North Jersey News Roundup for May 7, 2020

Gov. Phil Murphy extended the New Jersey’s public health emergency due to the coronavirus another month as officials continue to see key data metrics moving in a positive direction. Additionally, the state hired Cindy Mann and Carole Raphael to review New Jersey’s long-term care facilities, tacked with going over safety procedures, care practices and outbreak protocols throughout the state.

Gov. Phil Murphy gave a window into what restrictions will be eased next in the road to reopening New Jersey. While not giving a firm timeline, the governor said guidance for beaches, nonessential construction resuming and some businesses offering curbside pickup and delivery are among those being considered in the next round.

An opinion by the New Jersey’s nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services could make lawmakers think twice about backing Gov. Phil Murphy’s borrowing plan. The written opinion concludes bond proceeds may not be counted generally as revenue to help balance future state budgets, even amid the pandemic. The office did approve some portions of Murphy’s borrowing plan, including debt issued on an emergency basis without voter approval and funding the purchase of new equipment needed to respond to the health crisis, such as ventilators or personal-protective equipment. NJ Spotlight

More than three-quarters of New Jerseyans approve of Gov. Phil Murphy’s performance in office as he steers the state through the coronavirus pandemic. Murphy received a 77% job approval rating in the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released May 6, with 21% disapproving. The approval rating surpasses then-Gov. Chris Christie’s job approval rating of 73% in February 2013.

Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly will introduce a bill to create a $20 million burial assistance fund exclusively for families of coronavirus victims. Wimberly’s bill would create a one-year program to pay for funeral expenses not covered by other sources and require applicants to provide the state with the applicant’s available household assets and income as of the date of the death. The program would use any federal funds available before using state funds. PoliticoNJ

New Jersey public colleges and universities launched a new effort to get 120,000 residents who attend out-of state schools to reconsider in-state options amid the pandemic. The NJ Scholar Corps program offers a streamlined application process, acceptance of credits earned with a grade of “C” or better, and a service element for students looking to help their home state recover from its first public health emergency. Schools participating include Montclair State University, New Jersey City University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Ramapo College and William Paterson University.

Jersey City will reopen its municipal court with video conferencing technology on May 11. Officials said matters such as traffic, parking, DUI cases, code enforcement and minor criminal offenses will be heard via Zoom. The Jersey Journal

The first phase of reopening of Hoboken municipal and county parks will start May 8. Passive recreation, such as walking, will be permitted at Church Square Park, Elysian Park, Southwest Park, Stevens Park, Columbus Park, 7th and Jackson Park and Plaza, Harborside Park, Maxwell Park, Pier A Park, Shipyard Park, Shoprite Green Plaza, Sinatra Park amphitheater, and 14th Street Viaduct between Grand and Adams Streets. Hudson Reporter

A new Quinnipiac University Presidential poll gives Joe Biden a 19-point lead in New Jersey against President Donald Trump. Biden is ahead 59%-29% in North Jersey and is up by 21 points statewide with independents. New Jersey Globe

The Murphy administration agreed to pay more than half a million dollars to settle a lawsuit with a former Schools Development Authority official. The settlement with former director of human resources Maribell Osnayo-Lytle calls for $550,000 for lost wages and emotional distress and $220,000 for legal fees. The Record

The Montague Board of Education approved a $9.7 million budget for the upcoming school year that will raise taxes 4.2%. The $275,788 tax increase was requested by the superintendent to hire an additional paraprofessional and to cushion the district against the possible loss of federal and state aid. New Jersey Herald

New Jersey has joined a lawsuit aimed at stopping a rollback of the Clean Water Act protecting sundry waterways and wetlands. The suit looks to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from removing multiple categories of waters from the Clean Water Act, including removing protections for certain wetlands, waters that cannot be navigated and those that fill and deplete with rainfall. The Daily Record

And finally… Six Flags Great Adventure guests will have to make reservations once the park reopens.

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