Phil Gregory

Statehouse Reporter

Phil has been the Statehouse Reporter in Trenton for both WBGO and WHYY in Philadelphia since 2009.

He’s a long-time reporter in the tri-state area. For 10 years he worked at Bloomberg Radio in New York City where he anchored coverage of several major events including the 9/11 attacks and the 2003 blackout. He also covered business and market news as a reporter from the New York Stock Exchange.

Phil is a native of the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania and started his broadcast career at WAEB in Allentown, PA where he advanced to become News Director. He was an award-winning reporter and anchor at radio stations WPTR, WFLY and WROW in Albany, NY and at WOBM in Toms River, NJ. Phil is a past President of the Empire State Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been a broadcast instructor at the New School of Contemporary Radio in Albany and at Monmouth University.

Outside of work he enjoys visiting historical, nature and entertainment sites.

Ways to Connect

It’s now up to Governor Murphy to decide whether to sign a bill passed by the New Jersey legislature that would impose a five-cent fee on plastic and paper shopping bags.

Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle says the goal is to reduce the use of bags that litter the environment and end up in waterways. She says the fee is an incentive to change consumer behavior by encouraging the use of reusable bags.

Environment New Jersey director Doug O’Malley says that’s a good concept.

The budget plan New Jersey Democratic leaders hope to pass tomorrow includes some changes in funding for public schools.

Parent and Chesterfield committeewoman Andrea Katz supports the lawmakers’ plan to limit reductions in state aid to school districts that have received more than required by the school funding formula and increase aid to underfunded districts.

“They lay out a path forward for everyone, for under-aided districts and for over-aided districts. And I just really wish the Governor would support it so we all know where we’re going next year.”

A state watchdog agency says corrupt pawn shops, secondhand goods stores, and scrap yards in New Jersey are taking advantage of the opioid epidemic to maximize their profits.

State Commission of Investigation spokeswoman Kathy Riley says those operators regularly accepted metal and other merchandise from addicts who stole those items from cellphone towers and utility substations to get money for their drug habit.

A bill advancing in the New Jersey Assembly would require new school buses in the state to be equipped with lap and shoulder safety belts.

Current New Jersey law requires school buses to have lap-only belts.

Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez says including a shoulder strap would improve student safety.

New Jersey legislative leaders are pressing ahead with their own state budget plan even after Governor Phil Murphy said he’d veto it.

Murphy says the budget Democratic leaders are advancing is based on gimmicks.

“I will not sign any budget based on numbers that I do not believe are sound and sustainable. And as we have reviewed the legislature’s proposals, I do not believe theirs are.”  

Senate President Steve Sweeney says lawmakers have been open to compromise and won’t be bullied into doing what the governor wants.

 

The leader of the New Jersey Senate says a new state budget will be approved by lawmakers before the June 30thdeadline.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says legislative leaders are prepared to pass their own version of a budget plan next week.

“Our plan is we’re hoping to do a budget on Tuesday and vote on Thursday. That’s our goal. No one wants to shut the state government now. I can tell you that right now.”

Lead that gets into drinking water from old water pipes can cause serious health problems.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation that would help assess the extent of that hazard.

A bill advanced by an Assembly committee would require public water systems to submit a list of lead service lines in their distribution system to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Chris Sturm with New Jersey Future says that’s an important step.

Legalized sports betting is now underway in New Jersey.

Governor Phil Murphy made the first wager at Monmouth Park in Oceanport.

“I’m betting $20 on Germany to win the World Cup and $20 on the Devils to win Lord Stanley’s Cup. Let’s go.”

Several state lawmakers then joined hundreds of sports fans in placing their wagers.

Spring Lake resident Peter Kizenko was one of them.

“I’ve been looking forward to it for years. When you win now you don’t have to worry about people disappearing to get your money. Always a good thing.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says he’s optimistic an agreement on a new state budget can be reached by the June 30th deadline even though he and lawmakers disagree on how to pay for it.

Murphy says he’s in deep discussions with legislative leaders and they’re committed to delivering a budget on time.

“I think the discussions have been constructive and they continue to be. They’re farther along on the investment side. But that doesn’t mean that the discussions on the revenue side are not constructive even though they may not be as farther along.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is making New Jersey’s strict gun laws even tougher. He’s signed a package of six new gun bills into law.

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg has been trying for years to get new gun safety laws enacted. She was among the lawmakers who joined Murphy at the signing ceremony.

“Really one of the most Important pieces of legislation in this package is that legislation that allows people who know someone is going to do harm to themselves or others, have a path to remove firearms from that person.”

New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation that would require pharmaceutical company sales representatives to be licensed by the State Board of Medical Examiners.

As a condition of getting a license, the drug reps would have to complete training on ethics and alternatives to opioids for managing and treating pain.

Angie Gochenaur with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization says the legislation could prevent valuable interactions between health care professionals and manufacturers.

The Consumer Affairs Committee in the New Jersey Assembly has approved a measure that would ban the sale of candy that was intentionally infused with harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process.

Assemblyman Gary Schaer says some candy and their wrappers that were made in Central and South America have harmful levels of lead, mercury, and cadmium.

New Jersey is considering barring stores from discriminating against customers who want to pay with cash.

Assemblyman Paul Moriarty says his bill would require cash to be accepted for any retail transaction conducted in-person in New Jersey.

“There have been credit card companies and some food chains that have said we want to go cashless. And I believe that this marginalizes people that are poor, people that don’t have access to credit, and also young people that have not established credit yet.”

 

Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation that allows sports betting at New Jersey casinos and racetracks.

 

Murphy did not have a public ceremony to sign the bill. In a written statement, he said he’s thrilled to sign it because it means Atlantic City casino and racetracks throughout the state can attract new business and new fans.  He said it’s the right move for New Jersey and will strengthen the economy.

 

A day after the New Jersey legislature unanimously approved a bill to legalize sports betting, Governor Phil Murphy says he won’t be rushed into signing it.

Murphy says he’s giving the bill the same level of review as all other legislation that reaches his desk.

Senator Declan O’Scanlon can’t understand the delay.

The New Jersey Senate has passed a bill that would ban nondisclosure agreements that conceal the details of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, the executive director of New Jersey Citizen, says confidentiality agreements keep abusive behaviors secret.

“This bill will right this wrong and ensure that no employer can take retaliatory action against a worker who refuses to sign a confidentiality agreement or speaks out about discriminatory practices.”

Attorney Nancy Erika Smith represents employees in workplace sexual harassment lawsuits.

New Jersey lawmakers have given unanimous approval to legislation that sets the rules for sports betting in the state. But indications are Governor Phil Murphy might not sign it this week.

The Governor’s spokesman says Murphy wants to ensure the proposed regulatory scheme is fair and reasonable.

Senate President Steve Sweeney hopes the governor moves quickly to sign the sports betting bill into law.

Incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey won his primary election contest Tuesday but his little-known opponent Lisa McCormick  got a surprising 39 percent of the vote from Democrats.

Political analysts say despite his poor performance, Menendez is likely to win reelection in November. 

Seton Hall public affairs professor Matthew Hale believes much of the vote for Menendez’ challenger was a protest because of his recent corruption trial that resulted in a hung jury and the charges were dropped.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill that would expunge the criminal records for previous low-level marijuana offenses if the state legalizes or decriminalizes recreational marijuana use.

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano says a marijuana charge has a detrimental effect on an individual’s opportunity to access higher education, gainful employment, and housing support.

A bill passed by legislative committees in both houses of the New Jersey legislature would ban smoking at public beaches and parks.

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo says many towns in New Jersey have already enacted such a ban.

“To make it a uniform code or state law I think it’s time has come.  I certainly think that we know the ill effects of smoking, particularly second-hand smoke. The litter part is another problem.”

Mark Anton with the New Jersey Vapor Rights Coalition opposes including vaping products in the ban.

A bill to set the regulations for sports betting in New Jersey is advancing in the legislature and could be ready for the governor’s signature as early as Thursday. 

Bryan Seeley, the head of investigations for Major League Baseball, urged lawmakers to add provisions to the legislation that would enable sports leagues to get information from casinos to help detect possible corruption.

“Part of my job is to protect the fans of baseball in this state and I need tools to do that.”

But he got a chilly response from Assembly Gaming Committee chairman Ralph Caputo.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering whether the voting machines now used in the state should be replaced by a paper ballot system using electronic scanners.

Princeton University computer science professor Andrew Appel says the voting machines are vulnerable to hacking.

“So we should run our elections in a way that can detect and correct for computer hacking without having to put all our trust in computers. Therefore, we cannot use paperless touchscreen voting computers. They’re a fatally flawed technology.”

The election for a U-S Senate seat from New Jersey could be a close contest.

A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of registered voters shows incumbent Democrat Bob Menendez with only a four-point lead over Republican candidate Bob Hugin.

Poll director Krista Jenkins says the Senate Ethics Committee’s admonishment of Menendez for taking gifts from a wealthy doctor is weighing on his re-election efforts even though he was not convicted when put on trial for corruption.

The official overseeing the $283 million renovation of the executive branch portion of the New Jersey Statehouse says everything is on schedule and under budget.

Raymond Arcario, the executive director of the New Jersey Building Authority, says about 15 to 20 percent of the work on the project has been done.

Legislation that won unanimous approval in the New Jersey Assembly would extend anti-nepotism rules to the state’s public and charter schools.

Assemblyman Paul Moriarty says taxpayers deserve every assurance that the people charged with educating their children attained their positions because of what they know, not who they know.

Some public employees in New Jersey have been getting big payouts for unused sick time when they retire.

State workers have had a $15,000 cap on those payouts for decades. A limit that also applies to county and local employees hired since 2010.

A bill advancing the legislature would put impose some new restrictions.

Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt says there would be no cash payout for leave time accrued after the enactment of her bill, but up to $7500 of the amount that was built up could be used for health care expenses for up to five years.

Ratepayer subsidies totaling up to $300 million a year will help keep three nuclear plants open in South Jersey now that Governor Phil Murphy has signed the controversial legislation.

Murphy says the legislation will protect the viability of the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear plants.

“To reach our clean energy goals we will need to keep these plants open and safely operational. They not only produce 40 percent of our power but as of today 90 percent of our clean energy.”

New Jersey lawmakers have ended their public hearings on Governor Murphy’s proposed budget and are now hoping an agreement is reached to get the budget enacted by the June 30th deadline.

Senate Budget Committee chairman Paul Sarlo does not believe there will be a stalemate in budget talks that lead to a state government shutdown.

“Well I don’t think we’re that far off. I mean we’re making progress. Discussions are continuing and ongoing. I am confident that we’re not going to get to a situation that we had last year.”

A bill advancing in the New Jersey Senate would require that state parks, recreation areas and historic sites remain open to the public for 7 days if a stalemate over enacting a state budget results in a government shutdown.

Drew Tompkins with the Keep It Green Coalition says those public places should not be held hostage to budget negotiations.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation that would prohibit public schools and universities from selling food and beverages in Styrofoam containers.

Henry Gajda with the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters told lawmakers it takes about 500 years for a Styrofoam cup to biodegrade.

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