Morning News Digest: Feb. 25, 2013

Weekly Advance: Week of Feb. 25

TRENTON – The governor’s annual budget address will be the focus of the last week of February.

Matthew Arco-State Street Wire


 Weekly Roundup: Week of Feb. 18

TRENTON – Guns, guns, guns.

Whether they are deadly weapons, or necessary for self-protection, depending on who you ask, they were in the forefront again Thursday, as both supporters and opponents of gun legislation packed the Assembly chambers.

Minhaj Hassan – State Street Wire


 Christie’s budget hinges on federal aid for storm relief

Governor Christie is banking on the billions in federal aid for superstorm Sandy to help rebuild New Jersey and boost the state budget he’ll pitch Tuesday. But it’s unclear what impact a Sandy stimulus would have or whether federal spending cuts would mean less aid. Some lawmakers and budget experts are warning governors like Christie to be cautious given that uncertainty and the already struggling economy.

John Reitmeyer- The Record


 Bedeviled Menendez confronts accusatins with words of Martin Luther King

TRENTON — Sen. Robert Menendez, bedeviled in recent weeks by questions over his conduct, told hundreds gathered for a Black History Month celebration today that he found strength in the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Ryan Hutchins – The Star Ledger



Haley Barbour defends Christie hiring of AshBritt contractor for Sandy cleanup

WASHINGTON Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour today defended the state of New Jersey’s hiring of the Florida debris cleanup firm he recommended to Gov. Chris Christie.

Jenna Portnoy – The Star Ledger



Sequester’s military cuts could force NJ defense contractors to slash jobs

Military contractors and subcontractors in North Jersey are bracing for the repercussions of $46 billion in Defense Department cuts slated to kick in on Friday, unless Congress comes up with a plan to avert $85 billion in so-called sequestration federal budget reductions.

Linda Morris and Mary Diduch



White House outlines what spending cuts mean for N.J.

President Obama and his allies spent the past week barnstorming the nation, warning of the dire consequences that will occur if the automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, take effect on Friday.

Dan Goldberg – The Star Ledger


NJ could lose billions in Sandy aid under budget sequester

The prolonged debate over how much help the federal government would give New Jersey to rebuild from its worst natural disaster seemed settled last month when President Obama signed the final piece of a $60 billion disaster aid package.

Herb Jackson and Linda Moss


Wall Street warns Christie to avoid election-year budget moves

TRENTON — When Gov. Chris Christie rolls out his new budget on Tuesday, Wall Street will be watching closely — and is warning that any false moves or election-year gimmicks could trigger more downgrades of New Jersey’s credit rating.

Salvador Rizzo-The Star Ledger


 NJ to freeze health insurance enrollment

New Jersey next Friday will suspend enrollment in an insurance program for people with preexisting medical conditions mandated by the new federal health care law, officials said.

Lindy Washburn-The Record



Assembly to take up online gaming Tuesday

 Legislators are following through on their promise to quickly pass an amended online gaming bill.

The Assembly will vote on the bill, A-2578, at its 2 p.m. session on Tuesday. The vote will come just ahead of Gov. Chris Christie’s 3 p.m. budget address

Jared Kaltwasser-NJBiz



Healy fundraising calls to city workers labeled ‘shakedown’ by opponent

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy has been calling city workers and employees of city agencies asking them to donate to his political campaign, and his longtime political rival is using the term “shakedown” to refer to the solicitations.

Terrence T. McDonald – The Jersey Journal





NJ Senate should quickly pass gun control bills

The state Assembly has pushed through a package of bills to plug some outrageous gaps in New Jersey’s gun laws.

Star Ledger Editorial



Doblin: On gun control, Assembly shoots from the hip

WHEN IT COMES to tragedy, legislatures either do nothing or rush to do something that rarely addresses the causes of the tragedy. In the wake of the massacre inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo put his political muscle behind new gun-control legislation. Cuomo got what he wanted and a tough gun control bill became law.

Alfred Doblin – The Record