New Jersey governor makes new push for ‘sweeping’ new gun laws

 Politico

04/15/2021 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks during a joint meeting of the Democratic-led Assembly and Senate in Trenton.

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday began his third major push for new gun control laws since taking office in 2018. He cited rising gun violence in cities across the country, including in parts of New Jersey, which already has some of the nation's most stringent gun laws.

The governor, a liberal Democrat who is up for reelection this fall, said the measures were “perhaps the most sweeping gun violence prevention package in the nation” and would “guarantee unquestionably that New Jersey will have the strongest gun violence prevention laws in the United States of America.”

Murphy unveiled his proposals at a press conference in Newark, where he was joined by high-ranking lawmakers from both houses of the state Legislature. But at least some of the proposals are likely to hit a wall in the state Senate.

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It’s debate season in the N.J. governor’s race. But not for Phil Murphy.

Posted Apr 15, 2021

At least two Republicans hoping to unseat Democratic incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy in this year’s election will spar in a pair of public debates.

Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and engineer Hirsh Singh both met the criteria to debate at dates to be announced. Ciattarelli is required to participate because he accepted two-for-one matching funds from the state and Singh raised at least $490,000 for his campaign, Election Law Enforcement Commission officials announced this week.

A third GOP hopeful, Phil Rizzo, failed to qualify for the debates but is currently appealing ELEC’s ruling.

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More than 4 in 10 Republicans won’t take COVID vaccine, poll says

Posted Apr 14, 2021

The vast majority of Democrats are anxious to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Not so with Republicans, according to a poll released Wednesday.

A Monmouth University Poll found 43% of Republicans said they won’t take a shot in the arm, compared with just 5% of Democrats.

Overall, 1 in 5 Americans, 21%, said they had no plans to be vaccinated, even as the virus continues to spread and new variants are discovered. That was statistically about the same as the 24% who said last month that they would not take the vaccine.

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Feds unveil plan to deal with the Passaic River’s toxic mud

Posted Apr 14, 2021

The lower reaches of the Passaic River are toxic.

Heavy industrial pollution through the 19th and 20th centuries left the river-bottom laced with hazardous substances, including carcinogens like dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

It’s a history of pollution that has robbed residents in Newark and surrounding towns of the chance to fully enjoy the river, a fact that once led U.S. Sen. Cory Booker to call the river “New Jersey’s biggest crime scene.” To this day, people are warned against eating any fish or crabs pulled from the Passaic.

Federal efforts to clean up this section of the river, known as the Diamond Alkali Superfund site, have been underway for decades. Now, the next chapter of that work is set to begin.

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In COVID-19 surge, NJ hospitals learned lesson on cooperation

LILO H. STAINTON, HEALTH CARE WRITER | APRIL 14, 2021 

NJ Spotlight News

 

Cathy Bennett

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The initial surge of COVID-19 cases created historic challenges for hospitals nationwide but the response from acute care facilities in New Jerseys involved unique levels of collaboration and cooperation, a novelty for some health care systems that usually function as fierce competitors.

The power of these partnerships was among the lessons from the past year that Cathy Bennett, the President and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association President, shared Tuesday in a conversation with NJ Spotlight News. Bennett, a former state health commissioner, now hopes to build on this momentum in ways that will benefit public health long after the pandemic.

“On the average day we like to call that ‘cooper-tition’,” she said with a laugh. “But for this day, for this time, it really was about collaboration. It was about cooperation. It was about leadership from the highest levels of health care systems.”

“It wasn’t about competition. It was about coming together to save lives,” she added.

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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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