A Day in the Life of Political New Jersey

  • Dwindling down to a precious few…  According to PolitickerNJ, Senate President Steve Sweeney will not run for Governor. He is likely to formally announce this decision today or tomorrow. No big surprise. Can U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell be far behind him? It appears that the suspense is over and that it will be Sen. Barbara Buono who remains standing – tall and proud. Other Democratic leaders still need to endorse her, and we all need to put on our working boots to assure her victory.  

  • U.S. Senate Action today on Sandy…   The Senate is scheduled to take up the aid bill today at 4:30 and to vote on the matter at 5:30. Sen. Mike Lee (R Utah) is expected to introduce an amendment requiring that the cost of the aid be offset by reducing expenditures in the budget, but his measure seems bound for defeat. The aid bill should pass and President Obama will sign it into law quickly. The hurricane struck us on October 29, so getting this bill enacted has taken a painful and prolonged three months.

  • Late  afternoon press release…   As Governor Christie has been luke-warm on increasing the minimum wage and adamantly opposed to indexing its rate to the CPI, we can anticipate a press release today or tomorrow issued after most newspapers’ deadlines stating that the Governor is vetoing or conditionally vetoing the bill. So much for his statement last year: “I propose that we better engage and serve New Jersey’s most vulnerable citizens.” But there is still hope for increasing the minimum wage via a public ballot initiative. Polls show strong public support for an increase.

  • No cure for the housing blues?…   Christie’s concern for the vulnerable also does not extend toward those in need of low-cost housing. Today the State is contesting an appellate ruling and will continue its battle before the NJ Supreme Court to weaken New Jersey’s strict affordable housing requirements. At stake also is a dangerous precedent of giving New Jersey’s governor, viewed as one of the most powerful in the country, even more control over state government.

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