North Jersey News Roundup for June 10, 2021

According to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Polling, 52% of registered voters say they would vote for Gov. Phil Murphy in his race with GOP nominee Jack Ciattarelli, who received support of 26% respondents. The poll found 42% of New Jersey registered voters would definitely vote to reelect the governor, 21% say they are on the fence, and 31%  would definitely vote for someone else. Both candidates start with strong support in their own party—Murphy wins 83% of his Democratic base, while 67% of Republicans back Ciattarelli. Independents are split but give the nod to Murphy at 39%-29% with 19% undecided.

Gov. Phil Murphy defended his Jersey Guy bona fides after Jack Ciattarelli proclaimed Murphy “is not New Jersey.” Murphy, raised in Massachusetts and moved to the Garden State in 1998, paraphrased Bobby Kennedy when he was running for Senate in New York who said that if elections were judged based on how long a person has lived somewhere, voters would elect the oldest living person in the state. “Let’s focus on the stuff people care about,” Murphy said. “It’s ridiculous. First of all, we bought our house in 1998. Did [First Lady Tammy Murphy] and I make the conscious decision to move to New Jersey and raise our four kids? Absolutely. Probably the best decision of our lives.” PoliticoNJ

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce said New Jersey politics “has changed, and not for the good of the people of New Jersey” after being defeated in the GOP primary in the 26th Legislative District. “I can’t give you a clear answer on how a moderate can even survive and try to get some things done,” DeCroce said. “If you’re pragmatic and work with the other party, how do you run against that wing of the party that takes offense to that, and how is our party going to grow with that kind of attitude? No one is going to want to participate and there goes our democracy down the drain.” Insider NJ

Bucking state trends, Republican voters in Andover Township, Branchville, Franklin and Hampton each selected at least one newcomer to represent the party in the November election. Rachel Heath received that distinction in Franklin, Hampton challenger Edward V. Ramm Jr. received the most votes with 406 in a race for two Republican nominations, Branchville voters was the third municipality to see a newcomer lead the pack with Russell Bellis Jr. winning, and Andover’s Eric Karr earned the nod for one of two Republican seats along with Mayor Janis McGovern, defeating Deputy Mayor Michael Lensak. New Jersey Herald

Although 73% of New Jersey residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 16% remain unwilling to, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Among those unwilling to get vaccinated, 67% cited a concern about possible side effects stemming from the vaccines, 57% noted they did not feel the government tested the vaccine adequately and that it was developed too quickly, 55% were unwilling to get vaccinated felt they did not need and 33% of this cohort said they do not get vaccines in general.

Experts fear the virus could eventually surge again in states like Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, where fewer than half of adults have had a first shot. A range of reasons exist about why the South, which as of June 9 was home to eight of the 10 states with the lowest vaccination rates, lags behind: hesitancy from conservative white people; concerns among some Black residents; longstanding challenges when it comes to healthcare access; and transportation. The New York Times

New Jersey has 10 towns with a population over 10,000 with vaccination rates under 50%. Phillipsburg has the lowest vaccinate rate at 40%, followed by Pemberton (41%), Lakewood (42%), Irvington (42%), New Brunswick (43%), East Orange (44%), Camden (48%), Glassboro (49%) and Wallington (49%).

More vaccine doses will be sent to New Jersey pediatricians and family practices as the state ramps up its vaccination campaign among adolescents and prepares for inoculating young children, possibly in the Fall. Vaccines have been allocated only to 180 primary care practices so far in New Jersey while more than 1,000 practices have requested them, said Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli. Each practice would receive at least 450 Pfizer doses, and 100 each of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The Record

Atlantic Health System is giving people who were vaccinated at one of its facilities the ability to access and share their proof of COVID-19 vaccination through a digital vaccine card on their mobile device. The card comes through a partnership with CLEAR, a New York City-based company that specializes in digital ID platforms. Atlantic Health System officials say they are the first healthcare system to partner with CLEAR to allow patients to seamlessly share their vaccination records.

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal applauded the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision allowing the release of names for law enforcement officers who commit actions that result in “major discipline.” The directives in question would require that every year, police departments publish lists of officers who were terminated, demoted, or suspended for more than five days. The decision by the state’s highest court allows officers who were disciplined prior to last year to go to a judge to block the public disclosure.

New Jersey police departments have two months to name officers who’ve recently been found guilty of wrongdoing such as giving false testimony or drinking on the job in the wake of the New Jersey’s Supreme Court decision allowing the disclosures. By Aug. 9, all agencies must identify any cop who was fired, demoted, or suspended for more than five days during the second half of last year, according to a directive released June 9 by the Attorney General.

New Jersey is on track to collect $5.2 billion more in tax revenues in the current and upcoming fiscal years than expected just three months ago. The state is now projected to end this fiscal year with $10.1 billion in surplus and projected to have $6.9 billion in reserves by the end of next year. Gross income, corporation and sales tax collections are projected to reach “historic highs,” Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio wrote in her report to the state Assembly Budget Committee. “We have not only returned to pre-pandemic levels, but we have jumped past those levels.” The Daily Record

Gov. Phil Murphy acknowledged the uncertainty surrounding Schools Development Authority’s (SDA) future after a state watchdog report found waste, mismanagement and lax oversight at the authority followed by State Senate President Steve Sweeney stating he would not fund the SDA. “Still an open question as to what the future looks like. I know where the Senate President has been,” he said about the agency which is tasked with building and maintaining schools in the state’s poorest districts. “I respect his position, and I think we all, having said that, agree on the need of the mission. How that mission is actually prosecuted going forward is to be determined.” New Jersey Globe

And finally…The Hoboken Summer Streets program is back this year. Hudson Reporter

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