Presented by Anbaric Development Partners

Good Thursday morning!

Across the Hudson, Democrats who control the Legislature have a plan to strip Gov. Andrew Cuomo of his emergency pandemic powers even if theres debate over how much it actually does.

Thats given New Jersey Republicans a new opening to call for limiting Gov. Phil Murphys powers.

Most of Murphys authority to do things like order shutdowns and limit capacities here is based on the 2005 Emergency Health Powers Act and the 1947 Civil Defense and Disaster Control Act. But legislative leadership is unlikely to repeal either, or to enact Republican legislation requiring that they determine whether to re-up his powers for short periods of time.

Its not that many Democratic lawmakers wouldnt love to take the governor down a peg. But Murphy at this moment just isnt as politically weak as Cuomo. Sure, his administration has seen plenty of scandals. But unlike Cuomo, he doesnt have multiple women directly accusing him of harassment. And while New Jersey lost thousands of people at nursing homes to the pandemic and made the same controversial decision about readmitting Covid-positive residents that New York did no evidence has emerged that New Jersey downplayed the deaths in official counts as Cuomos accused of doing.

And unlike New York, its an election year where Murphy andDemocratic lawmakers are all on the ballot together. So theyre not going to want to launch a huge power struggle. .

Throughout the pandemic, New Jersey has taken many of the same steps New York has, for better or worse. But at least this time, New Jersey almost certainly wont be following New Yorks example.

WHERES MURPHY On Facebook Live

for an event on 2020 overdose data, then on MSNBC at 1:30 p.m.

CORONAVIRUS TRACKER 2,957 newly-reported positive PCR tests for a total of 710,046. 63 more deaths for a total of 21,052 (and 2,397 probable deaths). 1,921 hospitalized

QUOTE OF THE DAY #1: This reform bill will clean up corruption in Washington, restore our democracy, and promote bipartisanship. We need to restore our democracy to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Rep. Jeff Van Drew on H.R. 1, the big Democratic voting rights and campaign finance bill, in March 2019

, when he was a Democrat.

QUOTE OF THE DAY #2: We were warned for years about the rise of socialism. Well, Madame Speaker, here it is, served on a platter. Using your money to pay for politicians campaigns Rep. Jeff Van Drewon H,R, 1

yesterday

as a Republican. (Im just going to leave this here

).

HAPPY BIRTHDAY My lovely wife, Emily. Rep. Chris Smith

A message from Anbaric Development Partners:

New Jersey is leading the race to scale offshore wind, taking groundbreaking steps like announcing a first-in-the-nation transmission only solicitation. Now, NJ will need a partner that can deliver on this bold vision. With extensive experience building transmission systems, Anbaric is the company New Jersey can trust to achieve our clean energy goals. Visit nj.anbaric.comto learn more.

WHAT TRENTON MADE

‘I MISS GOING OUT WITH FRIENDS AND ATTENDING EVENTS’ – ME PRETENDING I HAD A LIFE PRE-COVID As cases climb and vaccine distribution improves, New Jersey marks 1 year of Covid-19, by POLITICOs Sam Sutton: Gov. Phil Murphy had just been wheeled out of surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his kidney on March 4, 2020, when he received a text saying New Jersey had recorded its first case of Covid-19. One year later, official estimates put the states death toll at close to 23,500, a number that’s climbing by several dozen each day. Eleven months removed from its time as the epicenter of a global pandemic, New Jerseys per-capita death rate remains the highest in the U.S. More than a year ago, we knew wed have to prepare our state, and each of you, for the worst and hope for the best. None of us could have even imagined what it was that wed be up against, Murphy said during his regular Covid-19 briefing on Wednesday, his 170th since a Jan. 29, 2020, press conference at which state officials insisted the risk posed by the virus was quite low.” We were in the dark. Theres no other way to put it, he said.

Murphy stunned by other states lifting of Covid restrictions

WHITE MONTCLARIONS LOOK AT BLM SIGNS ON THEIR LAWNS AND SAY HMM Black families in NJ make ‘heartbreaking’ choice to keep kids in remote learning, by The Records Hannan Adely: Across New Jersey, Black parents … have been far more likely than white parents to keep their children in remote learning and to support school closings due to the coronavirus. These families have seen the deadly virus disproportionally affect communities of color and have lost family and friends or fallen ill themselves. Yet their decisions to stay home are not easy, knowing that remote learning may cause some students to fall behind. A February survey of 960 New Jersey residents showed that Black children were more than two times as likely to be learning remotely than their white counterparts. Thats partly because some districts with large Black populations remain closed. But even if given the option of in-school learning, 67% of Black families said they would probably or definitely stay remote, compared to 23% of whites, according to the survey commissioned by Project Ready, a Newark-based social justice group.

N.J. teachers can finally get vaccinated. How soon will schools fully reopen? by NJ Advance Medias Adam Clark: The answer, for many parents, is probably not soon enough. The states backlog in scheduling vaccination appointments, the roughly six-week timeframe it takes to become fully protected from COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions mean many schools might not feel confident fully reopening anytime soon, experts in health and education say Fewer than 10% of New Jersey students about 74,000 children are currently learning in-person full time, according to state data provided Monday by Gov. Phil Murphy. Another 56% percent of students 760,000 children are in hybrid instruction, meaning they get some time in the classroom, but spend at least part of their week learning from home. State officials are fully expecting schools across New Jersey to have in-person learning ‘safely and responsibly’ when the next academic year starts in September, Murphy said Monday.

THEYVE HAD THEIR PHIL Phil Murphy gave New Jersey progressives what he promised. Now theyve got his back for reelection, by The Philadelphia Inquirers Allison Steele: Some progressives cite disappointments during Murphys first term, like a controversial $15 billion state tax incentive program. But with the governor enjoying high approval ratings three months before the June primary, many are focused instead on down-ballot races and policies they plan to push in a second term A December deal on a state tax incentive bill to create about $15 billion in credits for businesses drew outrage from some Murphy supporters, particularly those who cheered the governors earlier attacks on the program. Murphy has said that the new bill imposes much-needed regulations on a program that became a lightning rod for accusations of corruption and that it will boost small businesses. But progressives saw the deal as Murphy shoring up crucial support from state Senate President Stephen Sweeney and his powerful ally, the South Jersey Democratic power broker George Norcross. A Murphy-appointed task force had previously investigated whether companies with ties to Norcross abused the program to win overly generous tax breaks. The companies denied wrongdoing, and Norcross has said the credits helped revitalize cities like Camden. People were looking for [Murphy] to maintain a tough stand against party politics, said Kate Delany, president of the South Jersey Progressive Democrats. Theres some disappointment.

IM ONLY BIASED AGAINST PEOPLE WHO DIP PIZZA IN RANCH DRESSING NJ wants to tweak the jury system to check for racial bias. Here’s what would change, by The Records Kaitlyn Kanzler: The state Supreme Court last month proposed new questions to be posed to prospective jurors to try to pinpoint any unconscious assumptions about race, ethnicity, religion or other characteristics. The proposal would also change the instructions given to juries before they head into deliberations to urge them to check any internal biases. Witnesses, parties, lawyers, jurors or other people involved with this case may have personal characteristics …or backgrounds different from yours, or they may be similar to yours, potential jurors in civil and criminal cases would be told. Would these differences or similarities make it difficult for you to decide this case impartially, based solely on the evidence and the law?

UNCIVIL SERVICE Former health department official suing over firing facing retaliation lawsuit, by POLITICOs Matt Friedman: A former high-ranking New Jersey Department of Health official whos suing the state for allegedly being fired for whistleblowing against top-ranking aides to Gov. Phil Murphy is now facing a lawsuit targeting him for workplace retaliation. Audrey Miller, who was hired provisionally as a program manager in the health department in 2017, claims in her lawsuit that former Assistant Health Commissioner Christopher Neuwirth said he would do everything in his power to keep her employed as a program manager after she inadvertently missed the Civil Service examination that would allow her to stay in the job permanently.

Palisades Park hires former cops as part-time consultants instead of civilian police director

N.J. confirms 2 more highly contagious COVID variants 2 cases of Brazil and 34 cases of N.Y. variants

Murphy extends utility shut-off moratorium for residents through June 30

N.J. quietly added 11 medical conditions, including being overweight, asthma, to COVID vaccine eligibility list

N.J. makes it easier to get details about outbreaks and visitation at states nursing homes

Auth to introduce Cardinales marijuana home growing bill in the Assembly

Why did N.J. open up vaccines to teachers, others, when some are still waiting for an appointment? State says it has a plan

Former Teaneck councilman vouches for Soriano-Taveras, says he was at rally with her

Call to boycott Teaneck businesses draws Anti-Semitism allegations in NJ Assembly campaign

Daggett: Interested in local N.J news? Heres a way one group is investing in its future

The Odyssey: Fred Snowflacks vaccination voyage

DON’T MISS “THE RECAST”: Power dynamics are changing. “Influence” is changing. More people are demanding a seat at the table, insisting that all politics is personal and not all policy is equitable. “The Recast” is our new, twice-weekly newsletter that breaks down how race and identity are recasting politics, policy, and power in America. And POLITICO is recasting how we report on this crucial intersection, bringing you fresh insights, scoops and dispatches from across the country, and new voices that challenge “business as usual.” Don’t miss out on this important new newsletter, SUBSCRIBE NOW. Thank you to our sponsor, Intel.

BIDEN TIME

MEANWHILE CHRIS SMITH HAS REFUSED TO WALK BACK HIS SPECULATION THAT ANTIFA RAIDED THE CAPITOL New Jersey man charged in Capitol riot: ‘I don’t know what made me do it, by The Press of Atlantic Citys Ahmad Austin: James Rahm knew his fate was sealed as soon as he entered the Capitol. The 61-year-old former Atlantic City resident was in the crowd in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 during the riot that would eventually kill five people. He said the passion of the moment brought him into the Capitol rotunda, but it was a decision that would have dire consequences. I marched in singing God Bless America, Rahm said in a Tuesday phone interview, and once I crossed that line over that door, I knew it was bad. I knew the FBI was coming for me. My stomach sank. Rahm, who now lives back in his hometown of Philadelphia, was indicted last month on charges of tampering with a witness, victim or informant; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

HEAT When it comes to Covid, ‘hot spot’ isn’t just a metaphor, by POLITICOs Victoria Colliver and Nolan D. McCaskill: If you overlaid a map of the countrys coronavirus hotspots with its actual hotspots that is, neighborhoods with the highest levels of extreme heat the maps would be virtually the same. These hotspots, better known as heat islands, are hotter than other neighborhoods because they often have large expanses of concrete, less greenery, higher density housing, lower average incomes and poorer health status than more affluent neighborhoods. Those same factors have also contributed to skyrocketing Covid-19 caseloads in those neighborhoods. Researchers and public health officials concerned about the disproportionate death toll the Covid-19 pandemic is having on people and communities of color have noticed the coincidence between Covid and heat. And that makes them concerned about the future, since climate change is expected to exacerbate many of the environmental factors that are disproportionately affecting minority neighborhoods, particularly higher temperatures. This has complicated efforts to combat the pandemic. Last years extreme heat 2020 tied with 2016 as the hottest year on record hit at the same time government health officials were telling residents to stay home and isolate. But for people with no or inadequate air conditioning, staying home was also a health risk. The truth is that the physical landscape of marginalized communities contributes to their vulnerability to disease.

Prison was devastated by COVID, but didnt receive money to combat pandemic. N.J. lawmakers ask why

LOCAL

GRAND JURY WAS ASKED JUST ONE QUESTION: ‘WHO’S BAD?’ Paterson city councilmen Michael Jackson, Alex Mendez indicted in voting fraud case, Grewal says, by The Paterson Press Joe Malinconico: Two City Council members Michael Jackson and Alex Mendez have been indicted on various voting fraud charges stemming from last Mays Paterson elections, the New Jersey Attorney General announced on Wednesday. The allegations involve the councilmens handling of mail-in ballots in the all-vote-by-mail election conducted in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The two men prominent political adversaries of Mayor Andre Sayegh won their races by more than 200 votes, but were charged with election fraud about a month after the final results were in These indictments are an important step in our prosecution of these two sitting city councilmen on charges including second-degree election fraud, said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

PROPOSAL HAS LOCAL OFFICIALS HOWELLING Sick of Howell’s partisan politics? An activists group is: Here’s their fix, by The Asbury Park Press Alex N. Gecan: A team of local activists wants to take party politics out of Township Council elections no more party lines on ballots, no more primary elections, and a requirement for all candidates to file nominating petitions. The group has set up a petition calling on current council members to enact the change. The aim, proponents say, is to remove the partisan political influence that manifests in policy and land-use decisions Howell residents have to bear and open up council elections to a broader candidate pool. When we watch the machinations of the zoning and planning boards, all too often it seems … there’s partisan appointments that are voting on these applications in partisan manners, said Marc Parisi, one of the committee members of Howell NJ First.

GANNETT: YOU CANT UNIONIZE IF YOUVE ALL BEEN SIMULTANEOUSLY ASSIGNED TO COVER A CHICK-FIL-A OPENING Gannett pressuring employees to end bid to unionize, Senators, House members allege, by New Jersey Globes David Wildstein: Five New Jersey lawmakers today told Gannett to stop interfering with the right of reporters at three North Jersey newspapers to unionize. U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, and Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) accused Gannett of holding anti-union captive audience meetings with their employees. We are concerned to learn that Gannett has engaged in anti-union campaigning and procedural delay tactics designed to exert influence and poison the union election process, the lawmakers said in a letter to Gannett CEO Michael Reed. ‘Such union-busting is anathema to democracy and has no place in New Jersey, where there is a proud and long history of unionized labor.’ A union spokesperson confirmed that Gannett management is holding those meetings in a bid to stop employees from forming a union.

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Famed Jersey Shore beach patrol faces dueling lawsuits over white power accusation

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EVERYTHING ELSE

PRISONS N.J. inmate brutally beaten by officers, left in own feces, lawsuit alleges. He died days later, by NJ Adavnce Medias Joe Atmonavage: The last time Elizabeth McNair spoke to her younger brother in August 2019, she said he relayed a haunting threat from a correctional officer at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel. You are gonna die up in here, his sister said one of the officers told him. Over the next few days, McNair didnt hear from her brother. It was odd, she said, because they typically spoke five or six times a week. Later she would find out why. Smith was in near comatose state after he was allegedly attacked twice by a group of correctional officers in gang-style assaults at the facility, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed last month.

GOODBYE FROM ASBURY PARK The fight to save Tillie An Asbury Park icon is withering away in a shed. Will he be a casualty of the citys rebirth? by NJ Advance Medias Alex Napoliello: For generations, Tillie a caricature resembling George C. Tilyou, a 19th century showman and entrepreneur from Coney Island watched over the Asbury Park boardwalk. He stood as a sentinel of summer with big blue eyes and a perpetual toothy grin, staring down from the lime-green walls of the long-since razed Palace Amusements building. But Tillie has been banished behind a wastewater treatment plant for nearly two decades, hidden in a 20-foot tall wooden box. This is where the cherished landmark will spend his 65th birthday, decaying where the smell of sewage and salt air meet. At some point and I think were getting near that its not going to be salvageable, explained Paul Himmelstein, a historical preservationist who inspected the mural in 2005, 2014 and 2016. Its not going to be the image people expect it to be anymore. Tillie has become a symbol of what Asbury Park once was a storied summer playground on the Jersey Shore, rich with entertainment in the 1950s and 1960s and the place where Bruce Springsteen got his start, playing nightclubs such as the famed Stone Pony. Tillies absence is also a reminder of what could be lost as the city enjoys a renaissance of high-end restaurants and million-dollar condos after decades of decline.

A message from Anbaric Development Partners:

With a bold vision of creating 7500 MW of wind energy by 2035, New Jersey is leading the race to scale the offshore wind industry, but a major question remains: How will we transport that energy back to shore? The answer is planned transmission, the most efficient, economic, and environmentally friendly way to bring offshore wind power to New Jerseys homes and businesses.

Acknowledging the considerable benefits of a planned transmission approach, the BPU announced late last year that the state, alongside PJM, will issue a first-in-the-nation transmission-only solicitation in early 2021. Now, New Jersey will need a partner that can deliver on this transformative opportunity.

With extensive experience building transmission systems, Anbaric is the company New Jersey can trust to achieve our states clean energy goals. Anbaric is committed to scaling the offshore wind industry while protecting ratepayers and the environment. Visit nj.anbaric.comto learn more.