North Jersey News Roundup for Jan. 8, 2021

The day after the attack on the U.S. Capitol building, calls to remove President Donald Trump from the White House grew. Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Donald Payne signaled that will support the leaders of their respective houses in attempting to have President Trump removed by either invoking the 25th Amendment or by impeachment from office before his term ends Jan. 20 for what Gov. Phil Murphy labeled “an act of domestic terrorism spurred on by the President himself and his minions.”

A police officer has died from injuries sustained as President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol. The U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement that Officer Brian D. Sicknick was injured “while physically engaging with protesters” during the riot. The officer is the fifth person to die because of the actions of the mob.

In a video released Jan. 7, President Donald Trump conceded to President-elect Joe Biden without formally stating it and condemned the violent supporters who stormed the nation’s Capitol Building after a rally he headlined. In a new video message, President Trump said now that Congress has certified the results, the “new administration will be inaugurated on January 20” and his “focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power.” Additionally, the President spoke out against the violence, calling it a “heinous attack” that left him “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem” without addressing his role in the incident. The New York Times

President-elect Joe Biden introduced Judge Merrick Garland as his choice to be U.S. attorney general. The President-elect named longtime national security official Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general, Vanita Gupta for associate attorney general and Kristen Clarke to lead the department’s civil rights division. Addressing Judge Garland and the other nominees, Biden said, “Your loyalty is not to me, it’s to the law.” The Wall Street Journal

Betsy DeVos resigned as President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education, telling the President “there is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had” on the violent riots at the U.S. Capitol. DeVos said that the attack on Jan. 6 “was unconscionable for our country” and called Trump’s rhetoric about the situation “the inflection point for me.” DeVos’ departure follows similar announcements earlier in the day from Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger resigning in protest after pro-Trump mobs stormed and ransacked the U.S. Capitol. PoliticoNJ

Facebook blocked President Donald Trump on its platforms at least until the end of his term on Jan. 20. “We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post explaining his decision. As a result, Facebook and its photo-sharing site Instagram extend blocks on the President’s ability to post “until the peaceful transition of power is complete.” The Wall Street Journal

New Jersey made its first expansion of the coronavirus vaccination program past hospital workers and long-term care residents. State officials announced the move into phase 1B for those receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, offering the two-jab shot to police and firefighters who Gov. Phil Murphy noted are at high risk due to their interactions at superspreader events. “These are folks who have been just as much in harm’s way on the frontlines as many of our healthcare workers, and they often have been called upon for emergency medical support,” said Gov. Phil Murphy at a press briefing Jan. 6.

An expanded accidental death benefit for spouses of New Jersey firefighters and police in the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System was signed into law Jan. 7. The law guarantees widows and widowers of first responders who die in the line of duty an accidental death benefit of at least $50,000 a year. Previously, the death benefit was capped at 70% of the firefighter or police officer’s final salary. The Daily Record

State Sens. Kristin Corrado and Joe Pennacchio slammed the Murphy Administration’s slow rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, arguing this delay was leading to more deaths at nursing homes. Pennacchio (R-26) said the rising death rate at long-term care facilities in the state was a “heartbreaking indication” that the Murphy Administration was still making errors that were costing the lives of elderly residents, while Corrado (R-40) argued that as tens of thousands of doses of the vaccine remained unused, the number of deaths at the state’s nursing homes tripled.

Newark Public Schools announced students would continue with remote class until April 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Students were scheduled to begin returning to in-person classes on Jan. 25, but the plan was opposed by the Newark Teachers Union.

The New Jersey State Board of Education voted to return full local control to the Paterson Public Schools Board of Education on Jan. 6. The move was made following nearly 30 years of state control of district operations, and was the second school district to be withdrawn under the Murphy Administration; Newark regained control in July 2020. “Let it be a starting point for the great achievements of our students and our schools that will be made in this new era of Paterson Public Schools that is ultimately governed by the people of Paterson,” said Kenneth L. Simmons, President of the Paterson Board of Education.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a $14 billion corporate tax incentive program for New Jersey into law Jan. 7. The New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 aims to create new incentive programs to attract businesses to settle and keep businesses from leaving the state. Under the new law, up to $1.5 billion in tax breaks could be awarded annually for six years, which could include an additional seventh year if there are still tax incentives to be awarded. The Record

Legislative committees in the State Senate and Assembly voted to advance identical versions of the “clean-up” bill to  legalize and decriminalize marijuana. Under new amendments introduced, law enforcement will be able to issue a curbside warning or detain minors for a “stationhouse adjustment” that would forgo formal proceedings in favor of counseling, community service or an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program. Additionally, the amendments reduce the minimum civil penalties from $250 to $50 for individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 caught with less than an ounce of cannabis—the amount those aged 21 and up are allowed to buy and possess. If they possess more than one ounce, the penalty climbs to a range of $100 to $500. PoliticoNJ

Two North Jersey GOP lawmakers from the 25th Legislative District are urging the federal government to prioritize transitional housing for homeless individuals, including survivors of domestic violence, in the Garden State. State Sen. Anthony Bucco and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn introduced resolutions into the state Legislature to help find temporary housing, urging the United States Secretary for Housing and Urban Development to make a priority of funding programs in New Jersey.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli is set to receive over $1.8 million in state matching funds after submitting $1,082,685 raised last year in advance of the 2021 election. Ciattarelli will have nearly $3 million to spend on his bid to win the GOP nomination for governor. Ciattarelli’s decision to participate in the state’s gubernatorial public financing program will limit him to a $7.3 million spending cap for the June primary election. New Jersey Globe

The Hoboken City Council passed a resolution formally opposing a state bill limiting the height of new buildings developed below the Palisades Cliffs. The state bill is intended to protect views of New York City from atop the Palisades, which run from Jersey City north into Bergen County. New developments built below the cliffs would be required to top out no higher than 10 feet below the clifftop or Palisade Avenue. The Jersey Journal

Cresskill is offering an incentive program of about $25,000 for employees with 25 years of service to retire. The retirement incentive kicks in for workers who notify the borough of their plans by June 30 and leave their post by Dec. 31. So far, three eligible employees out of 19 have retired. The retirement incentive is being offered as a way for the borough to achieve savings and make room for younger employees to move up the ladder. The Record

And finally…The Chatterbox Drive-In in Frankford was sold and will be replaced with a Wawa. New Jersey Herald

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