North Jersey News Roundup for Dec. 29, 2020

Sen. Bob Menendez reaffirmed his promise to fight for The Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act, the bill named for the son of Judge Esther Salas who was killed in his New Jersey home. The proposed law was blocked on the floor by Kentucky’s Sen. Rand Paul, who insisted the same privacy protection be afforded to elected members of Congress. The Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act would exclude personally-identifiable information of federal judges and immediate family members from being publically available. A state version of the bill was signed into law in New Jersey earlier this year.

The House voted overwhelmingly Dec. 28 to increase coronavirus pandemic-related stimulus checks to $2,000 from the $600 that was recently passed. The 275-134 vote came with many Republicans joining Democrats to back the increase, which was first demanded by President Donald Trump when he threatened to kill the coronavirus stimilus bill. Action now turns to the Senate, where it’s unclear if the chamber will even take up the House proposal, despite the President’s word that he had secured an agreement from Republican leaders to do so. PoliticoNJ

The House of Representatives voted Dec. 28 to override President Donald Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act. House members voted 322-87, well above the two-thirds needed to override the bill, on the law that affirms 3% pay raises for U.S. troops and authorizes more than $740 billion in military programs and construction. It is the first veto to be overridden in the Trump presidency. News12 New Jersey

President-elect Joe Biden said his transition team had “encountered roadblocks” from political leaders at the Defense Department and the Office of Management and Budget. “Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas,” the President-elect Biden stated after he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were briefed by members of the transition’s agency review teams for agencies dealing with national security and foreign policy. “It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility.” The New York Times

The legalization of marijuana in New Jersey has stalled due to a disagreement over whether there should be penalties for those under the age of 21. Gov. Phil Murphy wants the law to carry the same disorderly persons penalties for minors possessing alcohol, while members of the State Senate and Assembly who wrote the law reportedly made the exclusion of criminal and civil penalties for minors a policy decision, not as a drafting error Murphy has characterized as.

Up to 25 North Arlington employees, volunteers and elected officials tested positive for COVID-19 or are quarantining due to close contact with those who have. Officials declined to name any of the officials nor department heads who were quarantining due to medical privacy laws, but acknowledged that crucial personnel were affected. The Record

Gov. Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Education plan to create a $2.5 million grant program to help stop learning loss among students due to COVID-19-related school closures. Funded through the CARES Act, 16 school districts across the state will receive grants to expand existing programs or launch new initiatives that will “accelerate students’ academic progress” and “reduce learning loss.” Under the Addressing Student Learning Loss grant program, schools can receive up to $156,500 for each evidence-based intervention or instructional strategies in English language arts, math and/or social or emotional learning supports.

The state’s Department of Human Services will extend several COVID-19-related childcare programs through the end of January 2021. The programs extended through Jan. 31 include childcare tuition assistance for children in families earning up to $150,000 and in remote learning; state childcare subsidy during school day; and childcare center subsidies. The programs, which are funded through the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, were set to expire this week. But newly signed federal legislation extended the deadline for the money.

New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission will not meet the state’s deadline to provide a process by Jan. 1, 2021 for undocumented people to obtain a driver’s license. State officials said implementation of licensing for people without legal immigration status will be delayed because of the coronavirus with a new date for the process still to be determined. The Daily Record

Bills appropriating funds for constitutionally dedicated purposes were signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy. One of the bills, sponsored by State Sen. Steven Oroho (R-24), would appropriate $11.5 million to the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) for municipal planning incentive grants, of which 10 municipalities would be eligible to receive funding between $500,000 and $1 million. A second bill penned by State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-40) earmmarks $3.7 million to the SADC to ensure farmland preservation.

Mahwah became the latest municipality in North Jersey to place restrictions on bamboo plants and will fine residents who fail to contain plantings. Owners must ensure their bamboo does not grow within 10 feet of property lines as neighbors and the township may seek owner reimbursement for removing invasive bamboo. Violations of a township notice to clear the plantings will result in a fine of $1,000 per day the violation continues. The Record

And finally…A bobblehead of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is exceeding sales expectations. New Jersey Globe

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