North Jersey News Roundup for Sept. 21, 2020

OPINION: Understanding QAnon and why it must be stopped. As the 2020 Election rapidly approaches, the rising influence of QAnon and political movements comfortable with extremist rhetoric must be confronted and denounced in the strongest of possible terms.

President Donald Trump plans to confirm a replacement for U.S. Supreme Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the Nov. 3 election. President Trump is preparing to announce a nominee as early as Sept. 22 in hopes the Senate would ratify his choice before voters decide whether to give him a second term. Candidates reportedly being considered are Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, Judge Barbara Lagoa of the 11th Circuit in Atlanta and Kate Todd, a deputy White House counsel. Meanwhile, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska became the second GOP senator to oppose filling the Supreme Court vacancy before the election, joining Susan Collins of Maine. The New York Times

U.S. and New Jersey flags were ordered to fly at half-staff in recognition of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The trail-blazing jurist passed away at the age of 87 due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer Sept. 18. We collected the reactions from North Jersey politicians on the death of Justice Ginsburg.

State revenues continued to drop in August as New Jersey’s treasury department warned the end of federal aid is expected to impact the economy in the coming months. August revenue collections for the major taxes totaled nearly $2.0 billion, down $117.4 million, or 5.7%, below August 2019. For the first two months of traditional Fiscal Year 2021, total collections of $2.1 billion are down $374.7 million, or 14.9%, below the same two months last year.

Gov. Phil Murphy isn’t prepared to commit to pursuing a tax on financial transactions in a future budget. “If we can do it, I’d love to do it, but it is complicated,” the governor said Sept. 19. “And I would just say it’s more ‘if’ than ‘when,’ but we like the notion a lot and we’re working hard at it.” The proposal involves levying a tax worth roughly a quarter-of-cent on every financial transaction conducted in the state. Many major exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange, run their electronic trading systems in New Jersey and are opposed to the tax. New Jersey Globe

Paterson city employees no longer face the prospect of having to take unpaid furlough days, according to a memo from the the city’s mayor. Officials confirmed tax collections were strong enough to put the city in position to avoid forcing employees to take 13 unpaid furlough days to compensate for Paterson’s revenue problems. The Record

State officials want New Jerseyans to keep up the practices that contained the spread of the coronavirus after consecutive days of over 500 new cases. “Please do not let your guard down,” Gov. Phil Murphy pleaded with residents of the Garden State at his Sept. 18 press briefing. “We have come an enormous distance in the six months we have been at this. Let’s keep up the diligence, let’s keep up the compliance…It’s simple, basic stuff.”

Hudson County is making a final push for residents to fill out the 2020 Census, throwing public events after the coronavirus forced it to put such efforts on hold for months. Hudson County’s census self-response rate is currently 58.7%, 10% behind New Jersey as a whole. The rate is about 2.5% away from the rate it achieved a decade ago as the county tends to have among the lowest self-response rates in the state, which is typical of dense, urban areas. The Jersey Journal

Republicans across the state pressed Gov. Phil Murphy on his decision to pivot to only voting by mail in the Garden State, arguing there was no reason to ban in-person voting for those who wished to. Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-26) is one of the leading voices arguing against denying residents in the state the ability to vote in person, noting its nonsensical to allow lines at the Motor Vehicle Commission but not at polling stations.

Proposed legislation to prevent the home addresses and phone numbers of judges and prosecutors from being published online has been expanded to set up protocols for having such posts taken down. The bill is an expansion of an existing law enacted in 2016 that seeks to block publication of such details about law enforcement officers. The expansion was proposed after the July shooting at the home of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in which her son, Daniel, was killed and her husband, Mark, was critically wounded.

New York Waterway Ferry will add more ferries crossing the Hudson River in another step to help New Jersey recover from the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. The added routes are Port Imperial in Weehawken to Brookfield Place and Pier 11/Wall Street, both of the Hoboken terminals, 14th Street to Brookfield Place and New Jersey Transit Terminal to Pier 11/Wall Street. News12 New Jersey

And finally…Bruce Springsteen doesn’t believe he will tour with the E Street Band until the end of 2021 at the earliest. Rolling Stone

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