North Jersey News Roundup for Oct. 9, 2020

New Jersey reported over 1,300 new COVID-19 cases on Oct. 8, the first time it has reached that number since May according to worried state officials. “Certainly it is a concern that we’re seeing what we’re seeing…that number is so high,” stated Department of Health Communicable Disease Service Medical Director Dr. Edward Lifshitz at a press briefing. “When we get 1,301 cases in one day, we know that we are still in the fight,” added Gov. Phil Murphy. Murphy noted the two Shore countries were not the only areas of concern, mentioning Bergen County with 97 new infections, Passaic with 89, and Essex with 96.

Plans for President Donald Trump and Joe Biden debate schedule is in flux after the President refused to participate in a virtual debate next week with the two candidates participating from remote locations. At first, the President’s campaign issued a statement later asking for the town-hall debate to be pushed back a week and for a third presidential debate to be scheduled on Oct. 29. But after President Trump’s physician released a memo saying the president might be able to hold in-person events by Oct. 10, the campaign renewed its call for the debate schedule to proceed unchanged. The Wall Street Journal

Gov. Phil Murphy said President Donald Trump has allowed right-wing terrorists “to act as if they hold a permission slip from him.” Murphy made the comments after six members of anti-government militias were arrested on charges that they planned to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI). “Unless and until President Trump openly denounces such right-wing extremism, groups like the Michigan Militia will continue to act as if they hold a permission slip from him to openly engage in such terrorist plots,” Murphy said in a statement released by the Democratic Governors Association, which he chairs. “It’s up to the president and his supporters to stop fanning the flames of division.”

New Jersey logged 994 bias incidents last year, almost a 75% increase from the year before, according to the Attorney General’s 2019 Bias Incident Report. It’s both the state’s highest total and largest year-to-year increase since New Jersey began tracking incidents decades ago, which range from bullying during recess to last year’s Jersey City kosher market shooting. The report from the Interagency Task Force to Combat Youth Bias makes 27 recommendations to combat the rise, including the state beefing up its hate crime law and hiring a more diverse pool of educators. New Jersey Herald

Rep. Josh Gottheimer and Republican nominee Frank Pallotta are engaged in a contentious campaign to represent North Jersey’s 5th district, one of the hardest hit congressional districts in America in regards to the coronavirus. The candidates are looking to win over voters in Bergen, Passaic, Sussex and Warren county on issues including the economy, federal aid, police reform and healthcare.

Gov. Phil Murphy is calling on voters to say yes to a ballot question to legalize marijuana, which would make New Jersey the first state in the region to have a legal weed market. “The facts are on our side,” Murphy said. “The fact is that the current marijuana laws stifle both social justice and economic development.” Murphy campaigned for governor in 2017 on the promise of bringing legal weed to the Garden State. After several attempts by the state Legislature fell to pass a bill, the issue was moved to a ballot referendum this year.

Public officials and parents running for political office in New Jersey will be able to use campaign funds to pay for certain child care expenses, after Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill into law. The bill is intended to encourage more women and parents with prohibitively high child care costs to run for office, and allow people with new perspectives to be a part of public life. The Daily Record

State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg is mulling retirement after 28 years in the Legislature. The 85-year-old Teaneck Democrat, who plans to make her decision around the start of the new year, said constraints imposed by the pandemic have forced her to reconsider running for another four-year term in 2021. The Record

Bergen County is experiencing significant delays in checking in early voting ballots coming in from secure ballot drop boxes and the U.S. Postal Service. Bergen is experiencing high turnout, causing it to be days behind in scanning each ballot to upload data to the Statewide Voter Registration System. The delay means that some Bergen County voters attempting to track their own ballots will be unable to see that the Board of Elections has received it. New Jersey Globe

Bergen County is extending the deadline to a program to help small businesses affected by the  coronavirus. Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco announced that the deadline to apply for the Bergen County CARES Small Business Grant Program has been extended to 5 p.m. Oct. 30. Additionally, county officials said the program will begin accepting applications for small businesses with 30 or less full-time employees.

The Jersey City Council introduced an ordinance to establish maintenance and cleaning standards for portable lavatories. The legislation would require portable toilets to be cleaned at least once a week, including the removal of waste from toilets, deodorizing and sanitizing the interior, as well as restocking hand soaps, sanitizers and hand towels. The Jersey Journal

And finally…The New York Yankees forced a series deciding Game 5 with a 5-1 win over Tampa Bay Rays. The Record

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