Westfield, the town was sued over its downtown redevelopment plan approval, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Wildwood, the boardwalk reopened, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Woodbridge, a landlord of 456 units was ordered to stop raising rents, according to MyCentralJersey.
ICYMI: In Dover, Correa announced running mates as 4 Dems vie for mayor; in Dover, Correa won support from Dems; in WNY, a mayoral collision course
AROUND THE WEB:
Op-Ed: This practice could destroy NJ’s public research institutions
Michael Matise, Daniel Shain, Stanley H. Weiss
- Generations of New Jersey residents have benefited from revolutionary research breakthroughs in the medical, technological, public health and scientific fields. This was true when Thomas Edison popularized the use of the telephone and in-home electricity. It was true when major pharmaceutical companies located their headquarters and research facilities in our state in the latter half of the 20th century, creating drugs that fight cancer, cure infectious diseases and treat chronic conditions.
A wounded Marine, left behind | Moran
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger
- U.S. Marines are not the sort to surrender easily, so maybe I should have known that Darren Chambers, at age 32, would still be fighting against all odds to beat the cancer that has spread with such brutal force through his bones, his liver, and his lungs.
Will climate change make N.J. more tornado-prone? Experts weigh in after 7 twister outbreak.
Steven Rodas, Len Melisurgo, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- A Jackson grandmother hid in her bathroom. Two Howell families sought refuge in shelters. And scores of New Jersey residents woke up to the widespread devastation wrought by one of the largest tornado outbreaks on record in the state.
Revived rail line across NJ could bring economic boost
John Reitmeyer, NJ Spotlight
- Reestablishing a rail connection between New York City and Scranton, Pa. could generate more than $80 million in new economic activity for a region that includes northern New Jersey, according to a recent analysis of the proposed project. Using a route that would serve stations in Blairstown, Dover, Morristown, Montclair and Newark in New Jersey, the proposed line would also deliver so-called societal benefits by getting people off highways and thereby reducing air pollution, according to the analysis.
DeGise stays on council, but Fulop administration unfairly fires police officer who stopped to help after on-duty accident | Opinion
- “Anger,” “inept,” and “abusive” are common words that come to the minds of officers of the Jersey City Police Department about Mayor Steven Fulop after Edwin Hernandez, a Latino police officer, was unfairly fired by the police director without due process. Officer Hernandez was involved in an accident while assisting an emergency call and doing his job.
ELEC director’s emails reeked of bias, partisanship and disrespect | Opinion
- New Jersey should be relieved by the en masse resignation of the New Jersey Law Enforcement (ELEC) Commission.
Donald Trump’s arraignment in Manhattan: A good time was had by all – except him | Mulshine
Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger Columnist
- Well, that didn’t work. I’m talking about Donald Trump’s tactic of raising enough support among his followers to get the charges against him thrown out. The flaw in his theory was that there are just as many or more people who hate him as there are people who love him.
NJ finances looking better, latest reports suggest
John Reitmeyer, NJ Spotlight
- Retiring debt and fully funding pension contributions are having positive effects on New Jersey’s finances. The state’s official debt report for the 2022 fiscal year is still pending, but preliminary financial statements made public late last month show New Jersey’s total bonded debt declined during the last fiscal year following a big increase the year before.
Political fallout of Trump indictment: Views differ
Briana Vannozzi, NJ Spotlight
- What could the indictment of former President Donald Trump in Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday mean for the 2024 presidential election? Democratic strategist Julie Roginsky and Republican strategist Chris Russell discuss Trump’s indictment and its potential political impact in New Jersey and nationwide.
Trenton’s healthcare future deserves more than a half-time director
LA Parker, The Trentonian
- A Trenton city council that showed disharmony early on with a splintered vote on filling its presidency seat, now displays disappointing harmony. City Council members voted unanimously on all administrative heads, including Maria Richardson continuing on as director of Recreation and acting director of the Health & Human Services Department despite being under qualified to hold the latter position.
Here are four takeaways from the N.J. School Performance Reports
Melanie Burney and John Duchneskie, Philadelphia Inquirer
- The New Jersey Department of Education released its annual School Performance Report for the 2021-22 school year this week, showing evidence that many students were still experiencing significant struggles a year after the pandemic began.
A Progressive Perspective: Chris Christie has More Chutzpa than Credibility
Irwin Stoolmacher, The Trentonian
- Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has announced that he will not support Donald Trump for president in 2024 and will decide whether he will run himself by mid-May. Does Christie really think he has chance to be the Republican Presidential candidate? If he does, I have a bridge to sell him.
One-time payments to NJ school districts hit by cuts just a ‘Band-Aid,’ say school leaders
Mary Ann Koruth, NorthJersey.com
- More than 160 New Jersey school districts that have suffered through six years of state aid cuts will receive one-time payments totaling $102 million this year through a last-minute bill signed last week in Trenton. But many of those districts’ leaders say the extra money, which is separate from Gov. Phil Murphy’s budgeted school funding, is just a “Band-Aid” and they need a sustainable solution to keep serving their students.
Newark’s Project Ready Civil Rights Art Museum Highlights Voting Power
Mark J. Bonamo, TAPinto Nutley
- For many people, voting in a democratic society is just a mundane tick of a box or press of a button. But a new pop-up museum in downtown Newark, called the Voting Power Experience, is public art that makes a point. It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made to gain the right to vote, a reassertion of its importance, and a rallying cry to promote the power of voting at a time when democracy itself is under threat.
A journalist who would not be denied: Susan Sullivan Alai
Kevin Coughlin, Morristown Green
- Pert and perky, she walked up to Frank Alai on his first day as a freshman at Seton Hall University. For two weeks, he did everything he could to shake her off. “I said, ‘Will you stop following me? I don’t like you. Please leave me alone,’” recounted Frank, now 70. But Susan Sullivan Alai, who died last month, was a “tigress,” fearless and determined. She proved it as a star reporter and editor for Women’s Wear Daily, scoring interviews with icons of fashion and film, from Ralph Lauren to Faye Dunaway.
Renovation of Longport smiley-faced water tower nearing completion
Nanette LoBiondo Galloway, Down Beach
- Renovation of the iconic smiley-faced water tower that hovers above the borough is nearing completion. The borough issued a notice to residents April 4 that the painting of the interior of the tank and the exterior of the tower is complete. Residents will notice that the tarp protecting nearby properties has been removed and scaffolding around the tower will be deconstructed.
Stormwater management: Who pays for it?
Jon Hurdle, NJ Spotlight
- Patricia Lindsay-Harvey recalls a storm that swamped her town of Willingboro in June 2018, dumping a normal month’s worth of rain across South Jersey in a matter of hours. Streets flooded, so did the first floors of many homes, forcing some residents out until the resultant mold could be cleaned up.
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