North Jersey News Roundup for July 20, 2020

OPINION: One of the biggest takeaways of the still unofficial July 7 primary results is Democratic voters in New Jersey are not ready to make the jump to the liberal wing of the party that has happened in the last two election cycles across the Hudson River. The Sen. Bernie Sanders candidate tree in North Jersey attempted to defeat reliable Democrats in this year’s primary, promising a more aggressive progressive agenda than incumbent elected officials, but the numbers show party voters rejecting those overtures in a big way.

The New Jersey Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Aug. 5 in the fight over the authorization of the state to borrow as much as $9.9 billion to offset tax losses amid the pandemic crisis. The State Republican Committee and Republican lawmakers filed suit, arguing the New Jersey COVID-19 Emergency Bond Act violates the state Constitution due to the funding bill not being approved by voters. New Jersey Globe

Saying he was proud to sign legislation to borrow funds due to a budget deficit arising from the COVID-19 crisis, Gov. Phil Murphy responded to criticism about his plan. “Our successful recovery from this pandemic requires us to look and lean forward. We cannot be pushed backward,” said Murphy at a press briefing July 17. “Absence this step, I have yet to hear one idea from its opponent on how to move us forward.”

The New Jersey Supreme Court announced steps it will make to the judicial system fairer for people of color. Among the actions to be undertaken include ensuring more diverse, impartial juries, reducing probation terms and removing fines that keep people tied to the judicial system long after rehabilitation.

Tax collections in New Jersey slid again in June amid the pandemic crisis, falling nearly 15% below June 2019 returns. Revenues for the first 12 months of the new 15-month fiscal year are down $3 billion, or 9.2%, lower than this time in 2019. That gap will likely shrink once July tax return payments are tallied up. NJ Spotlight

New Jersey is creating a new office and task force to make sure the state government is spending federal coronavirus relief funds appropriately and transparently. The state is creating the Governor’s Disaster Recovery Office to serve as the center point of contact and coordination for recovery money from the CARES Act and other federal aid. Additionally, Gov. Phil Murphy launched a COVID-19 Compliance Task Force to review all coronavirus-related procurements over $150,000 and provide training so all agencies receiving funds comply.

A gunman killed the son of a New Jersey federal judge and wounded her husband at their home July 19. Mark Anderl, a criminal defense attorney and the husband of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, and their son, Daniel, 20, were shot at about 5 p.m. at their home in North Brunswick. Salas, in the basement of the home at the time, was not injured in the shooting. The gunman reportedly was dressed as a FedEx deliveryman. The Record

Sparta’s Board of Education approved a separation agreement with Superintendent Michael Rossi allowing him to remain on paid leave through Dec. 31 and pay him an additional $171,360 if he is unable to secure an employment offer as superintendent in another district. Rossi requested his leave in May after Board President Kim Bragg publicly admonished him for allowing teachers to enter district buildings to retrieve personal and student belongings. New Jersey Herald

Ridgewood for Black Liberation marched to achieve its goal of systemic change in the village. The group is demanding school district officials remove a purportedly Eurocentric curriculum, mandate anti-racism training for staff and students, increase Black leadership and staff and add a resource office to support students of color. The Record

And finally…An excessive heat warning remains in effect for New Jersey. News12 New Jersey

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