Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It doesn’t make sense to slash funding for art teachers while funding a French art museum that many students will never learn to appreciate.” – Senator O’Scanlon slamming Trenton Democrats on budget spending
TOP STORY: Golden: Christie Strategy Of Risk And Reward
Former Governor Christie appears to have settled on a strategy as he contemplates another presidential campaign – an all-out assault on frontrunner and former ally former President Trump.
The NJMVC announced that motorists can now display an electronic form of vehicle registration.
Governor Murphy says the state isn’t ready for an all-out ban on TikTok but concerns are lingering, according to NJ.com.
NJ homeless shelters have more homeless seniors but no resources for their care, according to Burlington County Times.
Scientists are turning to coconuts to save the Jersey coastline, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Union County is polling the public on options for a new seal, according to TAPinto.
Rep. Sherrill urged NJ Transit to protect affordable bus transit options in the wake of the DeCamp Bus line cancellations.
A WalletHub study finds New Jersey has the 6th highest tax burden of any state in the nation.
NJ Community Capital appointed John Allen as their new CFO.
ICYMI: North Jersey Dems eyes fixed on key battlegrounds; Sherrill, Gottheimer more animated movements; unions warning about nurse shortage
Twenty legislators won’t be seeking a return to the Statehouse in this year’s legislative elections, according to NJ Monitor.
Progressive Hudson County Democrats filed petitions to run primary candidates this year.
Sussex County GOP commissioner primary candidate Nick D’Agostino condemned attacks on Senator Oroho.
Here’s who filed petitions for legislative races; in LD26, Pennacchio decried Mastrangelo event; in LD27, Giblin retiring amid shakeup; in LD25, Dunn faces no primary; Ocean Dems announced candidates; in CD7, Dems circulating as potential challengers to Kean; in LD24, the main focus now turns to GOP primary; in LD26, Peluso poised to enter Assembly primary; in LD28, Hall announced Assembly run; Signorello discusses primary challenge to Menendez; in CD9, Pascrell punched back at retirement rumors; in LD3, Dems poised to select Burzichelli, who’s seeking comeback; in LD4,Moriarty will seek the Senate seat; in LD8, Cooper will run for Senate
ELEC declined to discipline Executive Director Brindle over an alleged ant-gay email, according to NJ.com.
Public records reveal that supplemental spending will add $1.5B to the budget, according to NJ Spotlight.
NJ Turnpike and Parkway Authority Executive Director Keller announced his retirement, according to NJ.com.
Legislators proposed a $3M program to treat law enforcement officers in mental crisis, according to NJ Monitor.
Senators Testa and O’Scanlon accused Trenton Democrats of prioritizing pork spending over school funding.
ICYMI: Corrado appointed DeDio COS; Murphy promoted Brophy; Murphy took action on bills; lobbying efforts spent over $285M since 2000; PPAG top lobbying firm in 2022; Murphy made appointments to NJEDA board
In Morristown, Bruce Meringolo announced his candidacy for Ward 4 council.
In Westfield, the Democrats announced their council candidates.
In Piscataway, Mayor Wahler was appointed the chair of the US Conference of Mayors’ new Legislative Action Committee.
In Maplewood, Democrats denounced the ‘Elections Transparency Act’, citing ‘serious concerns’.
In Brick, Senator Singer applauded the opening of a new vascular and heart center.
In Atlantic City, the city will leave the state’s health benefits plan, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Bernards, the BOE is seeking more efficiency, according to NJ Hills. The town settled the lawsuit with the former Liberty Corner First Aid Squad, according to TAPinto.
In Bound Brook, the manager claims unlawful termination in a lawsuit, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Camden, schools are offering a $10k signing bonus to new teachers, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In Chatham Borough, Dempsey will pursue the mayoralty, according to NJ Hills.
In Dover, disunity among Democrats is on display as four vie for mayor, according to the Daily Record.
In East Hanover, the planning board rejected a Novartis proposal, according to NJ Hills.
In Edison, the council approved a major youth sports project, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Far Hills, critics are still unhappy with a affordable housing plan, according to NJ Hills.
In Florham Park, the GOP has contested primaries, according to NJ Hills.
In Hillsborough, a developer scaled down a controversial warehouse plan, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Lebanon, the budget was proposed, according to NJ Hills.
In Little Falls, the budget was introduced, according to TAPinto.
In Long Hill, four candidates will face off in the GOP primary, according to NJ Hills.
In Madison, three Democrats and no Republicans filed to run in the primary, according to NJ Hills. The $34M budget was introduced, according to NJ Hills.
In Millburn, Democrats and Republicans announced their candidates, according to TAPinto. A judge instructed the town to file the Feld lawsuit answer within 30 days, according to TAPinto.
In Mine Hill, Mayor Morris is seeking another term, according to NJ Hills.
In Morristown, Armington won’t seek re-election to the council, according to Morristown Green.
In Ocean City, the town is looking at fee increases to reduce the tax impact, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Paterson, Dave Gilmore prevailed in a lawsuit against the Sayegh administration, according to Paterson Press.
In Plainfield, four filed to run for two council seats, according to TAPinto.
In Pleasantville, the city adjusted marijuana regulations, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Ridgewood, a new schools superintendent was named, according to the Bergen Record. A zoning board meeting was cut short, according to TAPinto.
In Roxbury, the GOP incumbents face primary challengers, according to NJ Hills.
In Sayreville, the incumbent mayor mysteriously vanished from the Democratic primary ticket, according to TAPinto. The former mayor is facing the former zoning chair in the mayoral race, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Sea Isle City, a curfew was adopted for teens, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In Toms River, four candidates are vying for mayor in the GOP primary, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Union Township, Committeeman Fitzpatrick won’t be challenged this year, according to TAPinto.
ICYMI: In Paterson, AG assumed control of PD; in Dover, Correa won support from Dems; in WNY, a mayoral collision course; in Roselle, Holley, running for mayor, announced running mates, Dems backed Shaw; in AC, Morshed charged; in Maplewood, trouble abounds
AROUND THE WEB:
South Jersey mayor switches political parties. Here’s what it means to the town
Carol Comegno, Cherry Hill Courier-Post
- The mayor here has switched political parties to become a Republican, a reversal that has turned political control of the township committee over to the GOP. The party switch by Riverside Mayor John “Mike” Higgins was announced by the Burlington County Republican Committee following his decision.
Elections may offer chance to make Legislature more diverse
Colleen O’Dea, NJ Spotlight
- This year’s elections will bring the greatest turnover to the New Jersey Legislature in at least 16 years, but it’s too soon to tell whether the new faces will help make the Assembly and Senate look more like the state.
The long, sad, unending odyssey of the Pulaski Skyway repairs | Quigley
Joan Quigley, For The Jersey Journal
- If you’re hoping the ramp between Broadway in Jersey City and the Pulaski Skyway will reopen soon, don’t hold your breath. Target date is late 2026.
For Donald Trump, that was the week that wasn’t | Mulshine
Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger
- The dumbest internet post in political history? A photo former President Trump posted on his social media site showing Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
‘Proud and historic’: Two hijab-wearing women sworn in as judges in NJ
Hannan Adely, NorthJersey.com
- Nadia Kahf, a hijab-wearing attorney from Wayne, drew a standing-room crowd at the Passaic County Courthouse last Tuesday, as she was sworn in as a state Superior Court judge, in an event that sparked international headlines describing her as trailblazer. That barrier was broken again the very next day when Dalya Youssef, a family law attorney who also wears the Islamic headscarf, was sworn in to the Superior Court bench in Somerset County.
Late State Sen. Ron Rice Praised for Leadership and Character
Alyssa Lidman, TAPinto Newark
- Former State Senator Ronald Rice, who held that post longer than most in New Jersey’s history, was honored by family, friends and community leaders at Essex County College on Saturday for his remarkable life in public service. Rice died on March 15.
Uproar brewing over plans to change NJ county’s seal
David Matthau, NJ1015
- A fight is brewing over plans to change the official seal for Union County. The current seal, pictured above, depicts the murder of Hannah Caldwell by a British soldier. Caldwell, who is believed to have been the first woman killed in New Jersey during the Revolutionary War in 1780, became a symbol defiance in the fight for independence.
Prospect Park becomes 1st N.J. municipality to adopt Community Energy Plan
- Prospect Park in Passaic County has become the first municipality to adopt a Community Energy Plan through the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ grant program. The borough used a $25,000 grant to retain DMR Architects to prepare the plan, which identifies more than two dozen initiatives that Prospect Park will implement within a five-year period, ultimately naming the Hasbrouck Heights-based firm as its planning consultant to help guide the implementation.
Why is N.J. rent so high? Because the state is short 225K affordable units, report says.
Camille Furst, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- For every 100 extremely low-income renters in New Jersey, there are only about 31 affordable apartments or houses available for them to rent, according to a new report.
A year after crisis, NJ parents still have a hard time finding baby formula
Susanne Cervenka, Asbury Park Press
- Stephanie Esposito snapped a photo of formula shelves and posted it to Facebook with a simple message. “Costco in Edison 1:30,” she wrote on “Formula Finder – NJ”, a Facebook group she started in May 2022 at the height of a national baby formula shortage. Esposito formed the group in hopes of finding Nutramegin, the formula her son, Dominic, ate, while offering aid to other parents also struggling.
Esteemed Sussex judge who was a ‘pillar’ in the legal community dies at 79
Lori Comstock, New Jersey Herald
- New Jersey Superior Court Judge Nicholas Peter Conforti, a legal giant in Sussex County courtrooms for over five decades whose legacy and esteemed reputation spread far and wide, died March 17 in Florida at the age of 79.
South Jersey mall faced financial problems when it was sold
Jim Walsh, Cherry Hill Courier-Post
- Cumberland Mall had defaulted on its mortgage when the shopping center was sold last year, the former owner has disclosed. PREIT, a Philadelphia-based shopping center operator, also wrote down the Vineland mall’s value on its books by $4.9 million, the firm said in an annual report on its 2022 operations.
County inmate’s death blamed on COVID, bad in-jail medical care in state lawsuit
Joseph P. Smith, Cherry Hill Courier-Post
- The death of a man who allegedly contracted COVID-19 while held in Cumberland County Jail is now the subject of a state lawsuit against the county, former and current jail administrators, as well as the company and its employees hired to provide medical services.
New legislative map, new candidates, same old question: Where are the hottest contests?
Colleen O’Dea, NJ Spotlight
- Last year’s redrawing of New Jersey legislative district lines, along with other factors, prompted 21 lawmakers to quit and six others to seek higher office, allowing dozens of newcomers to seek a shot at a seat in the state Assembly or Senate.
Whale death info needed faster as speculation grows rampant, N.J. Democrats tell feds
Steven Rodas, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- So far, mostly Republicans have pressed for more transparency following the deaths of at least 30 whales on the Atlantic Coast since December. They’ve done so while pointing to offshore wind development as the suspected cause, despite federal agencies saying no evidence supports that claim.
What will state’s Police Department takeover mean for Paterson?
Joe Malinconico, Paterson Press
- In a city numbed by frequent and often unfulfilled promises of law enforcement reforms, many want to hear additional details about the state’s Paterson Police Department takeover plan before they celebrate or condemn the intervention.
Political operative in bizarre NJ murder-for-hire case must leave home after missing rent
Ashley Balcerzak, NorthJersey.com
- A federal judge ordered political consultant Sean Caddle in January 2022 to don an ankle monitor and not leave his Sussex County home after pleading guilty to hiring two hit men to kill a former friend and associate.
With all the focus on Philly, what about South Jersey’s drinking water?
Frank Kummer, Philadelphia Inquirer
- While attention has centered on Philadelphia’s drinking water after a chemical spill, there’s another city across the way: Camden, which also uses water from the Delaware River.
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Author: Pete Oneglia