North Jersey News Roundup for Oct. 15, 2020

Rep. Mikie Sherrill and GOP challenger Rosemary Becchi squared off Oct. 13 in their final debate before the election. The two candidates for the 11th Congressional District discussed issues involving healthcare, coronavirus, the economy, policing reform and their records.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett declined to comment on Sen. Cory Booker’s questions on the Trump administration policy of separating children from their parents at the border. With Barrett refusing to answer, Booker said “there are basic questions of human rights, human decency and human dignity. I’m sorry that we can’t have a simple affirmation of what I think most Americans would agree.” The Wall Street Journal

President Donald Trump directed a series of insults at Sen. Cory Booker on Twitter and at a campaign rally in Johnstown, PA following the New Jersey senator’s questions during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. The president accused Booker of lying about his record on healthcare, resurrected the discredited narrative that the senator did not live in Newark while mayor, disparaged his unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, and called him a “total loser” and “empty suit.”

More than 1 million New Jersey voters have already cast mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 election. In all, 1,047,779 of the more than 6 million eligible voter who have registered, according to the state’s Division of Elections.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is the primary financial backer of New Jersey’s cannabis legalization effort, donating $800,000 to two campaign committees formed to back the Nov. 3 ballot question that would amend the state constitution to allow cannabis to be bought and sold for recreational use. The company contributed $100,000 to NJ CAN 2020, a campaign backed by longtime legalization advocacy organizations like the ACLU of New Jersey, the NAACP, Latino Action Network and the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association and $700,000 for Building Stronger Communities Action Fund. PoliticoNJ

Gov. Phil Murphy ordered state agencies to overhaul how they prevent and punish bias and harassment based on a recent state task force report. While many of the recommendations from the Youth Bias Task Force’s require legislative action, the governor is pushing for other suggestions to be adopted now, including offering anti-bias education to juveniles in prison, making it easier to report bias crimes, creating anti-bias curriculum for student athletes, more aggressively investigating social media companies for hate speech and revising how cops are trained to respond to bias crimes.

Assemblyman Brian Bergen said the time has come to expand indoor dining after the state approved indoor winter sports. Bergen (R-25) argued the executive order allowing for indoor contact sports like basketball and hockey to resume provided capacity was limited to 25% and appropriate social distancing was founded on arbitrary criteria. “If we can allow indoor contact sports, we can allow indoor dining. The separation of the two is absolutely ludicrous,” contended Bergen.

Football players at Butler High School are on a two-week quarantine after a game with a team that had one of its players test positive for COVID-19. Butler school officials were informed this week of the Wallington player who tested positive after the Oct. 9 football game. Through contact tracing, the Butler Health Department did not believe any players were exposed to the virus, school officials opted to quarantine athletes as a precaution, postponing football games for the next two weeks against Wood-Ridge and Cresskill. The Daily Record

The high school football game between Jefferson and Lakeland football teams has been postponed due to a positive test for COVID-19 within the Jefferson program. Practices will resume on Oct. 23 for Jefferson, followed the next day with a game against Vernon. New Jersey Herald

Players and coaches on a Ramsey youth football team are quarantining for 14 days after a player tested positive for COVID-19. The Ramsey Junior Football Association announced  a player on the Mighty Mites football team, which includes players in Grades 1 and 2, recently  tested positive for COVID-19. The player was “asymptomatic” when he last participated in practice on Oct. 7. The Record

Reps. Bill Pascrell and Mikie Sherrill will submit legislation protecting residents in nursing homes disportionately affected by COVID-19. The PREPARE LTC Act and the PROTECT LTC Act  would “not only protect residents in long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, they will also prepare for future infectious disease outbreaks, ensuring that we can safeguard our nation’s vulnerable long-term care facility residents,” stated Pascrell.

And finally…Bergen County Academies was named the best public high school in the country. The Record

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