North Jersey News Roundup for Dec. 21, 2020

OPINION: President Donald Trump’s Goal To Delegitimize The Election Is Working. For those thinking New Jersey GOP voters are less inclined to believe the messaging coming from President Donald Trump that the outcome of the election was a result of widespread fraud, we have some bad news for you. According to a poll commissioned by Newark-based Project Ready, more than three-quarters of New Jersey Republicans think President Trump should be serving four more years, believing by a 77%-11% margin he won the 2020 election. This is all a culmination of a Republican campaign to suppress voting rights in America since 2013.

Congressional leaders reached an agreement on a $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus deal. The package, in part spearheaded by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, includes a $300 boost in weekly unemployment benefits for 11 weeks through March 14, 2021, $600 relief checks for adults and children, more than $300 billion for small business aid and federal dollars for schools, hospitals and vaccine distribution. An attempt to marry a liability shield with aid for state and local governments were left unresolved. PoliticoNJ

State officials laid out the framework of how they plan to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine throughout New Jersey. Gov. Phil Murphy at a press briefing Dec. 18 said the state would have six mega sites throughout New Jersey to serve as vaccination hubs for phased priority groups, part of a critical network of over 200 sites tasked with carrying out the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan.

CVS Health officials detailed their plans to vaccinate more than 156,000 residents at long-term care facilities across New Jersey. CVS Pharmacy teams will make three visits to each long-term care facility to ensure residents and staff receive their initial shot starting Dec. 28. The majority of residents and staff will be fully vaccinated three to four weeks after the first visit, depending on which vaccine they receive in a process expected to take approximately 12 weeks.

People 75 and older and essential frontline workers should be the next in line for limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, an expert group advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Dec. 20. The recommendations are nonbinding however, since states make the final decisions over who to prioritize for vaccination. The New York Times

Gov. Phil Murphy recently signed a bill requiring long-term care facilities to maintain an emergency inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE). According to the newly-passed law, nursing homes and long-term care facilities are now required to maintain a supply of PPE that is sufficient to last 30 or 60 days, depending on if the facility is part of a larger system, while hospitals must have a minimum supply that would last 90 days.

With Inauguration Day a month away, President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet is taking shape, a mix of familiar names in new roles as well as some newcomers. Those named to the President-elect’s staff or nominated to be a department secretary include those that served in the Obama Administration (Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, White House Domestic Policy Council’s Director Susan Rice), opponents on the campaign trail (Pete Buttigieg as Transportation Secretary) and some historic firsts (Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Interior Secretary Rep. Deb Haaland).

NJ Transit completed installation and implementation of a federally required emergency braking system. The work on the mandated positive train control was completed two weeks before a national deadline that had raised the specter of steep fines and disruptions to train service between New Jersey and New York City if not completed by Dec. 31.

A controversial bill to revive New Jersey’s tax incentive program aimed at attracting small and large businesses over the next six years was approved by two state legislative committees Dec. 18. The full state Senate and Assembly are expected to vote Dec. 21 on the $11.5 billion program to update and expand corporate tax breaks. Critics have complained the bill has not been fully vetted and is being rushed through to a final vote. NJ Spotlight News

Legislation sponsored by State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-25) to cut down on long lines at New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) offices became law Dec. 14. The MVC will now allow new drivers who passed their road tests to drive for 60 days while waiting to receive their probationary driver’s license. Additionally, a new Bucco-sponsored bill would reserve hours at MVC offices for healthcare workers and first responders during the COVID-19 public health emergency, while State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-40) introduced a bill moving online the driver’s written test.

A U.S. Army corporal who went missing from Fort Drum was found shot to death in Sussex County. The body was found in a wooded area off a cul-de-sac on Ross Road in Byram Township on Dec. 19, with a fellow solider charged with the murder. New Jersey Herald

There is a double-digit discrepancy in the ballot recount for Paterson City Council, where Alex Mendez won the do-over election for the 3rd Ward. Passaic County election officials had Mendez’s lead over now-former councilman William McKoy growing nine votes to fifteen, 3,739 to 3,724.  The initial county had put Mendez up 3,769 to 3,760. That means there are 66 votes counted from the Nov. 3 election that didn’t turn up in the new count. New Jersey Globe

Hoboken Councilman Ruben Ramos has filed initial paperwork required for a mayoral run, making him the first potential candidate for the 2021 race. The form he filed creates the “Ramos for Mayor” committee and designates a campaign treasurer if he decides to challenge Mayor Ravi Bhalla next November. The Jersey Journal

A Rochelle Park Republican wants a judge to toss the results of the Township Committee election that he lost by four votes in November. Perrin Mosca alleges in a petition filed in state Superior Court that 11 votes not counted for technical issues should not have been rejected. Mosca wants a judge to set aside the election results certifying Warren as the winner and declare that seat vacant pending a special election. The Record

The owners of Legends, the now-shuttered former Playboy Club in Vernon, reached a deal with the township in past due property taxes. Metairie Corp., the facility’s current owner, will make good on $860,000 in delinquent property taxes, with about half that amount already paid. The company would be required to find a buyer or obtain financing for the redevelopment of the property by June 30, 2021 or find an auctioneer to sell it off by October. The Record

And finally…Some feel the New York Jets lost by winning on Sunday. The Record

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