North Jersey News Roundup for March 18, 2021

Gov. Phil Murphy renewed his call for educators to work to return students to the classroom as quickly as possible a day short of the one year anniversary of schools closing their doors and transitioning to all-remote learning because of the coronavirus. “Now is the time for all of our schools to meaningfully move forward with a return to in-person instruction—whether it be full-time or through a hybrid schedule,” said Murphy at a press briefing March 17. “It is time for more of our students to be active presences in our schools and not on black boxes on a Zoom screen.”

Vaccinations for Jersey City teachers are on pace to have students back in the classroom by April 22 as the city extended vaccination hours to accommodate teachers’ schedules. More than 600 of the city public school teachers and staff have been vaccinated by the city, the first week they were allowed under New Jersey’s plan. Another 1,000 have appointments for a portion of the 5,000 doses the city has allotted for school employees. There are roughly 4,700 employees in the district. The Jersey Journal

State Sen. Kristin Corrado is urging the Murphy administration to release guidance to help schools plan for school graduation for the Class of 2021. Corrado (R-40) is asking the state’s Department of Education to release the guidance that districts will need to follow as soon as possible so they can begin planning to allow “our local school districts (who) are eager to do better this year and give the Class of 2021 the graduation experience they deserve.” News12 New Jersey

New Jersey will end its ban on interstate outdoor sports March 19 that was put in place last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Protocols to allow interstate outdoor games include attendees limited to players, coaches, and officials, and up to two parents or guardians per participating athlete. Indoor interstate sports remain prohibited. Insider NJ

Gov. Phil Murphy extended New Jersey’s public-health emergency over the coronavirus a 13th time. Expiring every 30 days if not extended, Murphy’s executive order extends the emergency through mid-April. “Failing to extend the public health emergency would threaten our vaccination effort just as we expect our vaccine supply to exponentially increase over the next 30 days,” Murphy said.

The vast majority of people who recover from the coronavirus remain shielded from the virus for at least six months, researchers reported in a large study from Denmark. Prior infection with the coronavirus reduced the chances of a second bout by about 80% in people under 65, but only by about half in those older than 65. The New York Times

A Pompton Lakes gym owner charged with storming the U.S. Capitol and punching a police officer is a QAnon believer who allegedly boasted he would “go again” and has previously threatened a congresswoman, authorities said in court documents March 17. In seeking to have Sussex resident Scott Fairlamb detained pending the outcome of his criminal case, prosecutors said Fairlamb’s actions—most of which were caught on video—on Jan. 6 “show an absolute disregard for the rule of law coupled with a willingness to engage in violence.”

Sen. Bob Menendez took the unusual step of condemning a colleague on the Senate floor due recent comments considered racist by the New Jersey lawmaker. Menendez took Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) to task for his recent comments that the Wisconsin senator never feared for his safety on Jan. 6 when pro-Trump supporters attempted a deadly insurrection of the U.S. Capitol but he “might have been a little concerned” if they were Black Lives Matter protesters. “Is that not racism?” asked Menendez. “I get that no one likes to be called racist. But sometimes there is just no other way to describe the use of bigoted tropes that for generations have threatened Black lives by stoking white fear of African Americans—and Black men in particular.”

New Jersey went from 12 incidents of reported hate propaganda in 2017 to 323 incidents in 2020, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League. Areas with university campuses, including New Brunswick, Princeton, Montclair and Piscataway, were among the biggest targets as white supremacists tried to recruit and grow their ranks among college-aged men. The Record

The fix to the fix to the marijuana legalization law in terms of parental notification was endorsed by two Assembly committees. The bill, A5472, would require parents or guardians of people under age 18 to be notified the first time their child is caught with marijuana or alcohol. The vote on March 17 in the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee was bipartisan and unanimous, followed in the afternoon by a second unanimous vote in the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee. 

An Assembly committee passed a bill to allow municipalities to create civilian complaint review boards on March 17. The bill approved by the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee would allow the review boards to monitor complaints of police misconduct, have investigatory and subpoena powers, and recommend disciplinary action against police officers. The Jersey Journal

New Jersey’s two U.S. Senators want to make sure the peace accords that ended the Troubles in Ireland are fully implemented. To commemorate St. Patrick’s Day, Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker unveiled a bipartisan resolution with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in support of the full administration of the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements and arrangements to support peace in Ireland. “The Good Friday Agreement was a historic accomplishment …However, the work of the agreement remains unfinished,” said Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “We are calling for renewed attention and action to implement the agreement’s provisions, including the passage of a bill of rights and accountability for past injustices.”

William B. Sampson IV,  Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis’ choice to replace Assemblyman  Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-31), has never voted in a Democratic primary. Sampson, a crane operator and Longshoremen’s union official, didn’t register to vote in Bayonne until 2012 and didn’t vote in general elections in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2019, missing three of the last four races for the State Assembly seat he is currently seeking. New Jersey Globe

Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti is still considering running for reelection for the Legislative District 31 Assembly seat despite Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis pulling his support for his onetime ally’s campaign. Chiaravalloti said he is “still trying to determine what I do next…still talking to people, still out there collecting petitions. We’ll make that decision in a couple of weeks.” The Jersey Journal

And finally….The New Jersey Youth Symphony will host a virtual playathon on March 21.

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