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New Bill Would Give NJ Legislature Massive Pay Raise


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, the bill, slated for review by the state Senate Budget Committee on Thursday afternoon, proposes salary increases for judges, legislative staff, and lawmakers. Under the legislation, pay rates for members of the Legislature would rise from $49,000 to $75,000 annually, effective in 2026. Additionally, salaries could be adjusted annually by no more than 2%, based on the Consumer Price Index, starting in the 2028 legislative year.

Continue reading New Bill Would Give NJ Legislature Massive Pay Raise

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The Key Players Leaving the NJ Legislature



A sea change in New Jersey politics is coming next year, not only because Gov. Chris Christie will be leaving office, but because many prominent voices in the Legislature will be gone or are shuffling into other positions.

A string of departures announced this year in the Assembly and Senate and the death of state Sen. Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic) will take a toll on the body’s institutional knowledge. And, depending on the outcome of the November elections, even more legislative leaders and longtime hands could be headed for the exit.

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) likely will be ousted from the top job in the lower house by his fellow Democrats and replaced with Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex), and there’s a chance Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) could lose re-election in his district to a Republican challenger backed by the powerful New Jersey Education Association.


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Christie Demands The Legislature Do their Job and Fill Judicial Vacancies In Mercer County


September 1, 2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton, NJ , Governor Chris Christie demanded today that the Senate “do its job” and act on seven judicial vacancies that are jeopardizing the efficient delivery of justice to citizens in Mercer County, where the reassignment of a Superior Court judge this week underscored the emergent need for a full complement of judges in the vicinage.

In May, Governor Christie nominated seven qualified candidates, both Democrats and Republicans, to fill the Mercer County vacancies, but the Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to schedule them for a review and confirmation.

Now, Superior Court Judge Pedro Jimenez, a Middlesex County judge who has been assisting Mercer County in its criminal courts for the past seven years, is being reassigned back to his home county. Mercer County, which normally has a complement of 24 judges, has had one vacancy on the bench since March 2012 and six other vacancies since the departure of six judges in the fall of 2014.

“This is a complete disservice to the public and it falls firmly at the feet of Senate Democrats. They continue to fail in their constitutional responsibility to review and act on nominees to many key government posts in New Jersey, including the courts. Just as Senate Democrats created problems in Essex County a couple of years ago by blocking appointments, their inaction now in Mercer County is impeding the effective delivery of justice there,” said Governor Christie. “These judicial vacancies not only threaten our efforts to enact bail reform, but also leave the short-staffed Mercer County judicial system juggling to resolve serious matters, such as issuing restraining orders for victims of domestic violence and providing people accused of crimes a swift adjudication of their cases.”

Beyond Mercer County, the Senate also has failed to act on six other Superior Court nominees waiting to fill judicial vacancies elsewhere in the state and they are holding up 76 other nominations made by Governor Christie to various boards and commissions that serve the public.

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Second Uber Bill Introduced in NJ Legislature

Marco Rubio Speech On Innovation At Uber's DC Offices


Last week, Senators Joe Kyrillos (R-13) and Paul Sarlo (D-36) announced a bill aimed at creating statewide regulations for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft. Today, Assembly Democrats Joe Lagana (D-38), Troy Singleton (D-7) and John Wisniewski (D-19) introduced a similar bill in the assembly (A3695). Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNJ Read more

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Valley Hospital : NJ Legislature works out PILOT program details for non-profit hospitals


Passage nears in N.J. Legislature on hospitals-towns tax deal

JANUARY 6, 2016, 7:47 PM    LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, JANUARY 7, 2016, 6:49 AM

Last-minute negotiations on Wednesday set the stage for ­passage of a bill requiring New ­Jersey’s non-profit hospitals to contribute financially to their |host towns, a measure crafted after a landmark state Tax Court de­cision raised doubts about their century-old property tax exemptions.

The measure would put up to $25 million into the coffers of municipalities where hospitals are located statewide, including an estimated $2.7 million to towns in Bergen and Passaic counties.

The state’s largest hospital association, in a historic shift, agreed to the “community service assessments” — with exemptions for hospitals in serious financial trouble — required by state Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s proposed law. However, the measure is opposed by the League of Municipalities, whose members generally think towns deserve more from the hospitals.

Today, the Assembly Appropriations Committee is scheduled to vote on an amended version of Sweeney’s bill, and both houses of the Legislature are expected to vote on it Monday, Senate staff said. The measure, sponsored by Sweeney and state Sens. Robert Singer, a Republican of Monmouth and Ocean counties, and Joseph Vitale, a Middlesex County Democrat, has bipartisan support.

“The goal isn’t to put them out of business, or [see] how much can we get out of them,” Sweeney said of the state’s 60 non-profit hospitals. “But we wanted to acknowledge and come up with a fair process. You don’t want a free-for-all where everyone is going to court, everyone’s suing.”

The New Jersey Hospital Association’s endorsement came after a precedent-setting decision by state Tax Court Judge Vito Bianco in June opened the door to new tax bills — and lawsuits — for non-profit hospitals statewide. Bianco found that the non-profit Morristown Medical Center was not entitled to its property-tax exemption because its operations were hardly different from those of a for-profit business. The two sides in that dispute settled, with the medical center agreeing to pay $15.5 million over 10 years.

The bill would preserve the New Jersey Constitution’s century-old property tax exemption for non-profit hospitals, a protection sought by the hospital industry. But it assesses a daily fee of $2.50 per hospital bed, payable to the host municipality, to be used for police and fire protection or to lower property taxes. Five percent of the assessment would be paid by the municipality to the county government.

Two amendments were negotiated Wednesday, and the measure was scheduled for votes in the Legislature’s final voting sessions. One amendment added an inflation clause, increasing the assessment by 2 percent annually. The other changed an exemption for hospitals in danger of bankruptcy or close to violating their bond covenants by allowing the finances of a hospital system, rather than an individual hospital, to be considered when exemptions are decided.