North Jersey News Roundup for Nov. 13, 2020

Gov. Phil Murphy had a strong message for New Jersey residents complaining about following the mask protocols in the state: “You know what’s more uncomfortable and annoying? When you die.” The statement came as Murphy announced he would sign an executive order giving municipalities and counties the authority to regulate the operating hours of non-essential businesses after 8:00 p.m. and the state signed a compact with six other states suspending interstate competitions for public and private schools and youth hockey effective Nov. 14 through the end of the calendar year.

New Jersey is set to receive a new quick-result system to test for the coronavirus. The federal Department of Health and Human Services has chosen the Garden State as one of the handful of states in the U.S. to receive a new rapid molecular test developed by CUE Health, which has shown to produce results with 99% accuracy in about 20 minutes.

Gov. Phil Murphy said the state has no immediate plans to order New Jersey’s 3,000 schools close. “That’s not the case,” Murphy said when asked about a school closure rumor. “That’s something that could happen, but at the moment, back to school two months in, has worked quite well. So far, so good.” The Daily Record

Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh has decided to quarantine for several days after being exposed to someone infected with the coronavirus. Sayegh, who previously contracted COVID-19 in April, said his doctors told him he had little to fear because of the lack of cases in which people previously infected with the virus caught it again but he didn’t want to take any chances of infecting someone else. The Record

Three more state Motor Vehicle Commission agencies closed due to employees testing positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total to 10 statewide on Nov. 12. The South Plainfield and Wayne Licensing Centers were closed for cleaning, scheduled to reopen Nov. 13 only to drivers who have appointments. The Camden Licensing Center closed due to an employee testing positive, will reopen on Nov. 16.

Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski’s lead over Republican Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. in the 7th Congressional District continues to shrink in a race now too close to call. Malinowski currently has a 5,496 advantage over Kean, who has steadily chipped away as more votes have been counted since Election night. At least 35,752 more votes are still uncounted in the state’s closest congressional race this cycle. New Jersey Globe

State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-25) has declared victory in his race to return to Trenton along with running mate Assemblywoman Aura Dunn. After an update by county officials Nov. 12, Bucco’s lead over Democratic challenger Rupande Mehta increased to 5,927 votes in the 25th. In the previous update Nov. 10, Bucco led Mehta by 3,319 votes for the remainder of late State Sen. Anthony R. Bucco term. Dunn’s lead over Democratic challenger Darcy Draeger increased as well, now leading by 2,994 votes, an increase from 687 just days earlier.

President-elect Joe Biden was declared the winner of Arizona, capturing the state’s 11 electoral votes and strengthening his Electoral College margin. The Arizona victory brings Biden, the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since President Bill Clinton in 1996, to 290 electoral votes, 20 more than the 270 required to take the White House.  The Wall Street Journal

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency declared the 2020 election “was the most secure in American history” and that “there is no evidence” any voting systems were compromised. The statement was made rebuking President Donald Trump’s tweet citing an unsubstantiated report from One America News Network suggesting machines made by Dominion Voting Systems systematically deleted 2.7 million votes. The New York Times

New Jersey GOP lawmakers hit back at what they saw as overbearing regulations resulting in a ban on indoor dining between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. at New Jersey restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges, and casinos. “What makes it any more dangerous to eat indoors at 10 p.m. than at 7 p.m.? I would pay to see the data,” stated Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-25), while State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-40) argued “this irrational decision by Gov. Murphy will impact our restaurant industry in the worst possible way” as they struggle under the 25% capacity limit.

Gov. Phil Murphy declared “unequivocally” he’s running for reelection in 2021. “You’re absolutely right. I filed papers in early October to run for a second term,” Murphy said when asked about his reelection plans. “I’m all New Jersey all the time. The overwhelming amount of my focus, as you can imagine, is on the pandemic — and that’ll continue to be the case — but, unequivocally, I’m running for a second term.” PoliticoNJ

New Jersey’s Senate Judiciary Committee approved a decriminalization bill legalizing possession of up to six ounces of marijuana and distribution of one ounce, reduce sentences for distribution charges and automatically expunge certain marijuana-related offenses. The move comes after voters passed a referendum to legalize the use of marijuana by adults in New Jersey; individuals can still be arrested between now and the passage of legislation governing cannabis in New Jersey until legislators etch out rules and regulations for the industry.

Cedrick Fulton has been named as vice chairman of NJ Transit. Fulton is best known by commuters as the man who worked with NJ Transit to eliminate the routine delays at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

And finally…Amazon plans to open a Fresh grocery store in Woodland Park.

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