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State Sen. Dick Codey last week introduced a bill thats sure to raise eyebrows and some groans. It would include members of the news media journalists and photographers as the newest protected class in New Jerseys Law Against Discrimination.

There has been increasingly heated rhetoric in this country against the press, though luckily we dont have to worry about the types of dangers journalists face from drug cartels south of our border or from authoritarian governments in other parts of the world. Still, for women journalists in particular, online harassment has gotten disturbing.

I havent done a formal survey of my colleagues, but based on what I have seen so far on social media and the reaction of reporters in Florida to a similar proposal its probably not going to be very popular with them. For one, the law protects groups of people based on race, religion, gender identity, etc. Its about who they are, not what they choose to be. We choose to be reporters, even if I ask myself pretty much every day why the hell I chose this profession.

One Florida reporter responded to her states proposal by saying If you want to help journalists, expand public records laws. Theres also the thorny issue of who counts as a journalist. The bill has a pretty broad definition

. But this is a First Amendment right, and any attempt to strictly define it, especially by the government, can get messy.

Id note the irony that Codey once said hewished he could take out radio host Craig Carton after Carton made fun of postpartum depression in reference to Mary Jo Codey’s struggles with it. But thats not really ironic, because as hard as it may be to define who counts as a journalist, I think everyone would agree Carton isn’t one.

Read more about it here.

WHERES MURPHY?: In Newark for a 10 a.m. vaccination center tour, then in Trenton for a 1 p.m. coronavirus press conference. Media: Fox 29 at 8 a.m.

CORONAVIRUS TRACKER: 4,378 newly-reported positive PCR tests for a total of 796,700. 61 more deaths for a total of 21,951 (and 2,535 probable deaths). 2,329 hospitalized, 452 in intensive care. 1,550,641 fully vaccinated, about 17.5 percent of the population.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY:WFAs Sue Altman, Marlboro Councilmember Jeff Cantor, Atlantic City Councilmember Mo Delgado, Silver Strategies Andrew Edelson, Assemblymember Christopher Tully,

QUOTE OF THE DAY: The community is saying, No, they gotta have something. If you look at whats been happening across the country, there has to be a deterrent mechanism. State Sen. Ronald Rice on

criminal

penalties for police

who conduct illegal searches of kids for cannabis or alcohol. Rice would favor ending qualified immunity instead.

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Meet Fallon. Delivering with Uber Eats helps her pay for college while allowing her the flexibility to fit her schedule around studies. Fallon chooses Uber because, unlike most other gigs, she can control her hours and spend more time focusing on her future. Watch her story in her own words below.

WHAT TRENTON MADE

DEMOCRATS AFRAID TO MAKE ‘VOTE EARLY, VOTE OFTEN’ JOKE FOR FEAR OF NEWSMAX REPORT Contrasting New Jersey to Georgia, Murphy signs early voting law, by POLITICOs Matt Friedman: Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law on Tuesday allowing New Jersey residents to vote early and in person on machines, as Republican governors and lawmakers pursue new voter restrictions in other parts of the country. Murphy was joined briefly at a virtual press conference by Georgia Democratic activist Stacey Abrams, whose home state enacted a law adding some restrictions to voter access last Thursday, the same day New Jersey passed the early voting legislation. I cannot overlook that this early voting bill passed our Legislature the same day that the governor of Georgia was signing a law restricting the right of Georgians to vote, Murphy said. They couldnt prove the big lie in any court of law so instead theyre writing the big lie into law. Georgias law came after President Joe Biden carried the state in November, and after its two Senate seats flipped Democratic in a Jan. 5 runoff election, a turn of events many credit at least partially to Abrams organizing.

Murphy wants same-day registration. Sweeney says itll never happen

CHIARAVALLOTI RUNNING OFF THE LINE Assemblymember Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Hudon) ater losing Hudson County Democratic support because of Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis for unstated reasons, plans to run again anyway. His statement:From securing funding for Bayonne’s schools, the walkway project, and the pedestrian bridge over 440, to raising the minimum wage, establishing the Community College Opportunity Grant Program, revising civil asset forfeiture procedures, providing pre-k for all and standing up for our senior citizens and immigrant brothers and sisters, I am proud of the pragmatic, progressive record of results we have achieved. I am in public service because I love my community, and I am filing my petitions to seek re-election to the Assembly because I want to continue to make Bayonne, Jersey City and Hudson County an even greater place to live and work.

That makes Chiaravalloti the third incumbent to lose party support for reelection in either all or the substantial parts of their districts, following Assemblymembers Serena DiMaso (R-Monmouth) and Betty Lou DeCroce (R-Morris). Party leaders sometimes downplay how important the line is in primary elections. This year, with several incumbent lawmakers running off of the line, will put that claim to the test.

Key labor leaders endorse Chiaravalloti for re-election, ask Hudson Democrat to get on board

Essex GOP backs DeCroce for re-election, but passes over Webber

CALLAHAN No ‘improper or corrupt influence’ in assault case, vindicating Callahan, by POLITICOs Daniel Han: An investigation found no evidence of improper or corrupt influence in a sexual assault case involving the son of a county official, vindicating acting New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan and other officials. The independent investigation was released on Tuesday by the state Attorney Generals office. The report revolved around a 2017 incident in which Ian Schweizer, the son of a Morris County official, allegedly sexually assaulted Laura Gallagher, a high school acquaintance. The Sussex County Prosecutor’s office ultimately dismissed Schweizer of the charges, which sparked accusations of misconduct within the process. There was speculation that Callahan also intervened inappropriately to obstruct the case, but the report found he acted in good faith. The report said the dismissal was also done in good faith and that there was a breakdown in process and communication between the Sussex County Prosecutors office and New Jersey State Police detectives.

HOMEBOUND BOUND For New Jersey’s homebound, a long wait for a COVID vaccine prompts painful choices, by The Records Scott Fallon: A COVID-19 vaccine shot would once again open up Carmella Setteducato’s home in Fair Lawn to her nine children, a dozen grandchildren and a handful of great-grandchildren who want to visit the 95-year-old matriarch. But Setteducato has so much trouble walking that taking her to a vaccine provider would be an ordeal, her children say. We just want someone to come into her home and give her the vaccine, said John Setteducato, Carmella’s son More than three months after the statewide COVID inoculation campaign began, New Jersey’s plan to vaccinate thousands of homebound seniors and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is still in its infancy. An insufficient number of doses, especially of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, has been blamed for the state’s slow distribution to those at home. But state officials said last week that they are still working out the details of homebound vaccination, including such basics as determining exactly how many people need the service.

NJ COVID crisis caused deep decline in child toxic lead testing, state says

Edelstein: How many new COVID cases are in New Jersey? Show us the numbers, Gov. Murphy

Millions have gotten the COVID vaccine in N.J. So why are cases continuing to rise?

Keep it safe: Vaccine cards could have future use in New Jersey

JOIN THE CONVERSATION, SUBSCRIBE TO THE RECAST Power dynamics are shifting in Washington, and more people are demanding a seat at the table, insisting that all politics is personal and not all policy is equitable. The Recast is a new twice-weekly newsletter that breaks down how race and identity are recasting politics, policy and power in America. Get fresh insights, scoops and dispatches on this crucial intersection from across the country and hear from new voices that challenge business as usual. Dont miss out on our latest newsletter, SUBSCRIBE NOW. Thank you to our sponsor, Intel.

BIDEN TIME

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL Coalition seeks more federal funding for Gateway Program, by POLITICOs Samantha Maldonado: A coalition of labor and business groups is petitioning Congress for new sources of funding for the Gateway Program and other key infrastructure projects. The coalition, called Build Gateway Now, sent a letter on Monday to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and congressional delegations from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, urging them to pass legislation that creates new pots of money “for transportation projects of regional and national significance.” The coalition consists of more than 45 labor, civic and business groups from New York and New Jersey. The Gateway Program includes replacing the Portal North Bridge in New Jersey and fixing the Hudson River train tunnel by repairing the dilapidated, century-old tunnels and adding two new tubes between New Jersey and Manhattan. The Hudson Tunnel portion will expand rail capacity along the Northeast Corridor and is estimated to cost over $12 billion.

THIS TIME NEALS’ NOMINATION MAY NOT BE JULIENNED President Joe Biden announced his first slate of judicial nominees Tuesday, tapping a diverse pool of 11 candidates for the federal bench, by a bunch of POLITICO reporters: President Joe Biden announced his first slate of judicial nominees Tuesday, tapping a diverse pool of 11 candidates for the federal bench. Biden nominated two candidates for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey: Julien Neals, county counsel and acting county administrator for Bergen County, and Judge Zahid N. Quraishi, a United States magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Bergen administrator Julien Neals nominated to be a federal judge (again)

R.I.P., AND THANK YOU FOR THE PRECEDENT OF CALLING EVERY SCANDAL A GATE G. Gordon Liddy, undercover operative convicted in Watergate scandal, dies at 90, by The Washington Posts Michael Dobbs: G. Gordon Liddy, the undercover operative whose bungling of the Watergate break-in triggered one of the gravest constitutional crises in American history and led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, died March 30 at his daughters home in Fairfax County, Va. He was 90. His son Thomas P. Liddy confirmed the death but did not give a cause, saying only that it was unrelated to covid-19. A theatrical personality whose event-filled career included more twists and turns than a fictional potboiler, Mr. Liddy was at various times an FBI agent, jailbird, radio talk-show host, best-selling author, candidate for Congress, actor and promoter of gold investments. The role for which he is best remembered was in the plot to bug the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate complex in June 1972 George Gordon Battle Liddy was born Nov. 30, 1930, in Brooklyn, N.Y., and grew up in Hoboken, N.J. He was named for a prominent lawyer and Tammany Hall leader.

GOTT-A-DEMAND-HEIMER Blue-state Democrats demand SALT relief in Biden’s next big bill, by POLITICOs Sarah Ferris: A group of blue-state Democrats is pushing for its top tax priority as part of President Joe Bidens next major legislative package a possible voting bloc that could make or break the bill if they stay united on the House floor. The House Democrats stepping forward want to see a Biden infrastructure package that repeals the Trump-era limit on state and local tax deductions, known as the SALT deduction. The repeal is popular among blue-state members of their party but carries a significant budgetary cost, making it one of the emerging fault lines in Democrats’ coming infrastructure talks. I think that if it doesnt happen now, its not going to happen, said Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), who this week became the first Democrat to vow he’d oppose any future tax increases without a restoration of the SALT deduction. Theres certainly a lot of support” among House Democrats for reviving the full SALT deduction, he added. “The question is, whos willing to draw a line in the sand on this issue?

Northeast states face political minefield on offshore wind

LOCAL

WIN ONE OR THE NIPPER Judge issues split decision on case involving Nipper Building, Radio Lofts, by The Courier-Posts Jim Walsh: A state judge has issued a split decision in a long-running court fight over two downtown buildings one a restored landmark and the other a hulking eyesore. Both sides declared victory after Tuesdays ruling in a dispute thats pitted Camden City and its redevelopment agency against firms affiliated with Philadelphia developer Carl Dranoff. The parties are feuding over the Victor Building, a former factory converted to apartments by Dranoff, and the nearby Radio Lofts building, a long-vacant building that Dranoff once sought to revive. In a 39-page ruling Monday, Superior Court Judge Steven Polansky said a jury could hear several allegations raised by the city, including a claim that the Victor Buildings owner had failed to pay money owed under terms of a long-term tax break But the judge also dismissed some of the citys claims and he said a jury could consider allegations made against Camden by Dranoff.

AFTER JULIAS FALL DelVecchio will run for Lambertville mayor, by New Jersey Globes David Wildstein: David M. DelVecchio, who served as mayor of Lambertville for 27 years before losing the Democratic primary in 2018, wants his old job back. DelVecchio has announced that he will run again in the June Democratic primary in a bid to win a tenth term as mayor of the small but hugely prestigious Hunterdon County city. Julia Fahl, then a 28-year-old Democratic fundraiser who defeated DelVecchio three years ago by 145 votes, 54%-46%, is not seeking re-election DelVecchio is expected to face Andrew Nowick, a member of Fahls community advisory team, in the June 8 primary election. DelVecchio will run on the organization line with Gov. Phil Murphy.

Metropark office buildings sold for $254 million

Northern Highlands superintendent denies racism charge of former student

With Abad heading to superior court, Eid tapped as new Jersey City chief municipal judge

Lawsuit: Trenton cops body-slammed, seized phone of bar worker for recording

JOIN PLAYBOOK FOR A CONVERSATION WITH RON KLAIN ON THURSDAY: The Biden administration is full speed ahead with an ambitious vaccination timeline, the deployment of $1.9 trillion in pandemic relief, and a multitrillion dollar infrastructure plan. But the White House is also dealing with a mounting crisis at the border, the aftermath of back-to-back mass shootings, and a looming showdown over the Senate filibuster. Join Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza for a conversation with White House chief of staff Ron Klain to discuss Biden’s agenda in the coming months and how the administration plans to address the challenges facing the nation. REGISTER HERE.

EVERYTHING ELSE

HATE CRIME ‘Nothing’ provoked deadly attack in Freehold on press photographer, by The Asbury Park Press Kathleen Hopkins: Hours after a brutal attack left a 55-year-old Freehold man unresponsive in the parking lot of his apartment complex one morning in 2018, detectives questioning a suspect wanted to know what about the victim had set him off. White, Jamil Hubbard replied. Old white man. Nothing. Hubbard said he had never encountered the man before Detective Wayne Raynor of the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office asked Hubbard if the victim, Jerry Wolkowitz, had said anything to him. ‘Didnt have to,’ replied Hubbard, who is Black Wolkowitz, the son of Holocaust survivors, was a longtime freelance photographer for the Asbury Park Press, other media outlets and volunteer emergency medical technician for the Freehold First Aid Squad.

BRIDGE AND TUNNEL New York City finally gets green light on crucial next step for congestion pricing, by POLITICOs Danielle Muoio: After years of delay, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority is one step closer to implementing a first-in-the-nation congestion pricing system. The Biden administration has notified the transit agency that it should launch an environmental assessment of congestion pricing, a key step toward implementing a system that would charge drivers to enter Manhattan south of 60th Street. Transit officials have been waiting for the federal government to provide information on what type of environmental review it must conduct for years, but the Trump administration never weighed in a delay MTA transit leaders chalked up to a cynical political maneuver. An environmental assessment is a far less rigorous process than the full scale environmental impact statement the federal government could have also directed state leaders to conduct, which typically take years to complete. The decision indicates the Biden administration is interested in moving the process forward as quickly as possible.

THE NUCLEAR WASTE OPPORTUNITY ACT OF 2021 New Mexico sues US over proposed nuclear waste storage plans, by The APs Susan Montoya Bryan: New Mexico sued the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Monday over concerns that the federal agency hasnt done enough to vet plans for a multibillion-dollar facility to store spent nuclear fuel in the state, arguing that the project would endanger residents, the environment and the economy. New Jersey-based Holtec International wants to build a complex in southeastern New Mexico where tons of spent fuel from commercial nuclear power plants around the nation could be stored until the federal government finds a permanent solution. State officials worry that New Mexico will become a permanent dumping ground for the radioactive material.

HEY, I JUST MOVED HERE. AND THIS SOUNDS CRAZY. BUT HERES MY PLATFORM. ELECT ME MAYBE Former Christie staffer Lopez running for mayor of Oviedo, by InsiderNJs Max Pizarro: Relocated with his family to Florida, former Governor Chris Christie staffer (and former Westampton Committeeman) Abe Lopez is running for mayor of Oviedo. My ‘family and I have decided to move to the State of Florida to pursue a wonderful opportunity,’ Lopez wrote in a statement posted on Facebook.

American Dream mega mall owners default on loan. Lenders to take stake in its other properties

A message from Uber Driver Stories:

As a woman of color, Fallons number one priority is to better herself through her education. And that means finishing her bachelors degree in business.

At first, Fallon tried to go down the traditional route of working part-time. But she says it didnt offer the flexible schedule that she needed.

I like the flexibility of driving with Uber, she says. I can drive when I want to.

With Uber, Fallon can choose when, where, and how long she wants to drive. If she has an exam that needs her attention, she doesnt have to worry about asking her boss or requesting time offshe can take the time she needs on her terms.

To see more stories like Fallons, click here.

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