By MATT FRIEDMAN
06/30/2021 06:55 AM EDT
Presented by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
Goodbye Gurbir Grewal.
New Jersey’s high-profile attorney general is joining the federal government as head of enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission, starting late next month.
This move caught Trenton insiders by surprise. Of course this isn’t akin to a demotion. It’s a major job. And Grewal, who’s served longer than any attorney general since Robert Del Tufo left office in 1993, wasn’t expected to serve another term as AG. Nobody’s done that since the 1960s. And I had picked up in recent months somewhat stressed relations between Grewal and members of the Murphy administration and lawmakers, in part because of the late 2019 corruption sting that some saw as the use of a lot of resources to take down some bit players.
But this should dispel some speculation about Grewal’s political ambitions. Some sthink those ambitions played a role in a bill kicking around the Legislature that would bar prosecutors from running for office for three years after they’ve left their positions — fed in part by Grewal’s eagerness to pick fights with the Trump administration and his status as one of the highest-profile South Asian officials in the state as that community’s political clout begins to catch up with its numbers.
This is not the kind of job that’s going to put Grewal in front of New Jerseyans very often, if at all. But it does look like the kind of job that after a few years can land one a very well-paid partnership at a prominent white collar defense law firm.
Read more about it here.
WHERE’S MURPHY?: In Elizabeth for a 10:30 a.m. “welcome ceremony for Little Lady Liberty,” then in Trenton for a 1 p.m. coronavirus press conference. Media: “Ask Governor Murphy” on your local NPR affiliate at 7 p.m.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Governor, you fulfilled a dream of mine. I know that’s scary. I know you gotta be thinking ‘oh shit … But we’re making the full pension payment.” — Senate President Steve Sweeney
TWEET OF THE DAY: “Guess he won’t personally carry out his vow this morning to continue to fight the PennEast pipeline.” —POLITICO’s @alexcguillen on Grewal’s exit announcement.
TRAILER OF THE DAY: The Many Saints of Newark
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: State Sen. Troy Singleton, Essex County COS Phil Alagia, Hopewell Mayor Paul Anzano, Lumberton Mayor Gina LaPlaca, Kaufman-Zita’s Jeanine LaRue
A message from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey:
Thousands of New Jerseyans face complex social and economic barriers to good health. Those social determinants of health are also responsible for most health inequities. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey has teamed up with health care organizations and nonprofits to create Horizon Neighbors in Health, a program delivering personalized help that addresses the social determinants of health. Even in the face of a global pandemic, Horizon Neighbors in Health’s results have been extraordinary…
SORRY ABOUT ALL THOSE DECADES OF CRIMINALIZING WHO YOU ARE — “Liquor laws once targeted gay bars. Now, one state is apologizing,” by The New York Times’ Tracey Tully: “One tavern in Newark was shut down for a month in 1939 after a man ‘made up with rouge, lipstick, mascara and fingernail polish’ asked for a drink in a ‘very effeminate voice,’ records show. In Paterson, N.J., a saloon owner lost her liquor license in 1955 after investigators spotted 15 male couples dancing and sitting with ‘heads close together, caressing and giggling.’ And in 1956 in Asbury Park, which was then, as it is today, a hub of gay life on the Jersey Shore, a bar was cited for serving men who ‘rocked and swayed their posteriors in a maidenly fashion.’ From the end of Prohibition in 1933 through 1967, when a State Supreme Court ruling finally outlawed the practice, New Jersey, like many other states, wielded its liquor laws like bludgeons to shutter gay bars. On Tuesday, New Jersey will acknowledge that painful history for the first time. A trove of records unearthed by the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control is being released publicly online, providing a wrenching historical look into policies that spanned four decades. And New Jersey’s attorney general, Gurbir S. Grewal, the state’s top law enforcement officer, is expected to offer a formal apology for the decades-old enforcement actions.”
—“NJ says gender identity will determine where prisoners go,” by NJ Spotlight News’ Colleen O’Dea: “New Jersey prison officials have agreed to place inmates in facilities based on their gender identify, not their sex assigned at birth, as part of a settlement of a lawsuit filed by a transgender woman who argued that being forced to live in four different men’s prisons violated her civil rights. The change, which takes effect July 1, will make New Jersey one of only a handful of states — California, Connecticut and Massachusetts are others — that will base prison placements on gender identity, as well as considerations of inmate safety. The new 11-page policy also prohibits discrimination of an inmate based on gender identity, requires staff use appropriate pronouns and honorifics when addressing a person, and guarantees prisoners appropriate undergarments, personal products and heightened privacy protections.”
GARDEN STATE FORWARD? — Murphy signs $46.4B budget that ‘moves our state forward,’ by POLITICO’s Katherine Landergan: Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday signed a record $46.4 billion state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 during a ceremony that showcased unity with some of the same fellow Democrats he’s sparred with in the past. “This is a budget that pays our bills, meets our obligations and invests in a brighter future,” Murphy said minutes before signing the spending plan at the Ross Street School in Woodbridge. “This is a budget to build a stronger, fairer New Jersey that works for every family. Most of all, this is a budget that moves our state forward.” The signing ceremony reflected the different nature of this year’s budget season. Murphy and all 120 seats in the Legislature are on the ballot in November, and the governor and Democrats who control the two chambers negotiated a spending plan quickly and almost entirely behind closed doors.
I WOULDN’T RECOMMEND SWIMMING IN THE HACKENSACK — “Destination Bergen: Sweeney swims in northern waters,” by InsiderNJ’s Max Pizarro: “The South is moving. They want Hudson in their corner and now they also want Bergen. A week after the power players from South Jersey interfaced with the poohbahs of Hudson, they’re on their way to neighboring Bergen County and a meeting with County Chairman Paul Juliano. Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-6) are said to be angling their SUVs in the direction of Juliano’s Fairview for a Wednesday evening session. Sources say the talks likely have to do with 2025 and getting Sweeney to the Governor’s Mansion post Phil Murphy. He serves two more years as senate prez in exchange for northern support toward a statewide run, or some variation on that theme. Just speculation. What’s not in question is the meeting Sweeney and Greenwald have secured with Juliano.”
—“Sweeney/Norcross road trips continue”
CHANCE THIS SINCE-CHANGED NJ.COM HEADLINE MAKES IT INTO A CIATTARELLI MAILER: 100% — “Murphy shows support for caravan that blocked N.J. Turnpike over no extra money for immigrants,” by NJ Advance Media’s Sophie Nieto-Munoz: “The governor hinted a second round of money could be coming to the excluded workers fund during the budget signing in Woodbridge … The group blocked the highway around 5:45 p.m. Monday afternoon for about 10 minutes before New Jersey State Police arrived and ordered them back to their cars. No arrests were made, and traffic was slowed for about 30 minutes. ‘I do think public safety is important here, having said that,’ Murphy added. ‘So I appreciate their passion, I appreciate the cause, but we’ve got to be careful we don’t put other people at risk.’ There were protesters outside the budget signing who continued to call for the $1 billion for excluded workers. One man approached State Senate President Sweeney as he walked out, asking him why there wasn’t more included. ‘You had a $10 billion surplus,’ he told Sweeney.”
IT AIN’T OVER TIL THE THIN LADY WITH THE TORCH SINGS ‘I’M FROM NEW JERSEY’ — “Supreme Court hurt N.J. fight to grab remote worker taxes from N.Y. Murphy says it’s not over,” by NJ Advance Media’s Samantha Marcus: “New Jersey and other states engaged in a tug-o-war over teleworkers had signed onto amicus briefs in support of New Hampshire, which argued it was unconstitutional for Massachusetts to collect income taxes from employees of Massachusetts companies who were working from home in New Hampshire during the pandemic … ‘I’m disappointed,’ Murphy said after signing the state budget Tuesday morning in Woodbridge. ‘I think right now it’s fair to say we’re considering our options here, because we want to fight for New Jersey commuters and New Jersey taxpayers.’”
(AND THE BOTTOM DROPS OUT) — Group formed late in primary to help South Jersey GOP Senate candidate, by POLITICO’s Matt Friedman: A new group was formed in South Jersey late in the primary campaign that helped a single state legislative candidate. Better Days PAC filed paperwork with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission in mid-May and began spending thousands of dollars on mailers promoting Republican state Senate candidate Vince Polistina and opposing Seth Grossman, his rival in the June 8 primary. In all, Better Days — which can raise and spend unlimited sums as long as it does not coordinate with the candidates, making it essentially a super PAC — spent $30,505 on the primary and, according to a consultant for the group, plans to be active in the general election. “Better Days PAC is an independent expenditure only committee that is focused on helping to elect Republicans in South Jersey,” the consultant, Pete Sheridan, said in a statement. Former Gov. Chris Christie headlined a $1,000 per head fundraiser for Better Days last week in Linwood with Polistina as the “special guest speaker,” according to an invitation to the event.
‘SEE! THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THE LINE’ – EVERY BOSS — “NJ has nearly double the national average of women of color in state politics,” by NJ 101.5’s Patrick Lavery: “According to the latest update of data maintained by the Center for American Women and Politics, more than 600 women of color are now serving in state legislatures nationwide, an all-time high. “At the end of 2020, women of color constituted 7.4% of the total 7,383 state legislators in the country, and they now currently are 8.2%,” Chelsea Hill, CAWP data services manager, said … Of the 36 women among New Jersey’s 120 members of the state Senate and Assembly, 19 are women of color, six of them in the Senate and the other 13 in the Assembly. That’s more than half of female state legislators here, and 15.8% of the state legislature overall.”
—“New Jersey ready to start paying Hudson Tunnel cost early, Murphy says”
—“Nine possible attorney general candidates if Murphy gets a second term”
—“Names in the game to succeed Grewal as attorney general”
—“Swift, Guardian attack incumbents over votes on mandatory minimums bills”
—“Landlord refused to accept tenant’s rental assistance for illegal unit. NJ says they must”
—“Immigrant children often face deportation hearings without a lawyer. NJ wants to change that”
—“Black leaders call for pro-transparency budget reforms”
—“State Park Police officer stole $75K from N.J. unions, authorities allege”
—“After infighting over procedural rules, Hoboken GOP elects Joe Branco as new chair”
—“New N.J. driver’s licenses feel fake, some drivers say, and that’s caused some problems”
—“Can NJ be more transparent with its budget? Speedy passage this year raises concerns”
THEY CAN TAKE OUR LAND, BUT THEY’LL NEVER TAKE OUR PIZZA — Pipelines notch win against states before Supreme Court, by POLITICO’s Alex Guillén and Ry Rivard: The Supreme Court’s ruling on Tuesday in favor of the PennEast natural gas pipeline is a setback for states seeking to stop developers from wielding the federal government’s eminent domain authority to seize land within their borders for infrastructure development. But opponents of the pipeline that would run between Pennsylvania and New Jersey vow that the fight is not over, as they intend to pursue other avenues to block PennEast. States like New Jersey, New York and Washington used Clean Water Act authority to block pipelines and other fossil fuel projects under the Trump administration, which worked to advance oil, gas and coal projects quickly and to limit states’ ability to block such development. However, the Supreme Court ruling has shut down New Jersey’s novel legal strategy that tried to stop PennEast from seizing state land for the pipeline, responding to industry warnings that a lower court’s ruling in favor of New Jersey threatened to upend the U.S. energy sector.
RE-ELECTION — “Appellate court rules special election, full recount needed in Atlantic commissioner races,” by The Press of Atlantic City’s Michelle Brunetti Post: “There will be a special election for the 3rd District seat on the Atlantic County Board of Commissioners, and a full recount of the November 2020 election will be required in one at-large commissioner’s race, after a state appellate court ruled on the two cases Tuesday. The rulings mean Atlantic County elections officials, already dealing with the requirements of preparing for the state’s first election with 10 days of early voting by machine in November, will need to somehow find time, funds and staff to handle the extra work … Witherspoon was certified the winner after getting 15,034 votes to Parker’s 14,748, but Superior Court Judge Joseph Marczyk decertified her win in January after Parker contested the results. The county clerk had sent ballots without the race on them to 338 voters in the district who should have been able to vote in the race. Since Parker lost by just 286 votes, Marczyk said a new election was needed.”
GREEN LAWS — “Newton Council votes unanimously to allow marijuana sales, but with conditions,” by The New Jersey Herald’s Bruce A. Scruton: “Before the echoes of a unanimous vote to allow cannabis sales in town had faded, the Council introduced two changes to the permitting ordinances. The changes, recommended by the town’s Planning Board, call for a ban on all Sunday sales — retail or wholesale — and for stronger language in the ordinances when it comes to ‘odors’ emitted by cannabis businesses.”
—“Tensions over how to deal with violence, crime in Atlantic City”
—“Montclair students and staff will now have off for Eid al-Fitr, thanks to a fifth-grader”
—“Tenants, landlord trade complaints at Camden apartment complex”
—“Judge orders Cape May councilman’s release”
—“Moorestown Mall COVID-19 vaccine mega-site set to close next month”
—“Evesham Township in South Jersey spending more but without raising taxes”
—“NJ budget includes $400K to help finish Toms River park for people with disabilities”
—“Newark breaks ground on housing complex for LGBTQ+ homeless community”
THE 1840S CALLED. THEY WANT THEIR RIVER BACK — “N.J.’s largest river to flow freely for 1st time in 180 years,” by NJ Advance Media’s Michael Sol Warren: “The company responsible for a legacy of pollution scattered across five sites in urban North Jersey plans to compensate for the damage by removing a dam in suburban Somerset County. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Kinder Morgan, a Texas-based oil company, announced a proposed settlement last month for natural resource damages at industrial sites in Newark, Bayonne, Woodbridge, Garfield and Harrison. Under the deal, Kinder Morgan will pay for and execute the removal of the Headgates Dam, which runs across the Raritan River between Hillsborough and Bridgewater … Dam removals are a common way of restoring river ecosystems to their natural state.”
—“’Full steam ahead’: NJ State Fair returns after a one-year absence”
A message from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey:
Factors related to where someone lives, works, learns, or ages should not determine their health or their ability to access quality health care. But they do.
That is why Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey partnered with leading health care providers and nonprofits to launch Horizon Neighbors in Health – the most comprehensive effort in New Jersey to provide personalized assistance addressing the social determinants of health and reducing health inequities.
The results achieved during the first year of Horizon Neighbors in Health have been extraordinary. 2,500 New Jerseyans helped. Housing, food needs, transportation, financial assistance and more provided. And this is just the beginning.
Horizon Neighbors in Health shows what is possible when everyone with a role in health care commits to working together to challenge the status quo and build sustainable partnerships focused on what is best for the patient, and best for New Jersey.
Matt Friedman @mattfriedmannj
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Matt Friedman is a reporter for POLITICO New Jersey and writes New Jersey’s Playbook.
He has been reporting on New Jersey politics since 2007, beginning at PoliticsNJ.com (now PolitickerNJ.com) and followed by five and a half years at the Star-Ledger’s Statehouse bureau.
Prior to reporting in New Jersey, Matt worked as a research assistant for Village Voice investigative reporter Wayne Barrett.
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