News Roundup & Open Thread for Friday, Feb. 23, 2018

Trump’s quiet campaign to bring back pre-existing conditions: Trump administration is quietly taking regulatory steps to make it easier easier for insurance companies to sell plans that exclude patients with preexisting conditions or don’t cover basic services like maternity care, mental health treatment, prescription drugs


CD2 Jeff Van Drew: Voted against marriage equality. 100% NRA rating. Backed Christie’s move to pull NJ out of RGGI. Pro-pipeline through the Pinelands. And given ‘Red to Blue’ status by the DCCC. It shouldn’t be this easy for George Norcross to secure congressional seats for his people. Or for the national party to help him do it.

CD3: Andy Kim at the rally to end gun violence outside Tom MacArthur’s office (video)

CD4: Chris Smith hasn’t had a town hall since 2010. But APP has decided to make their editorial board interview with him public today, and invite questions from constituents that they will ask.

CD3: Star-Ledger amplifies decision by Rep. Tom MacArthur (93% NRA rating) to change his position on gun background checks

To the pokey: Menendez donor and former co-defendant Salomon Melgen gets prison for Medicaid fraud


In 6th iteration, Sweeney’s nuclear subsidy bill clears committeedespite fears it could scuttle Gov. Phil Murphy’s clean energy agenda

Murphy joins fellow Dem governors to help stem gun violenceNJ, NY, CT & RI agree to share intelligence, databases

LD11 Dems Sen. Vin Gopal and Assembly members Downey and Houghtaling plan legislation to ban NJ’s pension funds from investing tax dollars in companies that make guns like the one used in the Parkland shooting, and require the funds to sell off any stock they have in gun manufacturers.

Quote of the Day

“I was sexually abused by a corrections officer. I saw countless women raped while serving my time. I spoke up, I complained, I reported it. Nothing was done.”  
Testimony yesterday in Trenton by former inmates of New Jersey’s only women’s prison, Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Hunterdon County. Eight staff members there have been criminally charged over sex abuse claims in the last 18 months

Around New Jersey 

Michael Wolff coming to Montclair: Author of Fire and Fury, the West Wing exposé that so unnerved Trump

Dumont Councilwoman Barbara Correa takes parting shot at council after leaving. Correa had objected to restrictions on residents’ comments at public meetings. In a parting letter, Correa wrote that she hopes her seat is filled by a “hard-working” and “honest” person: “Someone who speaks their mind out loud at meetings – not behind closed doors.”

Bayonne mayoral candidate Jason O’Donnell wants a cop in every Bayonne school

What’s near you? What big road projects are moving ahead in all 21 counties (paid by your higher gas tax)

A cool million in taxpayer money: 8 Bergen County employees who claimed their layoff was ‘political’ because they supported Kathleen Donovan and not Jim Tedesco for county exec will share a $1 million payoff

Teachers “cannot shoot our way to safety.” NJEA rebukes Trump’s school-shooting fix of arming teachers


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