What’s Happening Today Tue. 11/19/2013

“How can government be made to work?” That question was conveniently in the title of last night’s WSJ-sponsored CEO event which included a presentation by Chris Christie. His answer basically was “Elect me President.” Today he will be elevated to Chairman of the Republican Governors Association at its meeting in Arizona. Such will bring him more moola and opportunities to campaign in other states. Time will tell if he looks like a prince or a frog to the electorate.

How the FDA has changed: Those who have seen the movie Dallas Buyers Club are reminded that when thousands of individuals were dying of AIDS the FDA arrested people for importing DDC (approved for AIDS in Europe but not yet in the USA) as well as other medications not yet sanctioned by the FDA. Now the FDA is permitting the import of a meningitis vaccine (approved in Europe but not the USA) for Princeton University students where seven people have been afflicted but none fatally.  

Our fragile NJ Supreme Court: After unanimous Senate confirmation yesterday our newest member of the Supreme Court is the Cuban-born Faustino Fernandez-Vina, the Camden County assignment judge. He takes the oath of office this morning and joins a court beset by a governor who wants to re-make it. Christie has broken tradition by failing to grant judges tenure –  placing all tenured members in a position of insecurity whenever they decide in a way that goes against his wishes. This also impacts judges in the larger court system. For any future appointments to the Supreme Court, Senators should insist on at least one Democrat to retain balance.

Two new Democratic members of the Assembly are sworn into office: Filling the temporary vacancy left in LD 29 by Al Coutinho (who resigned and then pled guilty to theft) is Eliana Pintor Marin, who, also won the seat in the General Election for the next two years. Filling a vacancy until January created by the resignation (for personal reasons) in LD 38 of Connie Wagner is Paul Contillo (who previously served in the legislature). In LD38 where four candidates for two Assembly seats each garnered about 25% of the vote, Democrat Joe Lagana received the highest ballot count followed by Democrat Tim Eustace who recently was ahead by only some 50 votes. A recount is likely. Go Tim!

Dreamers may soon achieve their dream: The Senate yesterday passed the New Jersey DREAM Act (S2479 – Sponsor Teresa Ruiz) providing the two essential components: tuition equality and access to college loans for undocumented youths living in NJ and brought to the USA by a parent. The identical Assembly bill (A3509 – Sponsor: Gordon Johnson) still has to go through committee. Leadership in both houses seek to present the bill to Governor Christie during the lame-duck session. Christie recently said he might sign-off on such a bill,  but he could also prove meddlesome with a conditional veto. Supporters need to keep up the pressure and email Christie their concern until it is signed into law.

Get Covered America joins Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula for Health Reform Roundtable: 9:30am, Outreach, Informational Session to Provide Asian Americans with the Facts on Affordable Care Act, Raritan YMCA, 144 Tices Lane, East Brunswick. Our beleaguered  ACA Law relies not only on quickly fixing the website glitches, but on enrolling a large number of young, healthy individuals in order to spread the risk pool and keep prices reasonable.

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