North Jersey News Roundup for Jan. 14, 2021

North Jersey Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill made the explosive claim that sitting members of Congress helped those planning to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. ”I intend to see that those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 for reconnaissance for the next day, that incited this violent crowd, the members of Congress that attempted to help our President undermine our democracy, I am going to see that they are held accountable and if necessary, ensure that they do not serve in Congress,” stated Sherrill.

President Donald Trump became the first American president to be impeached twice, as 10 Republicans joined with Democrats in the House to charge him with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in egging on domestic terrorists that stormed the Capitol Jan. 6. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate should wait to take up the articles for at least a week believing it would “serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden administration.” The New York Times

The vote for impeachment fell along party lines for the New Jersey congressional delegation. North Jersey congressman Reps. Josh Gottheimer, Mikie Sherrill, Albio Sires, Donald Payne and Bill Pascrell all voted for the articles. The Garden State’s two GOP House members—Rep. Jeff Van Drew and Chris Smith—cast their ballots against impeaching the President.

State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) will retire when her term ends in 2022. Weinberg, who pushed for same-sex marriage, open government and NJ Transit reforms and helped expose a sexist culture in Trenton during her career, said the pandemic did play a role in her decision by limiting what she could do but that, ultimately, “I’ve accomplished a lot… it added up to this is the right time for me personally.” PoliticoNJ

New Jersey will expand the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility following a change in Federal guidelines. Two additional categories of New Jersey residents will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination beginning Jan. 14: residents aged 65 and older, and individuals ages 16-64 with certain medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus. The federal government changed its recommendations Jan. 12 on vaccines as well indicated it will increase efforts to speed up vaccine delivery by sending more doses and not holding back doses in reserve for second shots.

Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine is safe and shows a promising immune response, according to the company. The New Jersey-based company’s data shows most volunteers developed antibodies after 28 days with a few side effects reported in early trials, including headaches, muscle aches, and soreness. News12 New Jersey

The Fort Dix federal prison, which currently has the most positive coronavirus cases of any federal correctional facility, is set to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The prison expects to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 19. It will be administered in accordance with the Bureau of Prisons policy, though it is unclear how many doses the prison will initially receive.

Gov. Phil Murphy said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “will be remembered…as the single worst secretary of state in the history of our country,” as the morale at State is at an all-time low. Murphy, the former Ambassador to Germany under President Barack Obama, slammed Pompeo as making decisions as he’s going out the door which he knows “full well will tie the hands of the incoming Biden administration.”     

President Donald Trump implored his supporters not to break the law or use violence next week in Washington, D.C. or across the country as concerns mount that protests could become bloody. “I want to be very clear,” he said in a new video. “I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week. Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country, and no place in our movement.” The Wall Street Journal

New Jersey’s top Homeland Security official asked for the public’s help ahead of a potential “armed march” at the Statehouse in Trenton Jan. 17. “We are taking proactive steps to halt possible attempts at violence,” Jared Maples, director of the state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, who added state and federal officials were in “constant contact” since a mob attacked the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6.

State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco introduced legislation to extend benefits to New Jersey State Trooper recruits after the accidental death of a Morris County resident last year. The proposed law addresses concerns related to the recent death of Lucas C. Homeijer, a 27-year-old Boonton native, who succumbed to injuries sustained as a recruit during a training exercise at the New Jersey State Police Academy in Sea Girt in December 2020.

The air permit application for NJ Transit’s proposed power plant in the Meadowlands has been revoked at the request of Gov. Phil Murphy. “The State fully intends to build the Project,” Murphy wrote. “That said, it is imperative that consistent with the clean energy commitments that have been advanced by my administration, there must be a thorough and transparent evaluation during the procurement process in consultation with a renewable energy expert retained by NJ Transit to determine if there is clean technology available through which the Project can operate, either in whole or in part.” The Record

Gov. Phil Murphy has named Shawn LaTourette, a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Deputy, as Acting Commissioner. LaTourette, who will become the nation’s first openly gay Environmental Protection commissioner, replaces as Commissioner Catherine McCabe who is retiring Jan. 15. Insider NJ 

Jefferson Democratic Chairwoman Christine Clarke will run for State Senate, seeking to oust State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-26). “We need more people in government who are chosen by, from and among the people, who know what it is to budget from a place of scarcity and invest in what matters most,” she said. “If we are going to pay our bills, meet our commitments and save for someday, we need leaders who live that way seated at the proverbial table.” Clarke has the backing of Democratic chairs in Passaic, Morris and Essex Counties as she prepares to run in the solidly Republican district. New Jersey Globe

The Franklin Borough Council tabled an ordinance creating an overnight permit for area residents to park in the Main Street lot. The $300 permit would have given local residents a place to park during overnight hours as the borough tries to limit parking on Main Street in an effort to attract businesses. New Jersey Herald

And finally….An Exxon in Wayne is offering a drive-thru lane for testing of COVID-19. The Record

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