North Jersey News Roundup for Oct. 12, 2020

With key statistics for COVID-19 rising by the day, the state’s top health official is warning New Jersey could return to conditions from this past Spring. “If individuals do not adhere to social distancing, masking guidelines, washing your hands, staying home if you’re sick, this wave has the potential to become a surge,” said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli at a press briefing on Oct. 8.  Gov. Phil Murphy added “We need a surge in due diligence to prevent a surge in COVID-19.”

New Jersey’s death toll could increase 30% more by the year’s end even if people keep on wearing masks and social distancing, according the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The Institute forecasts even if those now-common infection control mandates are eased, mortality could soar by 40% or more—with close to 300 people dying daily by early January. Even if New Jerseyans all wear masks as required, nearly 4,000 more residents could die by the start of 2021, the model indicates. NJ Spotlight News

U.S. Senate Republicans lashed out at a potential framework for a new COVID-19 stimulus bill deal between the Trump administration and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, warning that there was little support for a big spending bill right before the election. At least two GOP senators warned White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that spending as much as $2 trillion on a big bill could backfire at the ballot box. PoliticoNJ

President Donald Trump made his first public appearance since returning to the White House after being treated for the coronavirus on Oct. 10. President Trump delivered an address on his support for law enforcement from the Blue Room balcony to a friendly crowd. The President is priming for campaign events in Florida, Iowa and Pennsylvania this week even as the White House refuses to declare that he is no longer contagious and against the guidance of public health officials.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was discharged from the hospital over the weekend, a week after testing positive for the coronavirus. “I am happy to let you know that…I was released from Morristown Medical Center,” Christie tweeted, thanking the doctors and nurses who tended to him and stated he will have more expansive comments at a future date.

OPINION: Endorses Gottheimer, Sherrill. Voters in the 5th and 11th Congressional Districts have the opportunity to reward what a majority of American want in their Representatives: the ability to negotiate with members of the other party to do the people’s work. In endorsing Reps. Josh Gottheimer and Mikie Sherrill to return to Washington, we are rewarding them for their attempts to work across the aisle to solve the problems of today as well as being leading moderate voices in their party.

Rep. Mikie Sherrill and Republican Rosemary Becchi squared off in their first debate Oct. 11. In a largely civil exchange, the two candidates displayed stark differences in their beliefs, disagreeing on abortion, guns, healthcare and law enforcement. New Jersey Globe

Growing concerns about fraudulent use of federal financial assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic led Rep. Josh Gottheimer to take action. Gottheimer is leading a bipartisan Congressional group seeking to provide the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and U.S. Department of the Treasury with additional support to combat COVID-19-related loan fraud.

Gov. Phil Murphy named Parimal Garg, currently his deputy chief counsel, to become his new chief counsel. Garg will replace the departing chief counsel, Matt Platkin, who is leaving after three years to become a partner at the politically connected firm Lowenstein Sandler LL.

Voters will get their say on Nov. 3 if the state should legalize marijuana, offer property tax relief to Veterans and delay the redrawing of New Jersey’s legislative districts. New Jerseyans will be asked whether to allow for recreational use of marijuana by people age 21 and up, should the state extend property tax deductions to Veterans who did not serve in wartime and agree to delay the redrawing of New Jersey’s legislative districts if population data collected during this year’s U.S. Census is delayed.

New Jersey voters support the ballot question to legalize recreational marijuana by a two-to-one margin, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll. Roughly 61% of likely voters plan to or have already voted yes on the ballot question, which would legalize recreational cannabis for adults 21 and older and the cultivation and sale of marijuana. Another 29% of voters will or have already voted no.

North Jersey GOP lawmakers argued the move by New Jersey to end its annual bear hunt in the 2021 season would lead to over populations and public safety concerns. State Sen. Steve Oroho was joined by Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths in condemning the move, arguing it was a reckless play that would increase human encounters with the animals.

A grant-funded program using ultrasonic waves to combat harmful algal blooms in a Newark-owned reservoir is reportedly showing promise. Greg Eiffert, the director of LG Sonic US, said the company’s ultrasonic buoys that were deployed in Echo Lake this summer reduced the cyanobacteria count by 50% in their first month afloat. Funded by a $475,000 state grant, the solar-powered and remotely monitored buoys can be tuned to produce sound-wave frequencies that will best inhibit algae growth under specific water conditions. New Jersey Herald

And finally…U.S. Supreme Court Confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett begin today. The Wall Street Journal

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.