North Jersey News Roundup for Aug. 19, 2020

Gov. Phil Murphy’s use of the bully pulpit—and local law enforcement—appeared to have worked when it comes to the uses of masks around the Jersey Shore. “I want to acknowledge the enhanced compliance we saw this weekend at numerous Jersey Shore outdoor bars and clubs to ensure proper social distancing, not just among patrons, but those waiting to get in,” said Murphy at a press briefing on Aug. 17. Murphy remarked that the difference between the images of lines outside of DJai’s in Belmar, Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant and Bar A in Lake Como a week earlier was “noticeable.”

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is suing Gov. Phil Murphy in federal court, alleging New Jersey’s largely all-mail election plan for November is an unconstitutional “recipe for disaster.” Along with the New Jersey Republican party as a plaintiff, the Trump campaign’s lawsuit claims New Jersey created a system that will violate eligible citizens’ right to vote as universal vote-by-mail will result in “fraudulent and invalid votes (diluting) the votes of honest citizens and deprive them of their right to vote in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.” The Record

New Jersey’s House Democrats fanned across the state as part of a nationwide effort to highlight changes in United States Postal Service (USPS) operations blamed for delaying mail deliveries in advance of an expected deluge of mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus. “Tampering with our postal system is not only about interfering with our most basic right, it affects people’s ability to pay their bills, seniors from getting their medicine, and veterans from getting their disability benefits,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer said at the Paramus Post Office, while Rep. Donald Payne toured Post Offices in Newark, Orange and Union to talk with managers and carriers.

U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy suspended “longstanding operational initiatives” at the USPS, amid fears that the changes could delay election mail this fall in the middle of the pandemic. “To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” DeJoy said in a statement. Mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will be halted and overtime will be approved as needed. DeJoy’s statement did not address whether changes that have already been made—including removed equipment or changes in operational practices—would be rolled back. PoliticoNJ

Democrats formally nominated Joe Biden for the presidency. During a virtual roll call, Gov. Phil Murphy memorialized those who died of the coronavirus and saluted the frontline workers helping New Jersey through the pandemic. A group of 17 up-and-coming Democrats, including Stacey Abrams, delivered the keynote address, with Dr. Jill Biden closing the night with a speech from the Delaware high school she formerly taught at. The New York Times  

The U.S. stock market closed at an all-time high Aug. 18, propelled by Big Tech. Investors have shrugged off a string of dismal economic data in recent months and a spike in outbreaks, opting to instead scoop up stocks at bargain prices as optimism grows for an economic recovery with further stimulus and a vaccine. Additionally, investors gained confidence from a strong housing market, improved consumer spending and better-than-expected second-quarter corporate profits. New Jersey Herald

New Jersey added two states to its coronavirus quarantine travel advisory, bringing the total number of states and territories considered COVID-19 hotspots to 35. Alaska and Delaware were once again added to the list of quarantine states after being removed earlier this month. It’s the seventh straight week at least one state was added to the regional travel advisory.

State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-25) introduced a legislative package to provide solutions to long lines and additional delays at New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission locations. The package was made up of three measures: requiring the state to reimburse municipalities for police costs related to crowding at motor vehicle sites, allowing licensed motor vehicle dealers to process titles and registrations for used vehicles purchased through private sales and permit qualifying driving schools to conduct road tests for licenses.

The remaining three dozen officers of the now-defunct Bergen County Police Department have agreed to merge into the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office. The former county police officers will give up their county police titles, drop the many grievances and lawsuits they’ve filed and formally become sheriff’s officers. In return, they will get the job security that comes with working at the Sheriff’s Office as well as the chance to apply for special units and test for promotions. The Record

A federal judge upheld Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order that kept theaters closed. Several national movie theater chains challenged the order in court in July, arguing the state had violated their right to free speech, equal protection and due process by keeping them shut down. News12 New Jersey

And finally…Facebook flagged Bruce Springsteen pro-Biden ‘The Rising’ video for ‘false information.’ The Record

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