North Jersey News Roundup for June 11, 2021

Through the first four months of the New Jersey COVID-19 vaccination program, less than 1% of breakthrough cases were identified and cataloged in the state. The New Jersey Department of Health identified 1,319 COVID-19 breakthrough cases which represents 0.06% of the 2.2 million people fully vaccinated from December 2020 through April 2021 in the state’s vaccination program. “This data shows us overwhelmingly that these vaccines work,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli stated. “It suggests the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the U.S. offer protection against most variants that are circulating.”

The U.S. government has halted new shipments of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine as one of several steps federal agencies are taking to clear a backlog of unused doses before they expire, according to state and federal health officials. Public-health experts say the suspension of shipments, to states including Maryland, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Michigan, and Illinois, and the vaccine’s shelf-life extension should prevent a further buildup in J&J doses and allow the existing stockpiles to be drawn down. The Wall Street Journal

Princeton University employees must prove they’ve been fully vaccinated by Aug. 1, ahead of the start of the Fall semester. Campus employees can apply for waivers if they have a medical condition or “sincerely-held religious belief” that prevents them from getting vaccinated. If they do not get the shot, employees must continue wearing masks, getting tested regularly and staying socially distant indoors. News12 New Jersey

Retroactive paid sick leave for New Jersey workers who had to miss work for reasons related to the coronavirus pandemic is being considered by Trenton lawmakers. The bill, retroactive to Jan. 1 and running through Sept. 30, proposes covering two weeks of sick leave if the employee can’t come to work because they are quarantining due to exposure or sickness, experiencing coronavirus symptoms or awaiting a test result, and caring for a sick family member or child without care. It would apply to workers regardless of how long they’ve been employed, and would be provided in addition to other paid sick leave already provided by the employer.

Republican State Senators want some of its $5.2 billion tax revenue windfall returned to taxpayers through tax rebates and expanded property tax relief. The call for direct tax relief comes a day after State Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio announced tax collections are on track to come in a $4.1 billion higher than expected in the fiscal year that ends June 30 and another $1.1 billion in the next, resulting in the state closing out the year with $10.1 billion in reserves.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli chose Bob Hugin as his pick for GOP State Chairman. Hugin, a former Celgene CEO who spent $36 million of his own money in a bid for U.S. Senate in 2018, will get the post he sought last December. By tradition, the party’s nominee for governor gets to designate the new state chairman. New Jersey Globe

A rise of anti semitic behavior since the conflict between Israel and Hamas in May has led to the Anti-Defamation League tracking an increase of anti semitic harassment, vandalism and violence in the U.S. During the two weeks of clashes in Israel and Gaza, the ADL collected 222 reports compared to the 127 during the previous two weeks. The surge comes as prominent politicians, most notably Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, questioned the historically strong bond between the U.S. and Israel. While the older generation sees Israel as an essential lifeline amid growing global antisemitism, younger voters struggle to reconcile the right-wing policies of the Israeli government with their own liberal values.

The U.S. Senate confirmed magistrate judge Zahid Quraishi for a seat on the U.S. District Court for New Jersey. Quraishi, a Rutgers Law School graduate, is the first Muslim American ever to serve as a federal district judge and follows the confirmation of Bergen County administrator Julien X. Neals just days before. The Record

Nino Falcone, a part-time municipal court judge in North Bergen, faces additional charges stemming from an allegation that he groped a woman at his private office two years ago. Falcone now faces a four-count criminal complaint for allegedly violating four canons of the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct according to the Supreme Court of New Jersey’s Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct. Hudson Reporter

Federal prosecutors subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, aides and family members—including a minor—as the Justice Department investigated who was behind leaks of classified information early in the Trump administration. The records of at least a dozen people tied to the committee were seized in 2017 and early 2018, including those of Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA). The New York Times

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) applauded the progress made at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The project reached a milestone with the launch of a federal environmental review process. It represented a real step forward on the redevelopment and rehabilitation efforts for the station. “The Port Authority Bus Terminal—opened in 1950, and expanded in 1981—has long since become a source of aggravation and great frustration for frenzied New Jersey commuters who know all too well its many shortcomings,” said Weinberg.

Sen. Cory Booker warned that a lack of a federal law on allowing college athletes to profit from their names and likenesses poses “a real threat to college sports as we know it.” Booker said individual state laws already on the books would create an uneven playing field between colleges seeking to attract athletes.“If we don’t fix this problem, sports as we know it will change,” Booker said.

Vernon is suing Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority (SCMUA) for “intentionally” providing wrong information during cost negotiations. By having a wide range of fees for essentially the same service, Vernon claims that SCMUA is violating state law “because the average cost per gallon varies substantially among the participants annually and year-to-year.” As a result, Vernon will pay $1 million more than Franklin, Hamburg and Hardyston this year, despite sending less sewage into the system. New Jersey Herald

And finally…New York’s Fourth of July fireworks show will be a live event. The Wall Street Journal

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.