North Jersey News Roundup for Oct. 2, 2020

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania have tested positive for the coronavirus. The disclosure came in a Twitter message just before 1 a.m. after President Trump’s close adviser Hope Hicks had tested positive Oct. 1. The White House did not say whether the First Couple were experiencing symptoms. The president’s physician said he could carry out his duties “without disruption” from the Executive Mansion. The New York Times

Before the news was announced, President Donald Trump traveled to New Jersey for a fundraising event for his campaign. Air Force One departed from Morristown Airport shortly after 4:40 p.m. from his Bedminster golf club, where he attended a roundtable with supporters and then a fundraising event. 

Former Gov. Chris Christie, who was a part of President Donald Trump’s debate prep, said he is getting re-tested for the coronavirus, but feels fine. Speaking to Good Morning America Friday morning, Christie said that he had been tested every day when he was with the president. But he said that nobody had been was wearing masks while they were in the room with Trump during the preparations for the debate.

New Jersey is making available a mobile app in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The COVID-19 exposure notification mobile app, launched in conjunction with New York, will serve as tools to supplement the effort to trace and contact individuals subject to a COVID exposure, according to the state officials. The apps, COVID Alert NJ and COVID Alert NY, notify users of potential COVID-19 exposure while maintaining user privacy and security.

House Democrats approved a $2.2 trillion stimulus plan to provide aid to families, schools, restaurants, businesses and airline workers, as negotiations with the Trump administration failed to yield a bipartisan agreement. Included in the bill was a provision that would revive a lapsed $600-a-week enhanced federal unemployment benefit, an additional round of $1,200 stimulus checks to Americans, $225 billion for schools, $57 billion for child care, an extension of an expiring program intended to prevent the layoffs of airline workers through March 31, and the creation of a $120 billion program to bolster restaurants struggling to survive. The New York Times

New Jersey’s Congressional Democrats are demanding answers regarding the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) ability to carry out the state’s all vote-by-mail general election. Among the questions the delegation is looking to have answered by Trump Administration officials include if any mail-sorting machines and mail drop boxes have been removed from New Jersey that could affect the ability for USPS to process the mail.

Domestic security threats, a hot topic in the Presidential debate, are issues New Jersey’s law enforcement officials were already preparing for. Days before the debate, New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) released a supplemental threat assessment warning of the numerous threats from domestic extremists and foreign adversaries expected to emerge surrounding the Nov. 3 elections as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. NJOHSP forecasted a variety of potential scenarios through 2020-2021 that could impact the future of the U.S.

Gov. Phil Murphy will run for a second term as New Jersey’s governor. Murphy plans to  file paperwork with the state’s Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) to open a candidate account that allows him and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver to begin raising money for re-election in the 2021 race. “Filing with ELEC is a procedural step that will allow our campaign to legally begin raising money for the 2021 Primary Election,” Murphy campaign spokeswoman Caitlin Mota said. New Jersey Globe

A new survey finds the majority of Certified Public Accountants think a cannabis industry would financially benefit New Jersey. About 66% of CPAs in the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants believe a commercial cannabis industry would help the state’s economy. The organization has proposed that New Jersey “decouple” from the federal tax code section and follow its own rules to give tax breaks to cannabis businesses.

New unemployment claims rose for the second week in New Jersey, jumping roughly 10% from the prior week, according to the state’s Department of Labor. More than 27,000 new claims were filed for the week ending Sept. 26, bringing the total to 1.63 million New Jersey workers who have filed claims since the coronavirus pandemic forced major shutdowns of businesses. Labor Department officials stated the increase is largely due to an uptick in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims, a federal benefit under the CARES Act to provide benefits to workers who aren’t typically eligible for state unemployment benefits.

The American Dream megamall opened for business Oct. 1. The 3 million-sq.-ft. complex in the Meadowlands reopened after nearly seven months of shutdown during the pandemic, with dozens of stores, water and theme parks all operating with the new norm for safety restrictions. NJ Spotlight

A coalition of financial institutions warned that a proposed tax on financial transactions would push financial data centers out of New Jersey. “We write to you to express our concern that recent proposals to impose a financial transaction tax in the state of New Jersey will make access to the U.S. markets more expensive for investors and may ultimately result in revenue loss, not gain, for the state,” the coalition said in its letter to all 14 of New Jersey’s federal lawmakers. The Coalition to Prevent the Taxing of Retirement Savings members includes the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and TD Ameritrade. New Jersey Globe

A judge has raised questions about potential “improper use of office” by Republican council members in Paramus in declining a request to consolidate two lawsuits filed by the mayor’s son over the refusal to hire him as a police officer. “When (a) council person articulates a reason that might be inferred to be for a political purpose to hurt someone, the question the court has, is this an abuse of office and this is something that should be referred to the proper authorities?” said the judge during the hearing. The Record

Hoboken is not canceling trick-or-treating, but city leaders are advising against it. A committee in Hoboken came up with some socially distant alternatives to  the canceled “ragamuffin parade and trick-or-treating, including a virtual costume contest and Halloween-themed movies under the stars all Halloween weekend. News12 New Jersey

And finally….High school football returns to North Jersey starting tonight. The Daily Record

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