North Jersey News Roundup for June 3, 2021

New polling of New Jersey voters finds that significant gains have been made when it comes to increasing Black and Hispanic voters’ willingness to be vaccinated. According to survey results from Change Research and commissioned by Newark-based non-profit Project Ready released June 1, the share of Black voters willing to be vaccinated increased to 69% in May from 62% in February, while 83% of Hispanic voters say they will be vaccinated, compared to 77% in February.

New Jersey’s six mega-sites used to distribute vaccines for the coronavirus have started to shut down. The plan includes the Bergen County mega-site at the Meadowlands administering its final first doses on June 4 and the final first doses at the Morris County mega-site at Rockaway Townsquare Mall will be administered on June 23. The Daily Record

State lawmakers unveiled a new proposal to end New Jersey’s 15-month-old public health emergency over COVID-19 while allowing Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration to retain some powers to manage the pandemic through the year’s end. The updated plan includes new provisions related to public records, immunity for healthcare providers, and would prevent the governor from installing mask and social distancing restrictions that go beyond federal guidelines unless there are major upticks in the state’s coronavirus numbers. The Record

U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona was joined by Gov. Phil Murphy and Rep. Josh Gottheimer in a visit to Bergenfield High School on June 2 to discuss the importance of in-person instruction. “Here at this school and in this state, it is clear that children come first,” said Secretary Cardona. “Students belong in school and that’s what we saw today.”

Gov. Phil Murphy is open-minded about dropping New Jersey’s mask requirements in schools by the time the next academic year begins. Murphy said his “guess” remains that the state will continue to require students and staff to wear masks in the Fall, but that “there is a chance” that could change. “We put our guidance out in June of last year for what reopening would look like, and we tweaked it a number of times between June and September,” Murphy said. “I’ll put on my epidemiological hat and say three months from now might as well be five lifetimes in a pandemic. So the answer is: Absolutely. Our minds are open.”

Candidates seeking gubernatorial primary nominations in New Jersey have raised $16.1 million and spent $14.4 million, according to the latest reports filed with the state’s Election Law Enforcement Commission. Reports show incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, has raised $7.8 million and spent $7.2 million. The top Republican fundraiser and spender is former state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, who has raised $6.9 million and spent $5.9 million. Insider NJ

Gov. Phil Murphy has a 11-point lead, 44%-33%, over Republican Jack Ciattarelli, according to a Project Ready poll. With leaners, Murphy’s lead remains unchanged at 47%-36%. Respondents to the poll are supportive of the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan by a 61%-36% spread, and the “For the People Act” to expand voting rights and reduce the influence of money in U.S. politics by a 63%-29% margin. But New Jersey is less decisive when it comes to eliminating the U.S. Senate’s right to filibuster, with 50% of the state favoring reforms and 38% opposing it. New Jersey Globe

Voters in the 7th and 11th Congressional Districts indicated strong support for President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, with climate change and clean energy as significant selling points. The poll, sponsored by Environment New Jersey, Earthjustice and Environment America, found support of at least 70% in both districts for investments to rebuild roads and bridges and modernizing public transportation, upgrading the country’s public water infrastructure, funding for the Gateway Project, support extending tax credits to spur clean energy initiatives and a shift to greater use of clean energy.

Sen. Cory Booker put the odds of reaching an agreement on a police reform bill in the U.S. Senate as “far more likely than not.” According to Booker, major sticking points remain, including addressing differences on qualified immunity, the legal doctrine that shields police officers from being sued by brutality victims and their families. As for Presidential ambitions, Booker says he doesn’t know if he wants to make another run for the White House as President Joe Biden is likely to run for reelection and Vice President Kamala Harris “by all measures is on deck.” PoliticoNJ

Israeli opposition parties reached a coalition agreement to form a government and oust Benjamin Netanyahu. The new coalition, an alliance between eight political parties from from the left to the far right, would be led until 2023 by Naftali Bennett, a former settler leader and standard-bearer for religious nationalists, who opposes a Palestinian state and wants Israel to annex the majority of the occupied West Bank. The New York Times

About 14.5 acres of cliff face in Weehawken will be preserved after the township acquires it from a developer. Roseland, a Mack-Cali company responsible for Port Imperial developments, is donating the land spanning from about 51st Street south to the end of Hamilton Avenue to the township. The Jersey Journal

The Schools Development Authority patronage scandal was not an isolated incident of failed leadership but the result of “years of inconsistent and questionable” management and policies that have led to wasteful property management, costly construction overruns and poor practices to weed out bad contractors, according to a State Commission of Investigation report. The report concluded that if the authority does not enact further reforms, “the public cannot be confidently assured that the SDA can consistently and successfully serve as a capable and trustworthy custodian of public tax dollars” to build schools in New Jersey’s poorest districts. New Jersey Herald

And finally…A happy birthday to First Lady (and Jersey Girl) Jill Biden. New Jersey Herald

One comment

  1. It’s so nice to have a day filled with mostly good news (more minority vaccination, mask requirements easing, the Weehawken cliffs preserved, etc.). It’s easy to complain in these comments, but good news deserves its moment, too. Let’s hear it for the good guys!

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