North Jersey News Roundup for Nov. 24, 2020

The General Services Administration formally designated President-elect Joe Biden as the apparent winner of the Presidential election, providing federal funds and resources to begin a transition and authorizing his advisers to begin coordinating with Trump administration officials. President Donald Trump said on Twitter he was authorizing his staff to begin “initial protocols” for the transition process. He did not concede the election, and vowed to persist with efforts to prove that the election was stolen, fraud claims that have been repeatedly denied or withdrawn in numerous courts across the country. The New York Times

President-elect Joe Biden plans to name Janet L. Yellen as Treasury secretary, a nomination that would put a woman in charge of the Treasury for the first time in its 231-year history. The expected appointment came as the President-elect moved to fill other top cabinet roles, including selecting Alejandro Mayorkas as the first Latino to lead the Department of Homeland Security, Avril Haines as the first woman to be the director of national intelligence and John Kerry to a new post of international climate envoy. The Wall Street Journal

Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. has filed letters with the bar authorities in five states seeking the disbarment of Rudy Giuliani and 22 other lawyers representing President Donald Trump in his attempts to overturn the election. In Pascrell letter to the Disciplinary Board of Pennsylvania, the congressman alleges the attorneys representing the Trump presidential campaign have filed frivolous lawsuits and used the state’s courts to assault public confidence in the nation’s electoral system, thus violating the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct. Hudson Reporter

New Jersey’s Republican leadership called for a special legislative session focused on protecting the state’s industries in the face of a second wave of COVID-19. The session, spearheaded by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-21), Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21), Senate Republican Budget Officer Steve Oroho (R-24), and Assembly Republican Budget Officer Hal Wirths (R-24), would concentrate on appropriating $300 million in federal block grants received under the CARES Act to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to be used to provide financial support to small businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

Last-minute disputes forced the Assembly and Senate to cancel votes on landmark bills to halt many arrests for marijuana possession and launch a legal weed industry Nov. 23. The disputes include limits on how many can grow recreational weed, drug tests at the workplace, taxes and how they’re spent, and decriminalization.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer plans to conduct a town-by-town review of schools in the 5th Congressional District to determine if students eligible for free meals are receiving them. The congressman’s announcement follows reports of families who encountered difficulties accessing free and reduced-price meals in the Montague Township School District, where about a tenth of households are below the poverty line.

Paterson’s school district will expand its meal distribution program to provide breakfasts and lunches for students for all seven days of the week. The meals are being provided through the New Jersey’s Agriculture Department as the expanded program starting Nov. 30 is designed to meet families’ increased needs during the coronavirus pandemic and will continue indefinitely. The Record

Gov. Phil Murphy hopes to keep the state’s schools open with the holiday season fast approaching. More than 500 schools are operating with a hybrid model, with about an additional 160 fully remote. An increasing number of districts have switched from hybrid instruction to all-remote learning in recent weeks citing increases in cases in schools and the general community.

One in four Americans plans on having a virtual family dinner for Thanksgiving as the pandemic reshapes the 2020 holidays season, according to the Monmouth University Poll. The survey found the number of Americans who planned to stay home to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner nearly doubling to 74%. In a typical year, 50% of respondents said they would travel to a place and back for Thanksgiving on the holiday Thursday; in 2020, Monmouth found only about 25% would do so.

Atlantic City’s casinos saw their collective profits decline by 37% in the third quarter as they reopened with capacity limits and measures designed to stem the coronavirus pandemic. The state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement reported each of the nine casinos reported a gross operating profit, but the profit was less than it was in the third quarter of last year for all but one. Casino hotels averaged nearly 73% occupancy during the third quarter, with the Ocean casino having the highest average cost per room at nearly $246 a night; Resorts had the lowest average room rate at just over $112 a night.

A Hudson County Superior judge ruled against three Leonia ordinances prohibiting non-residents from using its streets during morning and evening rush hours. An Edgewater attorney sued Leonia over the ordinances in February 2018, claiming the closures were illegal. The state Attorney General’s Office joined the suit that June, followed that October by the neighboring city of Englewood, which claimed the overflow traffic would be pushed to their local roads. The Record

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal accused former West New York mayor Dr. Felix Roque and three other doctors of over-prescribing opioid drugs. In a 38-page complaint, Grewal alleged  Roque, a pain management specialist, was paid more than $53,000 in speaker and consultant fees by pharmaceutical company Insys to prescribe Subsys—a highly addictive, fast-acting fentanyl spray 50 times more potent than heroin—to his patients. The Jersey Journal

Jamie Montgomery Consulting has filed a complaint against Republican congressional candidate Rosemary Becchi with the Federal Election Commission. The consulting firm alleges Becchi, who hired the company in July 2019 to raise money for her campaign, owes them $6,185 from a May unpaid invoice. New Jersey Globe

And finally…New Jersey is expanding artificial reefs down the shore with concrete forms. News12 New Jersey

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