Asian-Americans demand action on hate crimes spurred by COVID crisis, N.J. congressman says

Posted Apr 13, 2021

Following the killings of six Asian Americans in Georgia, Rep. Andy Kim flew to Atlanta to meet with a community already traumatized by the uptick in hate crimes during the coronavirus pandemic.

“One question kept coming, which is, ‘What are you going to do about this?’” Kim, D-3rd Dist., said Tuesday. “That is the demand being made right now, It’s a demand that is justified given the violence and discrimination that the AAPI [Asian American Pacific Islander] community has faced.”

Kim, who had come to Atlanta March 28 with three other Asian-American members of Congress, joined other lawmakers Tuesday at a Capitol press conference called to push legislation designed to make it easier for Asian-Americans to report bias incidents and to help federal and local law enforcement authorities address them.

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Both of Murphy's primary opponents tossed from ballot

Poltico

04/13/2021

A woman drops her mail-in ballot into a drop box in Newark, N.J., Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

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Gov. Phil Murphy will face no primary opposition after the state Democratic Party successfully challenged the petition signatures of his only two challengers.

Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Rabin ruled that none of the 1,951 candidate petition signatures submitted by Lisa McCormick, a perennial candidate who scored 38 percent of the vote in the 2018 Democratic U.S. Senate primary against Sen. Robert Menendez, were valid.

“Having seen petitioner’s accusations, respondent failed to file an answer disputing those charges, and failed to appear for a hearing in which she could have challenged those assertions,” Rabin wrote. “Even without expert testimony, it appeared to the layman’s eye as if respondent McCormick had, at the last minute, simply created a template for completing individual single signature petition forms, and merely inserted the names and addresses of miscellaneous registered Democrats into the forms.”

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Murphy signs $10 million in federal aid for child care providers struggling during COVID

New Jersey child care providers that have felt the financial pain from the coronavirus pandemic are eligible to apply for $10 million worth of federal aid under a bill Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Tuesday.

The money is in the form of grants and won’t need to be repaid. It’s one of several relief packages Murphy recently signed into law recently that totals $100 million in federal grants for organizations and businesses crushed financially by the pandemic.

“Child care providers are absolutely critical to New Jersey’s workforce, and the COVID-19 pandemic has hit them especially hard,” Murphy said in a statement. “This legislation will help to ensure that these providers can continue to weather the pandemic and remain open and able to meet the needs of so many New Jerseyans who rely on them.”

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Biden names former N.J. attorney general to run Drug Enforcement Agency

Posted Apr 12, 2021

President Joe Biden on Monday nominated former New Jersey state Attorney General Anne Milgram as head of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Milgram, who served as the state’s chief law enforcement officer under Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine from 2007 to 2010, serves as a special counsel for the law firm of Lowenstein Sandler and teaches law at New York University School of Law.

“Anne is a great choice for this extraordinarily important position,” said another former New Jersey attorney general, Chris Porrino, a partner at Lowenstein Sandler. “We look forward to her swift confirmation and continued success in this new role.”

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NJ fund offers loans to Black-owned firms impacted by COVID-19

JOE HERNANDEZ, WHYY NEWS | APRIL 13, 2021

NJ Spotlight News

April 28, 2020, shuttered businesses along the boardwalk in Atlantic City

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Like countless small businesses across the country, N&R Divine Cleaning Service in Hackensack saw its client base dry up when the coronavirus pandemic struck last year. Offices, schools, and fitness centers were all forced to close for a few months and no longer needed professional cleaners.

“It was not a good feeling,” said owner Nadine Brown, who had to use her savings to pay bills and buy groceries.

Brown, who was out of work for three or four months, said she applied for loans to support her business but wasn’t successful. Since her one-woman firm has only been in operation for a couple of years, Brown said banks looked at her personal credit score, which was “not that great.”

That was when she learned, through a connection at the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ), about a program to help Black-owned businesses access capital in the wake of the pandemic.

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Murphy plans to continue time-honored NJ tradition: Shortchanging recipients of Homestead tax relief

JOHN REITMEYER, BUDGET/FINANCE WRITER | APRIL 12, 2021 

NJ Spotlight News

New Jersey property tax keeps climbing.

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Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are making a case for halting the state’s long-running practice of using fine print in the annual budget to shortchange thousands of New Jersey homeowners who receive Homestead property-tax relief benefits.

A recent NJ Spotlight News story highlighted how Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1 would continue to use outdated property-tax bills to calculate Homestead benefits, and thus shortchange eligible homeowners, collectively, by millions of dollars.

Murphy, a Democrat running for reelection in November, has proposed doing so even as his overall budget would increase state spending by roughly 10% year-over-year to a record total of nearly $45 billion.

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N.J. reports 33 COVID deaths, 2,993 cases. Virus transmission rate drops

Posted Apr 10, 2021

New Jersey on Saturday reported another 2,993 cases of the coronavirus and an additional 33 deaths as nearly half of the state’s adult population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose. Meanwhile, the rate of transmission dropped below a key benchmark.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced the latest data on social media, the day after the governor and First Lady Tammy Murphy both received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Atlantic City mega-site.

The state’s 71 hospitals reported 2,344 patients as of Friday night, down 14 people from a day earlier. Hospitalizations had been rising this week, but remain well below the recent high of 3,873 on Dec. 22. The last two days, hospitalizations have dropped.

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Murphy signs $35 million in aid for N.J. restaurants crushed by COVID crisis

Posted Apr 09, 2021

New Jersey restaurants that have been crushed financially by the coronavirus pandemic will be eligible for aid under a $35 million package Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law on Friday.

The grants from federal aid to the state won’t have to be repaid by restaurants.

“These are not just small businesses. These are places where communities come together,” Murphy said at an event in Atlantic City to sign the legislation.

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These vital N.J. needs would get big bucks from Biden’s new proposed budget

Posted Apr 09, 2021

The federal program to help fund the Gateway Tunnel and Portal Bridge, and grants to help Camden, Newark and other New Jersey communities would see more money under President Joe Biden’s proposed budget for the 12 months beginning Sept. 1.

The spending proposal was released Friday in advance of a more detailed budget, including proposed tax changes, that will be announced later this year.

Overall, Biden proposed spending $769 billion on non-defense programs, up 16% over current levels, and $753 billion on the Pentagon, up 1.7%. The spending is just part of the overall federal budget.

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Christie sitting out New Jersey governor’s race — and no one’s complaining

 Politico

04/08/2021 

Portrait photos of Jack Ciattarelli (left) and Chris Christie. 

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Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is keeping a busy schedule these days.

He also recently hosted Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in a public discussion, headlined a fundraiser for a member of Congress from Long Island, had dinner with Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner and, back in New Jersey, joined a fundraiser for Republican state senator.

There’s one thing Christie — who, after his unsuccessful 2016 run for president was one of the first mainstream Republican endorsers of Donald Trump — hasn’t done: Aided the gubernatorial candidacy of Jack Ciattarelli, the frontrunner for the GOP nomination to take on Christie’s successor, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, in November.

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