TRENTON - Lawmakers, legal counsellors and business owners traded fiery words at a Senate Economic Growth Committee hearing today as they debated -- and ultimately released -- a bill that would dissolve The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, a bi-state regulatory agency created in 1953 to combat criminal activity at the Port of New York and New Jersey.
The Commission -- the primary purpose of which is to license businesses and vet potential employees at shipping companies at the port to ensure hiring practices are in accordance with state and federal law -- has become the subject of criticism among lawmakers and labor leaders who see its involvement in the industry as crippling to the state's economic growth. The port's leading labor organizations have held protests over the that involvement.
More recently, the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) union joined with the region's main employer group, the New York Shipping Association (NYSA), in suing the agency over those hires, mostly vacant longshoremen positions they're not able to fill and which they insist are hurting business.
Frustration over the commission was on high exhibit again today, with legislators like state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-20) and shipping labor leaders like John Nardy, president of the New York Shipping Association, slamming the commission for playing an overly bureaucracy -- and, they argue, unnecessary -- role in the industry's affairs.Read More >
U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2) struck back this afternoon at the Hughes for Congress campaign, going after this opponent's association with the politician who successfully launched legalized gambling in Pennsylvania in direct competition with Atlantic City.
Hughes has a scheduled fundraiser tomorrow with former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, whom the Republican congressman fingers in part as responsible for collapsing Atlantic City.
“It is brazen hypocrisy that Bill Hughes Jr. can hold a press conference one day confessing his solidarity with casino workers and their families impacted by the recent closures, but then rub elbows and collect campaign contributions from the Pennsylvania Governor who instituted gaming at our borders,” LoBiondo said.Read More >
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop last night put his thumb print on Brian Wilton, the Democratic candidate running for mayor in Lake Como.
Already helping Monmouth County Democratic Committee Chairman Vin Gopal try to dislodge two Republicans in the Nov. 4th election, the Jersey City mayor was the headliner last night at a gazebo fundraiser for Wilton attended by about 100 people.
Those in attendance included Assemblyman Jason O'Donnell (D-31), Ocean County Democratic Chairman Wyatt Earp, and Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty.Read More >
TRENTON - At his news conference today, Gov. Chris Christie said the Select Committee on Investigation (SCI) should disband.
“The fact is that they’ve been digging around for eight months now and have found absolutely nothing. Wrap up your work. Do your job,” said Christie.
The co-chair of the committee, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) was seated in the front row as Christie urged the ending of the committee examining the George Washington Bridge scandal.Read More >
TRENTON – Not without debate, the Assembly Higher Education Committee this afternoon passed a bill prohibiting a four-year public or independent institution of higher education from increasing the tuition and fees of a resident undergraduate student for nine continuous semesters following the student’s initial enrollment in the institution.
“Hopefully what we’re going to say, with this bill, is let’s put families first,” said Assemblyman Joe Cryan (D-20), Union Twp., the bill’s prime sponsor.
The bill applies to New Jersey residents.
“Here’s a tool that makes us competitive, to provide leverage for this state,” argued the veteran lawmaker.Read More >
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5) issued the following statement after voting against the House Continuing Resolution (CR) because it included President Obama’s ISIS plan:
“While I did support the CR to ensure funding for the federal government," the congressman said, "I couldn’t vote for it because I do not support the president’s ISIS plan, which was added to the bill. Though I support efforts to destroy ISIS, the president has not yet demonstrated to Congress that arming a loosely organized and untrained Syrian opposition would counter the very real threat that ISIS poses.
"Before I can support sending our military men and women on another mission to the Middle East, the president must lay out a specific strategy and endgame with special attention given to the questions of who we are helping, how they will use that help, and how we can ensure the weapons we provide don’t fall into the wrong hands—or worse yet, end up being used against us," Garrett added.Read More >
Bill Hughes, Jr., a Democrat running for Congress in the 2nd District, went up on cable television for the first time today.
Hughes is running against Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2).Read More >
TRENTON - Central Jersey sources say Joe Danielson, chairman of the Franklin Twp. Democratic Committee, is in a strong position to succeed Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D-17) with the support of the Somerset County Democratic Committee.
Chivukula is seeking appointment to the Board of Public Utilities and appears to be on a strong glide path to land the job.Read More >
TRENTON - It was tough, that 12th District Democratic Primary pitting three well-known legislators against one another.Read More >
Winners and Losers: Week of September 15th WINNERS Chris Christie NBC News reported Thursday evening that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has determined after a nine-month investigation that there is 'no evidence" so far that the governor had advance knowledge about any politically motivated scheme around the bridge lane closures...
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By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor. Not only is there no current legal... Read More >
"In many ways, Fulop has embraced McGreevey’s granular-level approach to retail politics, racing around the state to raise money for congressional candidates in South Jersey one night, showing up at a Morris County Democratic Party function the next. His administration has also awarded legal work to Weiner Lesniak, the Parsippany-based firm run by state Sen. Ray Lesniak, the Union County Democratic Party power broker." - columnist Charles Stile- The Bergen Record
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