The NJDSC Week In Review for August 26, 2011
Welcome to the latest installment of the NJDSC's week in review. Here's a look back at some of the news from this past week and toward the end, some of the upcoming events around the state next week:
Extreme Weather Warning
- A state of emergency has been declared ahead of Hurricane Irene. For more information on hurricane preparedness, you can click here.
- American Red Cross' hurricane safety checklist, a quick and practical guide
- Ready.gov has more information on how you can protect your family and property from the hurricane.
- Star Ledger: Hurricane Irene survival guide: How to prepare, what to do, other useful tips.
- The National Hurricane Center continues to be the official source for Hurricane Irene forecasts and updates, which you can find at www.hurricanes.gov.
- Senator Menendez has put up a Hurricane Irene resource center.
- NJ Transit rail service will be suspended beginning noon Saturday. All NJ Transit bus service, light rail and access link service will be suspended starting Saturday at 6 p.m.
- Senator Menendez and Congressman Pascrell met with local officials from Passaic County and Pompton Lakes to survey preparations for the hurricane.
- How to keep pets safe during a hurricane.NJ pets welcome at hurricane evacuation centers.
Celebrating Women's Equality: The 91st Anniversary of the 19th Amendment
- Over 90 people attended the New Jersey Democratic State Committee's 3rd Annual Women's Equality Event in Montclair. Chairman Wisniewski, Congressman Pallone and Congressman Holt joined special guest Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz and honorees included County Chairs Charlotte DeFilippo, Liz Muoio, Peg Schaffer and Lois Zarish.
- Chairman Wisniewski: “Today we celebrate the 91st anniversary of the 19th amendment that gave women the right to vote. The lessons of history are unfortunately too easily forgotten. The struggle for equality did not end 91 years ago, but continues on to this day. Women are not only entitled to the right to vote, but equal pay for equal work and to be treated with dignity and respect. It is a struggle we all need to associate ourselves with and work for its success.”
- Congressman Rothman: This Women’s Equality Day, I encourage all Americans to reflect on the real progress we have made, and to recommit to the goal of achieving full equality for every member of our society.
- MsMagazine: Top Ten Historic Advances for Women Now at Risk.
NJDSC Hosts Ramadan Iftar
- Over 100 people attended the first NJDSC Ramadan Iftar, which was held at Istanbul restaurant in North Brunswick. The dinner was an opportunity for friends, neighbors and colleagues to share traditions and come together as a community. Elected officials in attendance included Prospect Park Mayor Mohammad Khairullah, Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith, Essex County Freeholder D. Bilal Beasley, Princeton School Board member Afsheen Shamsi, North Brunswick Councilwoman Cathy Nicola and former East Orange Councilman Jimmy Small.
The Next Step to Providing Healthcare
- A bill which would create the New Jersey Health Care Reform Implementation Council in order to position the State to comply with new rules and regulations and reap additional federal assistance from national health care reform was approved by the Senate by a vote of 22-17.
- Chairman Wisniewski: “The single biggest domestic challenge facing America today is the escalating cost of health care. Many of us who understand this challenge supported President Obama and Congress in their enactment of the federal Affordable Care Act. The New Jersey Health Care Reform Implementation Council is the next step in the process of providing coverage for New Jersey residents. This council will help develop a marketplace to promote competition among health insurance companies and provide consumers with the opportunity to purchase the best plan at the best price. Not only will this benefit New Jersey by increasing access to affordable health care, but it will help reduce treatment disparities, control costs, and improve the affordability, quality and effectiveness of health care.”
- Senator Weinberg: “The federal health care reform law has the potential to dramatically reshape the administration of health care in this country and ensure that all people have access to decent, affordable health care. We have a responsibility to cooperate and comply with the federal law, and we have an opportunity to leverage the expertise of our residents to achieve increased federal financial aid for the working poor and uninsured. We cannot let this opportunity pass us by.”
- According to a report by the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy, implementing this milestone healthcare program will decrease the number of uninsured New Jersey residents by 14.5% by extending health insurance to 440,000 New Jerseyans. You can view the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy report here.
Remembering John Adler
- Courier Post: Adler family establishes memorial fund for Veterans' Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School.
- Burlington County Times: Family of late congressman establishes memorial fund for veterans' affairs.
- The John Adler Memorial Suited Up and Ready To Go Drive.
- Senator John Kerry at Huffington Post - Remembering John Adler: "But there's something more I keep thinking about when I remember John. And that's the urgency his life and his death underscore for all of us in politics, which is that because you never know when it's going to end, you better spend every day leaving behind something you're proud of. The word legacy is almost too high fallutin.' It's simpler than that. It's just about being a good public servant and trying to get something good done, no matter how bitter or difficult the times. John did that. He never let any grass grow under his feet. He wasn't just a young man in a hurry, he knew where he was going -- he knew what he wanted to get done for people, and people respected that about him which is why he was the first Democrat elected to represent his traditionally Republican congressional district in New Jersey since the late 19th century."
Christie and Republicans Turning New Jersey into the Giveaway State
- Star Ledger Editorial: New Jersey was becoming the Giveaway State. We punted unprecedented billions in federal funds for the ARC Tunnel, which the governor killed. We blew hundreds of millions of dollars with a botched Race To The Top application. We lost millions more targeted for charter schools. And, for a while, we had a giveaway mole in our midst – Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen tried to ship $450 million, intended for electrical upgrades (among other things) on the Northeast Corridor Line, to the Midwest for flood relief. Imagine that: Money slated for New Jersey, intended to help the state’s working stiffs get to their jobs, nearly sabotaged by a Congressman from New Jersey.
Christie's Negativity Rating Jumps 21%
- PolitickerNJ: More New Jersey registered voters say their opinion of Gov. Gov. Chris Christie has worsened than improved since he took office, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released today, in which 45% of voters have a favorable impression of the governor, compared to 47% who say they feel unfavorable.
- Star Ledger: Opinions of Gov. Chris Christie have "gotten worse" since he took office, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton poll released today. Of those polled, a plurality, 38 percent, said their opinion of the governor have slipped since he took office in January 2009.
- The Bray: Christie's Negativity drops 21 points.
- New Jersey Newsroom: Gov. Christie's voter appeal dropping faster.
Investigation Expands into the Elizabeth School Board
- Star Ledger Investigation: Elizabeth school officials' kids don't pay full meal costs, records show.
- In a letter to federal and state officials, State Senator Lesniak, Assembly Majority Leader Cryan and Assemblywoman Quijano requested an investigation into the alleged abuses of the national school lunch program operating within the Elizabeth School District.
- Star Ledger: The state attorney general has opened a criminal investigation into allegations that three Elizabeth school officials abused a taxpayer-subsidized lunch program, sources briefed on the matter said Wednesday. Officials of the embattled school district and the state Department of Agriculture, which oversees the federal program, confirmed they had received subpoenas seeking records on who receives free or reduced-price lunches. The investigation was prompted by an article in The Sunday Star-Ledger that said the president of the Elizabeth Board of Education, a school principal and the head of custodians signed their children up for the lunches even though they earn too much money to qualify.
Christie's Toll Hike - Not The Fix We Need
- NBC New York - Port Authority Toll Hikes Not the Fix we need: When gamblers pay off members of a team to control the score, it’s called a fix. Now the question for commuters from New York and New Jersey is: when the Port Authority raised the tolls on bridges and tunnels, was the fix in? There’s a suspicion in some quarters that it was.
- New Jersey Newsroom on Christie toll hikes: He keeps shifting the burden to commuters — not all commuters just some of them. He had no problem w/ NJ Transit fare hikes last year & he no problem w/ Parkway & Turnpike toll hikes that go into effect in a few months. And now he has no problem with letting the trans Hudson commuters pay more. Is such a policy fair? Hardly.
- Senator Lautenberg: "This is just the latest assault in Governor Christie’s war against New Jersey commuters. Make no mistake, these toll hikes are a tax on commuters that will disproportionately hurt New Jerseyans."
Kids In New Jersey Aren't Better Off Under Christie And Republican Policies, They're Poorer
- Star Ledger: "The typical poor family is a single mother with children, working a low-wage job. Gov. Chris Christie has only made their lot harder. Last year, he took $45 million from the meager paychecks of the poor by reducing the earned income tax credit. This year, Democrats voted to restore that money. But Christie vetoed that restoration. What sense does that make? As the governor pushes to improve student outcomes in inner-city schools, he’s simultaneously undercutting these kids at home. Children who are hungry, who move around a lot because of struggles to find housing or jobs, don’t do well in school. Parents who grapple with unemployment are distracted and depressed."
- Senators Lautenberg and Menendez applauded the release of a $450 million high-speed rail grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for Amtrak to make critical upgrades to the Northeast Corridor in New Jersey.
- Senator Menendez sent a letter to the Presidents of Colombia, Panama, and Costa Rica encouraging them to oppose any resolution that may come before the UN General Assembly seeking to impose a unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state before the UN.
- Senator Lautenberg, Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, announced nearly $158 million for homeland security programs in New Jersey. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) resources will be used to secure high-risk, urban areas in the state and protect the region’s ports, transportation network and other critical infrastructure. The funding will also help to improve emergency communication, preparedness and response efforts across the state.
- Senators Lautenberg and Menendez called on President Obama to work with the state of New Jersey to make a federal disaster declaration for communities impacted by storms that hit the state from August 13-15th, as well as for farmers who have lost their crops due to severe weather throughout the 2011 growing season. The declaration could provide financial support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to New Jersey communities hit hardest by the recent storm, and would allow farmers to apply for aid through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.
- The Patch tagged along with Congressman Holt last Thursday to visit three local manufacturers and learn about the obstacles that they face in this economy and how they have found success. This is the first in a series of three articles that gives a snapshot of the state of manufacturing in Eatontown and Tinton Falls.
- Congressman Pascrell spoke with Knickerbocker Machine Shop workers during a town hall-style meeting to address the challenges to New Jersey’s manufacturing sector.
- “Groundbreaking” was a word used early Tuesday afternoon to describe the types of innovation believed to be necessary to spark a revitalization of New Jersey manufacturing, comments that came during a forum hosted by Congressman Holt and Pallone at Rutgers University’s Busch Campus.
- Congressman Pascrell joined Bloomfield Mayor Raymond McCarthy and other local officials and business owners for the commencement event for the redevelopment of the city's central business district. Since 2003, Congressman Pascrell has secured more than $2.1 million for projects supporting Bloomfield's redevelopment efforts, including the restoration of the Lackawanna train station, upgrades to the Watsessing train station, and procuring jitney busses.
- Congressman Pallone pushed the "Make it in America" jobs agenda which closes tax loopholes that encourage outsourcing U.S. jobs overseas, provides hometown tax credits to help small businesses hire new employees and sell their products and innovation overseas, boosts incentives to create clean energy jobs, sets requirements for government and its contractors to buy American Products and services, demands that China and other countries honor fair trade principles or lose American business, gives incentives to hire and re-train America's returning veterans for new clean energy jobs and strengthens partnerships with businesses to re-train workers for the jobs that are actually needed.
- Congressman Sires was among a group of 29 House members urging House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi not to end the House Page Program.
- Congressman Andrews announced that South Jersey had received over $350,000 in federal funds for local law enforcement efforts, helping departments make significant public safety improvements while retaining police jobs. The grant can be used for personnel, equipment, training, and a variety of other purposes, and was issued through the Department of Justice’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program.
- The American Biogas Council is pushing for support of Congressmen Sires and Holt's waste-to-energy technology act of 2011, which would provide a 30 percent tax credit to eligible waste-to-energy facilities using municipal solid waste or sewage sludge.
- Congressman Payne is on a fact-finding trip with additional members of Congress to central Africa sponsored by the humanitarian group CARE and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The group has looked at the U.S. Agency for International Development’s efforts to prevent the spread of AIDS, reduce poverty and infant mortality and stop violence toward women.
Under the Dome
- AP: A New Jersey law barring drivers under 18 from having more than one passenger is in the spotlight after an SUV driven by a 17-year-old and carrying seven teenagers crashed. Chairman Wisniewski wants to see if there are "gaps or problems" with the Graduated Driver's License law, which aims to limit distractions for new drivers. The Asbury Park Press said this tragic accident raises questions.
- The Third District Legislators held a town hall meeting at Salem Community College
- Courier Post: The New Jersey Senate has approved a measure aimed at stamping out bedbugs. The bill would require commercial facilities that have beds to have agreements in place with exterminators to eradicate bedbugs if they're found.
- Legislation to encourage donations to the American Red Cross was approved 39-0 by the Senate on Thursday and is now poised for final legislative approval.
- Legislation was introduced that would require New Jersey hospitals to implement a facility-wide plan to prevent the spread of MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection that can be life-threatening in hospital settings but is preventable through the use of basic infection control procedures.
- A resolution to designate Sept. 11 of each year as American Heroes Day in honor of the emergency responders throughout the state who put their lives on the line to serve and protect the people of New Jersey was approved by the full Senate.
- Legislation to establish a moment of remembrance on Sept. 11 to commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the worst terrorist attack ever to take place on American soil was approved by the full Senate.
- Courier Post: Lesniak makes push for N.J. online betting.
- Star Ledger: New law reinstates moratorium on surcharge levied on commercial developments.
- A New Jersey lawmaker wants to block the Christie administration’s controversial plan to allow businesses, towns and residents to bypass state environmental regulations.
- Legislation to restore the income eligibility for New Jersey’s AIDS Drug Distribution Program to the level it was at before it was slashed by Gov. Chris Christie has been signed into law.
- With the acceptance of his new position as Camden County director of Veterans Affairs, Assemblyman Jack Conners resigned from the Legislature after 14 years of service. Assemblyman Conaway congratulated his district mate and wished him the best of luck.
- Assemblywoman Wagner makes a case that Rutgers University needs to reprioritize its spending, focusing more on education than athletics.
- Philadelphia Inquirer: Atlantic County's Senate race is the one to watch in New Jersey.
- Senator Whelan on Christie's plan to eliminate the Division of Fire Safety: "As a former mayor of an urban area, I can attest to the importance of coordinated fire fighting and investigative efforts. The Division often plays a crucial component in those areas. I will await to hear the administration's response, but I fail to see the logic of this proposal."
- A bill which expands New Jersey’s DNA database law to require more violent arrestees to submit DNA samples to the database in order to solve unsolved New Jersey crimes was signed into law last week.
- A bill which would establish a three-year pilot program in the Department of Human Services in order to make sure Medicaid recipients have access to quality health care is now law.
- Legislation known as “Pamela’s Law” that would criminalize the possession and sale of products containing “bath salts,” has been signed into law.
- August 30
Summer Roast of Senator Jim Whelan
5:30 to 7 pm
Chelsea Hotel, Atlantic City
- August 31
16th District Legislative Candidates Meet & Greet
5 Tufts Court, Kendall Park, NJ
Rock the Voters!
Voter Registration and Festival/Fundraiser for Marilyn Schlossbach for Assembly
Stone Pony, Asbury Park NJ
18 to Vote $18 to Enter!
For more information please call Grace at 732.540.2293
- September 1
"Fundamentals of Effective Fundraising" Class
Manville SCDC Headquarters - 19 S. Main St., Suite 3. Manville, NJ 08835
All Democrats are welcome.
Free Admission for candidates running in Somerset County. All others are asked to donate $20.
Light food & refreshments will be served.
- September 4
Vella For Senate FAMILY FUN DAY At Monmouth Race Track
Gates open at 11:30 am
First race at 12:50 pm
Cost: $30 per person campaign contribution and entrance to park. Children 12 and under are free
- September 5
The Democratic 24th Campaign Committee is hosting a Labor Day Rally i
Location: ‘On the Square’ , Newton, NJ
Meet our candidates-Ed Selby for State Senate, Leslie Huhn and Jim Nye for General Assembly
Special guest speakers will include: Carol Gay, President of the New Jersey State Industrial Union Council; Mike Kruczek, President of the Warren County Education Association; and New Jersey Assembly Majority Leader, Joe Cryan.
- September 8
Middlesex County Democratic Organization Fall Cocktail Reception
6:00pm to 8:00pm
Event will be held at Novita Restaurant Bistro & Grill
Tickets are $1,000
Address of the event is at 25 New Street, Metuchen, NJ 08840
- September 10
Assemblywoman Elease Evans Community Recognition Breakfast
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We will continue to have updates about news from our elected officials and the many campaigns across the state. There will certainly be more to come next week. Have a great weekend.
John Wisniewski, Chairman
New Jersey Democratic State Committee