Morning Digest: Jan. 24, 2013

Sweeney denies Norcross ‘backed’ Buono

WALL -Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) told reporters today he didn’t buy the “Norcross backs Buono” narrative. PolitickerNJ


National labor pledges support for Codey after D.C. trip

Four people close to former Gov. Dick Codey say the Essex County senator came away from meetings in Washington, D.C., yesterday with assurances that organized labor would aggressively support him should he decide to make a bid for governor. PolitickerNJ


From The Back Room

In LD39, Bidwell announces candidacy against Cardinale

From Mahwah, Democrat Jan Bidwell Wednesday formally launched her state Senate campaign in the 39th Legislative District. PolitickerNJ


Latest from State Street Wire

BPU to launch program for energy-efficient equipment purchases

TRENTON – The Board of Public Utilities will launch a program within the next couple of weeks that will provide various incentives and rebates toward energy-efficient equipment purchases for residents and businesses that suffered losses in Superstorm Sandy. State Street Wire

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Clinton defends Libya actions amid GOP criticism

Hillary Clinton’s last solo testimony as secretary of state was an intense cross-examination by Republicans about the deadly attack in Libya that marked the low point in her four-year tenure. Bloomberg


First overwhelmed by hurricane, now struggling to fight off cold

It was too cold for Daniel Choi to stay in his storm-gutted home in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, so he left his two pet turtles, Michelangelo and Leonardo, behind to move in temporarily with friends. But on Wednesday, when he stopped by his home to feed them, he made an upsetting discovery. Plummeting temperatures in the still-heatless house had left the two turtles frozen under a sheet of ice. N.Y. Times


Intent on being first, Cuomo used all means to enact gun limits

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was in his 39th floor office above Third Avenue in Manhattan, after meeting with corporate executives to ask for help lobbying Congress for federal Hurricane Sandy aid, when he heard the news: A gunman had opened fire in an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., killing 20 children. N.Y. Times


States in tug of war with Washington over health care

Hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans who lack health coverage will be able to buy it online starting in October on a new health insurance exchange created under the Affordable Care Act. Record


Lawsuits seek to speed up medical marijuana program

Lawyers for two South Jersey medical-marijuana patients are expected to ask a Superior Court judge Thursday to order sweeping changes to make the drug more accessible to those in pain. Inquirer


Panetta to lift ban on women in combat roles

The Pentagon is lifting its ban on women in combat roles, opening thousands of previously closed jobs in the most dangerous units in the military, but the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee said it might not mean major changes by the time all is said and done. Politico


GOP electoral votes allocation bids advance

Legislation that would apportion Virginia’s electoral votes by the winner of each congressional district, instead of the current winner-take-all system, emerged from a Senate subcommittee today without a recommendation. Huffington Post


Sandy helps Point Pleasant Beach reach deal with bars

POINT PLEASANT BEACH — A nasty dispute over how much responsibility bars in a popular Jersey Shore town have to keep their patrons quiet and well-behaved after last call has been largely laid to rest — thanks in part to Superstorm Sandy. Associated Press


Union membership lowest since 1930s

WASHINGTON — Union membership plummeted last year to the lowest level since the 1930s as cash-strapped state and local governments shed workers and unions had difficulty organizing new members in the private sector despite signs of an improving economy. Associated Press


Runyan organizing summit in Burlco on gun violence

Congressman Jon Runyan is inviting Burlington County law enforcement officials, mental health experts and residents to attend a special summit to discuss strategies for reducing gun violence. Burlington County Times



Grant should exit E. Greenwich mayor’s post

Faced with budget problems that inevitably will involve the township police department, the East Greenwich Township Committee made a regrettable choice in naming Committeeman Fred Grant as mayor again for 2013. South Jersey Times


Christie getting used to poll numbers, but revenues could be better

Gov. Christie is getting used to his invincible poll numbers, but the good news has components where the numbers have been more somber. Albright, Jersey Journal