North Jersey News Roundup for Nov. 12, 2020

State Sen. Kristin Corrado and Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips introduced legislation to exempt masks from New Jersey’s sales tax. Currently, protective equipment is only exempt from sales tax when purchased for the daily work of the user and worn as part of a work uniform or work clothing. The bills are in response to Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive orders requiring New Jerseyans to wear masks indoors and outside if they cannot properly social distance.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer believes an explosion of coronavirus cases leading to new restrictions could put new pressure on Congress to pass a coronavirus stimulus bill before lawmakers go home for the year. “The bottom line is I’ve been talking to Democrats and Republicans who have made it clear they’ll get behind a package,” Gottheimer said. “We’re going to have to figure out how to get it done. (Sen. Mitch) McConnell’s going to have to move a little bit and (House Democrats) going to have to move a little bit.”

Gov. Phil Murphy announced an additional $60 million in small business aid to replenish a grant program that had funding for fewer than half of the 22,000 applicants. With the additional aid from the CARES Act, 13,000 New Jersey businesses that applied for the latest round of grants to help them through the pandemic will now receive aid from the state’s Economic Development Authority.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is quarantining at home after initial testing positive for COVID-19. Grewal tested positive using a rapid test, but a follow-up PCR test came back negative. Grewal recently came into contact with a staff member who later tested positive. The Daily Record

Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31) tested positive for COVID-19. According to the Jersey City-based Assemblywoman, her positive test comes after her daughter tested positive. Hudson Reporter

Newark implemented new restrictions as 19% of people tested were found to have the coronavirus. The city ordered a 9 p.m. weekday curfew for residents of three ZIP codes in the city, the cancellation of all team sports activities citywide, barred nursing homes from accepting visitors for two weeks and capped gatherings throughout the city at 10 people until at least Dec. 1. The New York Times

Seton Hall University switched to all-remote learning and urged students to get tested before returning home as the numbers of coronavirus rises. Campus and dormitories will remain open until Thanksgiving break so that students can make travel arrangements, but food services will only provide “grab and go” service. The Record

The Montclair School District’s plan to shift from remote learning to hybrid classes on Nov. 16 was put on hold as COVID-19 numbers continued to rise across the state. Montclair Public Schools Superintendent Jonathan Ponds said the plan will now be re-evaluated after he consulted with the local health department and other school officials. A decision on when to reopen schools for in-person instruction will be reevaluated on Dec. 1.

President-elect Joe Biden named Ron Klain to be his White House chief of staff, the first step toward putting in place his administration’s senior leadership. Klain, a lawyer with deep experience on Capitol Hill and advising President Barack Obama, served as the President-elect’s chief of staff when he was vice president. He was particularly critical of President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, having served as the “Ebola czar” under Obama during an outbreak of the deadly disease in his second term. The New York Times

President Donald Trump’s campaign is pursuing a patchwork of legal attacks in key states called for President-elect Joe Biden to mount a long-shot effort to try to prevent officials from certifying the results. One potential strategy discussed by President Trump’s legal team would be attempting to get court orders to delay vote certification in critical states, potentially positioning Republican-controlled state legislatures to appoint pro-Trump electors who would swing the Electoral College in his favor. The Trump campaign hasn’t presented evidence of widespread fraud in any of its legal claims. The Wall Street Journal

New Jersey legislators are pledging to put more money towards expanding the use of body-worn cameras by police officers. A funding bill earmarks $58 million to establish a statewide camera program to aid police departments with purchasing the equipment. The funding would be appropriated to the Department of Law and Public Safety to provide grants-in-aid to police departments to cover the one-time purchase of equipment, as well as maintenance, data storage, oversight and replacement due to wear and tear.

And finally… North Jersey claimed five of the top 10 housing markets listed by Coldwell Banker Realty agents, including  Sparta, Wyckoff and Closter in Bergen County, Madison in Morris County and Montclair in Essex County. The Record

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