North Jersey News Roundup for May 6, 2021

The latest poll of New Jersey residents shows a job approval rating nearing 60% for Gov. Phil Murphy but falls short of a majority for those who say they will vote for him this November. The Monmouth University Polling Institute survey of New Jerseyans found the Governor garnering a 57% approval and 35% disapproval rating for the overall job he is doing. As for his prospects in November, 48% say they would vote to reelect Murphy compared with 43% wanting someone else to lead the state for the next four years.

The Paterson School District will reopen its doors to students in June, with new social distancing protocols in place in its buildings. The plan is to have the students be in-person from Monday to Thursday, and learning remotely on Fridays. Students will be given their own trifold partitions to use for the day in the classroom and lunchroom, and are returned at the end of the day to be disinfected. Additionally, the district’s occupied classrooms and offices will keep a window open and rooms that don’t have windows will have special air scrubbers in them. News12 New Jersey

Stockton University has joined the list of schools requiring students to be vaccinated before returning to campus. All Stockton students must submit complete vaccination documentation to Student Health Services at least two weeks prior to arrival on campus, but no later than Aug. 1, unless they have a medical or religious exemption.

New Jersey will end its ban on interstate indoor youth sports competitions May 19 after six months on the sidelines because of the coronavirus pandemic. Indoor competitions can start again on the same day New Jersey takes a number of other big steps to ease coronavirus restrictions, including removing fixed indoor capacity limits on restaurants, stores, personal service, and other businesses and the elimination of all outdoor gathering caps. The state allowed outdoor interstate sports to resume in March. The Record

CVS Pharmacy is offering walk-up COVID vaccines at all 324 New Jersey locations with no appointments necessary. The company is still offering appointments, including same-day scheduling as soon as one hour from the time of scheduling.

State officials have taken proactive steps to support New Jersey’s nearly 1.9 million Medicaid members during the pandemic, including a recent push to expand COVID-19 immunization that involves phone calls to almost 260,000 individuals most at risk for infection. The state’s Department of Human Services has set aside more than $50 million over two years to help pay for COVID-19 vaccination administration among Medicaid patients. NJ Spotlight News

The U.S. will support the temporary waiver of intellectual property provisions to allow developing nations to produce COVID-19 vaccines created by pharmaceutical companies, citing an urgent need to stem the pandemic. Overriding objections from the pharmaceutical industry, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the U.S. will back a proposal working its way through the World Trade Organization. “The administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines,” said Tai. The Wall Street Journal

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) was joined by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) asking the Treasury Department to combat international corruption and kleptocracy. The legislators in a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged the secretary to expand anti-money laundering reporting obligations for both private equity and hedge fund advisors, and recommended additional actions to prevent foreign kleptocrats from using U.S. and global financial systems as a way to launder money.

State Sen. Holly Schepisi (R-39) is endorsing two challengers for State Assembly against incumbents in the June Republican primary. Schepisi is backing Saddle River Councilman John Azzariti and former Saddle River GOP Municipal Chairman Jon Kurpis against current Assembly members Robert Auth and DeAnne DeFuccio, who are running on the same county line as Schepisi. New Jersey Globe

Voters will likely be asked in November to expand sports betting to include collegiate games played in New Jersey or involving schools from the state. The Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee recently unanimously endorsed the proposed constitutional amendment after the State Senate moved quickly on the idea shortly after it was introduced last Fall. 

The National Hockey League (NHL) is hiring New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Jared Maples. No replacement was named for Maples, who will be the Executive Vice President and Chief Security Officer for the NHL starting June 7. New Jersey Globe

Gov. Phil Murphy recently signed bill A-5445 into law, providing $10 million in federal coronavirus relief aid for childcare providers throughout New Jersey. Sponsored in part by State Sen. Joseph Lagana (D-38) and Assemblywoman Lisa Swain (D-38). “Over the past year, women in particular have borne the brunt of the consequences of a lack of access to child care services,” said Swain. “The parents in our state both require and deserve affordable, accessible childcare. Providing financial support to childcare providers in need will help ensure these critical services are available to them.”

A coalition of New Jersey clergyman are asking the state’s top court to more explicitly ban racial profiling during police stops, arguing that Black residents disproportionately endure scrutiny that causes “tremendous damage” to “entire communities.” The New Jersey Supreme Court should block officers from detaining people who only match the race and gender of a suspect, 66 ministers, rabbis and one imam argued in a brief to the court that a “description containing only race, gender, or other extremely common features, without more, cannot contribute to a finding of reasonable, articulable suspicion.”

Former President Donald Trump’s Facebook account should remain suspended for the time being as his rhetoric had created “a serious risk of violence.” While the board upheld Trump’s suspension, they ordered “within six months of this decision, Facebook must reexamine the arbitrary penalty it imposed on January 7 and decide the appropriate penalty.” PoliticoNJ

And finally…Bruce Springsteen will receive the Woody Guthrie Prize from the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, OK, on May 13. The Record

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