Gov. Phil Murphy was in Morristown yesterday to sign his latest executive order, this one on gun control.
You can read about the policy here. But I want to focus on the politics in this space.
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Morristown is in the 25th Legislative District, where Democrats are trying to flip two long Republican-held seats. Those Democrats have already made gun control — and Assemblyman Anthony Bucco’s (R-Morris) favorable NRA rating — a big issue in the race.
Sure, Morristown isn’t exactly plagued by gun violence. But the location and timing was just a “coincidence,” Gov. Murphy said.
So it must also have been a coincidence when Murphy held a gun control event in Westfield, another tony town that really doesn’t have much gun violence but happens to be the home of Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union), who’s facing his own tough reelection fight this year.
Let’s face it: There’s no separating governing from politics. And gun control has proved to be a potent political issue in New Jersey. In the 2015 election, Assembly Republicans’ refusal to override former Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of a very simple and uncontroversial gun control law probably contributed to their losses, especially in the suburban 11th District.
I do believe in coincidences. I’m just skeptical that yesterday’s choice of location was one.
WHERE’S MURPHY? — In New York for the 9/11 ceremony at 8:30 a.m., followed by a 1 p.m. Brennan Center speech on voting rights at NYU, and then 7 p.m. remarks at North Brunswick’s 9/11 ceremony.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY — Assemblyman Gary Schaer, Norcross Chief of Staff Michael Maitland
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “For the record I, of course, endorse @CoryBooker. Anyone writing otherwise clearly hasn’t been paying attention. My focus this election is on voter registration and the census.” — Rosario Dawson, walking back an earlier statement that suggested she wasn’t backing anyone.
DAYS SINCE MURPHY-ALIGNED GROUP INTENTIONALLY BLEW OFF SELF-IMPOSED DEADLINE TO DISCLOSE ITS DONORS: 253
BREAKING: COUGHLIN CAPABLE OF FEELING ANGER — Sources: Coughlin ‘inordinately pissed off at the governor’, by POLITICO’s Ryan Hutchins: Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin is fuming at Gov. Phil Murphy after his fellow Democrat called on the public to pressure lawmakers to pass a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtained driver’s licenses, according to three people close to the speaker. Coughlin (D-Middlesex), who has spoken out publicly in the past when Murphy has called on constituents to lobby their representatives in the Legislature, was said to be caught off guard by the comments the governor made at an event Monday evening. “He is inordinately pissed off at the governor for calling a day of action against his members,” one of the three people said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue. “You don’t call a day of action against fellow Democrats.”
A PRIVATE COMPANY CAN’T CONDEMN PUBLIC LAND? WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO? — Federal appeals court rules PennEast can’t condemn state land for pipeline project, by POLITICO’s Danielle Muoio: A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that PennEast can’t condemn state-owned land for construction of its 120-mile pipeline, a major blow to a project private homeowners, environmental advocates and the state attorney general’s office have been fighting. The ruling effectively blocks PennEast from building the natural gas line on land owned by the state of New Jersey. The current pipeline route from Luzerne County, Pa., to Mercer County, N.J., would cross 131 properties, 42 of which are owned by New Jersey. PennEast sued to condemn the state-owned land pursuant to the federal Natural Gas Act. But the Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, sitting in Philadelphia, ruled the state is immune from condemnation lawsuits from private parties under the 11th Amendment.
ACL-WHO? YOU’LL NEVER KNOW — “ACLU files suit in favor of ‘dark money,’ says donors should be able to give money anonymously,” by NJ Advance Media’s Ted Sherman: “The American Civil Liberties Union went to federal court Tuesday seeking to overturn a measure that would require political action organizations that accept so-called ‘dark money’ in New Jersey to disclose their donors. In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, the ACLU said the law violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and called for an order to restrain the state from enforcing the act.”
IT’S ALMOST AS IF THE SKY DIDN’T FALL — “Minimal wage impact: While worries persist among business owners, many have yet to feel pinched by higher costs,” by NJBIZ’s Daniel Munoz: “For seasonal workers, those employed between May 1 and Sept. 30, the minimum wage went up to $10.30 an hour. Workers at businesses with less than six employees will see their wages rise to $10.30 an hour in January, and both will reach $15 by 2026. Business owners told NJBIZ that some of their concerns about cost increases have yet to pan out, but they nonetheless have begun taking cost-cutting steps as a result of the wage increase.
TROY TO DELIVER A GIANT WOODEN HORSE TO MURPHY’S OFFICE AS A PEACE OFFERING — “Singleton rules out 2021 run against Murphy,” by New Jersey Globe’s Nikita Biryukov: “on’t expect to see State Sen. Troy Singleton mount a primary challenge to Gov. Phil Murphy in 2021. ‘And leave Joe Lagana?’ Singleton said after laughing for roughly five seconds upon being asked whether he would run for governor at the end of Murphy’s first term. ‘Me and Joe are a team. As long as Joe’s here, I’m here.’”
THE GUY WHO COULDN’T GET WITHIN SINGLE DIGITS OF A SCANDAL-PLAGUED SENATOR MAKES PERFECT SENSE — “Source: The shape of the GOP race for governor 2021,” from InsiderNJ: “A Republican source speaking on condition of anonymity told InsiderNJ that if President Donald J. Trump wins a second term, expect to see the Christie-era power put some force behind Bob Hugin … If Trump loses in 2020, he could make another statewide play. New Jersey usually runs counter to national elections. Money? Not an issue. He’s got plenty. $38 million in 2018 alone.”
POTENT POTABLES — Expert says New Jersey’s water quality law could become national model, by POLITICO’s Katherine Landergan: A top expert on water quality said Tuesday he believes New Jersey could become a national model for how to improve water system compliance if state officials figure out how to successfully implement a 2017 law aimed at improving oversight. “The problem we observe in New Jersey is entirely consistent with what we see across the country, so I think [this law] has the chance to be a model to be continued elsewhere,” said Manny Teodoro, director of the Policy and Politics program at Texas A&M University.
HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO SOOTH YOUR T-ZONE? — “Cigarette sales could soon be banned in pharmacies and some supermarkets in N.J.,” by NJ Advance Media’s Samantha Marcus: “New Jersey could soon bar pharmacies — as well as supermarkets and other retailers with pharmacies on their premises — from selling tobacco products. CVS Health voluntarily stopped selling cigarettes in its stores nationwide five years ago and Target quit selling them in the 1990s. And a bill (S992) under consideration in the state Legislature would impose a ban on all pharmacies operating in the state … The state Senate’s Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens approved the bill Tuesday afternoon.”
—Murphy on vaping danger: ‘I’m certain we will be taking more actions’
—Lassiter: “Vaping black market cannabis cartridges made me sick”
—Senate committee advances bill making hazing a felony
—“NJ Transit behind other railroads in safety system progress, feds say”
—“New Jersey and Homeland Security are teaming up to spot potential election security risks”
—“State holds hearings on sexual harassment, how to counteract it”
—“Chilled Zwicker rebukes League of Conservation Voters”
—“Freiman declines League of Conservation endorsement”
BREAKING: ELAINE CHAO TO TAKE CHARGE OF EPA —”The U.S. Senate just moved to help Newark deal with its water crisis,” by NJ Advance Media’s Jonathan D. Salant: “New Jersey state officials would be able to transfer $100 million from their federal clean water fund to help replace the lead pipes that have contaminated Newark’s drinking water under legislation that passed the U.S. Senate Monday. The bill, passed by voice vote, would help the state cover some of the $132 million it will cost to replace the lead water lines in Newark, as well as provide financial help to other municipalities. The money would be transferred from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. … The measure now goes to the House.”
—“Booker introduces bill requiring gun owners get a federal license”
—“No dogs on chopper tours, senators plead”
—“South Jersey town approves measure to ban Airbnbs after complaints of wild parties at Muhammad Ali’s former mansion”
JOURNALISM ETHICS — “Radio host who did Mayor Yaede interview works for township, didn’t disclose connection on air,” by The Trentonian’s Isaac Avilucea: “No wonder he didn’t play hardball with Mayor Kelly Yaede. WBCB 1490 radio host Joe Fabrizi is on the township’s payroll, The Trentonian has learned. Sources told the newspaper late Monday night the Yaede administration hired the Democratic operative as an inspector a few weeks ago. Township business administrator Dave Kenny confirmed that Fabrizi was hired as a part-time building inspector about three weeks ago. He makes between $20 to 25 an hour, Kenny said.”
“Orthodox Jewish group aims to nix Jackson dorm ban, ex-official accuses mayor of anti-Semitism,” by The Asbury Park Press’ Mike Davis: “Agudath Israel, suing the township for religious discrimination, has petitioned a federal judge to enjoin the town from enforcing ordinances that prohibit most school construction and all dormitory construction … A notable exhibit is the partial transcript of a deposition of former Councilwoman Ann Updegrave, who declined to seek reelection last year. In the deposition, Updegrave replied “yes” when asked if she believes Jackson Mayor Michael Reina, Council President Rob Nixon and Councilman Barry Calogero are anti-Semites.”
NO NEED. THERE’S NO CORRUPTION IN HUDSON COUNTY — “Hoboken to consider repealing their pay-to-play laws? Outside counsel says they should,” by Hudson County View’s John Heinis: “A letter prepared by outside counsel states that the City of Hoboken should consider repealing their stringent pay-to-play rules in favor of the statewide regulations since the law currently is unenforceable and therefore not helpful in preventing corruption … The legal opinion comes at a time when rumors of a super PAC getting involved in the Mile Square City this fall are swirling, however, getting the group to confirm as such has proven nearly impossible. NJ Community Initiatives is chaired by Louis Venezia, the chief of the Bloomfield Fire Department and the mayor’s brother, according to a July 29th filing with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.”
—“Ambiguous NJ PAC linked to Hoboken to utilize Democratic mainstay Wohlrab as fundraiser”
J’RECUSE! — “Union City municipal court judge: I should have recused myself,” by The Jersey Journal’s Ron Zeitlinger: “A Union City municipal court judge has admitted that she “created the appearance of impropriety” by failing to recuse herself when her landlord, also an attorney, appeared in her courtroom. In response to the formal complaint filed by the state Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, Munoz she ‘exhibited poor judgment that could undermine the public confidence in the judiciary’ in a letter dated Aug. 27.”
SUCH A TEASE. MAHWAH IS THE NEXT TOWN OVER — “Wawa construction begins in Ramsey,” by The Record’s Marsha A. Stoltz: “Clearing of the former Cury’s Sports Shop site on Route 17 has begun, to make way for the new Wawa store and service station. Hearings on the controversial plan for 966 Route 17 north began in 2013 and lasted through nearly four years of contentious meeting”
—“We will have answers soon on puzzling Newark water filter failure, mayor says”
—“[Penns Grove] said opponent didn’t live in town. She proved him wrong”
—“Ocean Town Center: Public accused of filibustering”
—“Elmwood Park councilman resigns, withdraws in aftermath of committee selection”
—“Elmwood Park Dems opt for council president to fill ballot spot”
—“Edison residents vote on who will run the sewer system,” by The Courier-News’ Bob Makin: “Food & Water Watch, councilmen and community activists are saying the referendum for an ordinance to create a water department and augment the township’s sewer department to repair and maintain township water and wastewater systems is expected to pass 4-1. Official results from today’s special election still are being tallied and won’t be available for about 15 minutes, but it looks as though the measure will pass as a grassroots effort in opposition to a controversial $851-million, 40-year deal with Suez North American. ‘Today’s referendum is just as much about Mayor Lankey as it is Suez,’ said Keith Hahn, the township police officer and one-time mayoral candidate who spearheaded the petition that led to the referendum. “”
YES WE CANNABIS — “The biggest N.J. cannabis convention hits Atlantic City this weekend,” by NJ Advance Media’s Amanda Hoover: “Hundreds of medical professionals, investors, cannabis industry experts and even those with just a curiosity in the burgeoning industry will converge on Atlantic City for a statewide cannabis convention next weekend. The roaming New England Cannabis Conventions (NECANN) will make its first stop in the Garden State at the Atlantic City Convention Center from Sept. 14 to 15. It marks the largest gathering of current medical marijuana professionals in the state, according to organizers. Marc Shepard, NECANN’s co-founder and president, said he expects 1,500 to 2,000 attendees — all focused on the industry in New Jersey.”
AN IDEA FOR A NEW TLC SHOW WAS BORN — “Fertility clinic ordered to hand over sperm donor list after white couple gives birth to Asian baby,” by NJ Advance Media’s Rebecca Panico: “A Livingston fertility clinic was ordered by a judge to turn over a list of sperm donors after a couple claimed the facility mistakenly impregnated the wife with the sperm of someone who was not her husband. The Verona couple, who are now divorced, say they learned of the mistake by the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas after noticing their daughter was developing Asian features. The couple, who are white, took a DNA test and learned that the husband was not the daughter’s biological parent, their lawsuit said.”