North Jersey News Roundup for June 2, 2020

New Jersey will enter the next phase of its economic reopening beginning in two weeks. Nonessential retailers and restaurants with outdoor dining options will be able to begin offering in-person service starting June 15. Hair salons and barbershops will open the following week, June 22.

New Jersey’s response to the pandemic inside nursing homes led to “preventable deaths,” allege a group of anonymous health department employees in a letter to lawmakers. The letter, sent to Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr., calls for the resignation of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli and an investigation into other top administration officials who they said have mishandled the state’s response. The Record

The Sussex County Division of Health reported four new coronavirus cases June 1, making it a full three weeks that the county’s number of daily new cases has been kept to the single digits. For the third time in 10 days, the county health division reported there were no new deaths from the virus. New Jersey Herald

Gov. Phil Murphy commended peaceful protests in New Jersey, but said more needs to be done. The governor was “moved” by the thousands of people who protested peacefully in New Jersey over the weekend to call for an end to police brutality and racial injustice, but acknowledged more is needed in “dismantling systemic racism.”

Protesters were arrested and a police officer was injured in Asbury Park June 1 at the end of a protest prompted by the police killing of George Floyd. The protest had been peaceful for four hours after the 5 p.m. start, with officers from multiple departments at times kneeling with the demonstrators in support. Tensions arose when police, at around 9:30 p.m., began attempting to disperse protesters in keeping with an 8 p.m. curfew.

Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman criticized President Donald Trump’s response to protests across the country. In part, Whitman wrote on Twitter, “We need a leader to plan for the future. You, Mr. President, are not that leader. In fact, you are making things worse on almost every front. Please, go back to your bunker and let the real leaders solve our problems.” News12 New Jersey

The Assembly Budget Committee passed a bill to allow borrowing sought by Gov. Phil Murphy. The proposal would allow the administration to borrow up to $14 billion, through a combination of bonds and federal stimulus loans. Specifically, it would authorize Murphy to take out up to $9 billion in loans from the Federal Reserve for a term of three years for the state and on behalf of local governments that don’t have access to the federal lending program on their own.

State Senators questioned state Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio whether the Murphy Administration is doing enough to reduce the state’s bottom line as it seeks approval to exercise emergency borrowing powers. Savings from proposed public-employee health care changes and potential worker furloughs were among the issues lawmakers questioned Maher Muoio in testimony before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. NJ Spotlight

New Jersey formally adopted some of the most stringent standards in the nation for two chemicals found in drinking water across the state that have been linked to cancer and other ailments. The move will require all operators of public water systems to begin testing for the chemicals PFOA and PFOS by April 1, 2021. If water exceeds 14 parts per trillion for PFOA and 13 parts per trillion for PFOS, utility operators would have to install treatment systems or take wells offline. The Daily Record

The state is investigating whether New Jersey has enough natural gas capacity to serve its customers over the next decade. The proceeding, sought by both gas utilities and conservation groups opposed to the buildout in recent years, aims to answer whether there is enough capacity in the pipeline system and what ‘’nonpipeline’’ solutions can reduce stress on the system during times of peak demand. NJ Spotlight

Incumbent William McKoy picked up five votes in a recount of Paterson’s 3rd Ward city council race June 1, narrowing former councilman Alex Mendez’ lead to 240 votes. Nearly 900 votes that appear to have been mailed in bulk from three individual mailboxes, including more than 300 rubber-banded together form a mailbox in neighboring Haledon, have not yet been counted. New Jersey Globe

And finally…Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes will perform for an in-car audience at Monmouth Park July 11, with a portion of proceeds to benefit the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.

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