News

The Supreme Court ruling that allows all states to have legalized sports betting could help Atlantic City casinos generate additional revenue.

Public finance attorney David Fernandez says sports wagering gives Atlantic City a new opportunity to draw tourists, but it might benefit casino companies more than the city because sports gambling could be made available online. 

“It may not be the boom that they think it’s going to be if the online gambling takes off and becomes an alternative that folks might want to do instead.”

New Jersey legislative leaders and Governor Phil Murphy have until the end of June to reach agreement on a new state budget. A stalemate could risk a potential government shutdown.

Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Tom Coughlin are resisting the governor’s proposed tax increases and free community college.

Democrat Assemblywoman Patricia Egan Jones does not expect there will be a government shutdown.

The employment outlook for graduating college students may be the best in years. 

Carl Van Horn, the director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, says job prospects for new grads have improved because a low unemployment rate means fewer people are applying for available openings.

Legalized sports betting is coming to New Jersey.

The U-S Supreme Court has ruled in New Jersey's favor, striking down a 1992 federal law restricting sports wagering to Nevada and three other states.

Former state Senator Ray Lesniak has been fighting for years to legalize sports betting in New Jersey and he's thrilled with the court’s decision.

Bob Hennelly

Over forty years ago the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Mount Laurel decision was hailed nationally. It proclaimed it was unconstitutional for local zoning to exclude housing for its poor and working class.

This week Delaware became the first state in the nation to ban marriage for anyone under the age of 18. 

New Jersey lawmakers are making another attempt to pass a similar ban.

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora is one of the sponsors of the legislation. He says since 1995 more than 3500 people under the age of 18 did get married in New Jersey.

“There’s probably success stories but I’m sure that there are many that would regret that decision in years to come. We want them to concentrate on school, concentrate on work, and concentrate on their future.”

 

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy promised during his campaign that he would not raid the Affordable Housing Trust Fund like his predecessor did. But his budget plan DOES divert some of the money.

 

Staci Berger, the president and CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, is disappointed Murphy’s budget would take $59 million from the Trust Fund for housing-related programs.

 

Desperate Measures
Michael Bourne for WBGO

The Tony Awards celebrate what happens ON Broadway, but WBGO theater critic Michael Bourne is often even busier OFF Broadway.

Click above to hear Michael's reviews of some Outer Critic Circle Award-winning shows off Broadway.

Broken Glory
Jon Kalish for WBGO

In early June we'll be marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy during the 1968 presidential campaign.  There's a fraternity of independent researchers and journalists who believe that the New York senator was killed by someone other than Sirhan Sirhan.

There's a new book coming out about the assassination titled Broken Glory.

Click above to hear WBGO's Jon Kalish's report.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The Carteret Ferry Terminal is part of a redevelopment project on the borough’s waterfront along the Arthur Kill Channel.  Mayor Dan Reiman says the terminals construction won’t be complete until 2022, but the ferry can start operating as soon as they acquire a boat with help from NJ Transit.

“We have an existing 1,200-foot pier.  In fact, last year, two years ago when we did the test runs we operated off of this existing pier.  The infrastructure in town is in place.”

A bill advanced by the Senate Labor Committee would expand New Jersey’s paid family leave program.

Dena Mottola Jaborska with New Jersey Citizen Action is pleased the legislation would increase the wage replacement rate when workers take family leave.

“Workers who are working at the lower income level will be able to get 90 percent of their salary. And workers who are at the higher earning level will be able to earn the average weekly wage in this state which is about $1200, and that is really what is considered minimally livable in our state.”

18 towns in New Jersey already prohibit smoking on their beaches. A bill advancing in the legislature would ban smoking on all public beaches in the state.

Senate Environment Committee chairman Bob Smith says a statewide ban would prevent beachgoers from being exposed to second-hand smoke and end the litter problem from the tens of thousands of cigarette butts that are left on the beaches every year.

Alexandra Hill / News

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer and choreographer Jamar Roberts  talks about his love for choreography, working with Ailey dancers, and the inspiration for his new piece, Members Don't Get Weary, premiering at the company's 20th annual Mother's Day Engagement at  NJPAC. 

The Nerd
George Street Playhouse

The two-act comedy The Nerd, written by American actor and playwright Larry Shue, runs through May 20th at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick.

The Nerd was the top grossing American play in London's West End in 1986.

Two of the stars of the show, Jonathan Kite and Kate Reinders, sat down with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle to talk about hilarious play and their respective careers.

Robert Battle
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is on a coast-to-coast North American Tour that will culminate May 11-13 at NJPAC with three special programs.

Artistic Director Robert Battle came into the WBGO studios to talk about the three-day program.

Performances include the opening Ailey Jazz program presenting the NJPAC debut of Ailey star Jamar Roberts’ Members Don’t Get Weary - his first world premiere for the Company, which he joined in 2002.

A Monmouth University poll finds that most Americans are not feeling like they’re reaping the benefits from recent growth in the nation’s economy.

44 percent of those surveyed by Monmouth University say their family has been helped by the economic upturn, while the majority say they’re not benefiting from it.

Poll director Patrick Murray says the middle class aren’t doing as well as the public expected when President Trump took office last year.

Alexandra Hill / WBGO

Incumbent Ras Baraka wins a second term as the Mayor of NJ’s largest city in a near landslide victory beating out Central ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins. Baraka credited the progress his administration has made over the past 4 years, particularly when it comes to economic development.

The first of the quarterly reports on gun crime statistics that Governor Murphy ordered to be made available to the public has been released.

Murphy says 77 percent of the guns used in crimes in New Jersey in the first quarter of this year came from out of state.

“The most, 83, did not travel far. They crossed the Delaware River from Pennsylvania. Governor Tom Wolf is pushing his legislature and taking them to task for their failure to pass common sense gun safety laws and I applaud his efforts.”

The top Republican in the New Jersey Assembly is calling Governor Phil Murphy’s agenda extreme and scary and believes there will be a budget showdown.

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick says Murphy’s budget plan that ramps up spending by 8 percent and calls for $1.6 billion in tax increases is dangerous to the vitality of the state.

“He is totally disconnected not only with us as Republicans, I believe he’s totally disconnected with Democrats as well and surely disconnected with the taxpayers.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is appointing Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield vice president Bill Castner as his senior advisor on firearms.

Murphy says Castner will make sure the administration is properly tracking progress in stopping the scourge of gun violence and help identify new innovative partnerships.

“We hope that in having a single point of confluence for all of our gun safety efforts we will be a model for our nation on smart policy and smarter programs.”

Alexandra Hill / News

Judge Greg Mathis, retired Michigan district court judge and host of the nationally syndicated courtroom show Judge Mathis, recently stopped by WBGO to talk about his long history in politics, his criminal past, and what its like to be the longest presiding African-American judge on television.

A package of bills advancing in the New Jersey legislature would hold companies more accountable when consumers’ personal information gets compromised.

Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Paul Moriarty says one of the bills would allow a parent or guardian to put a freeze on a child’s credit report...preventing new credit cards being opened in their names.

Alexandra Hill / WBGO

The Student’s 2 Science Technology Center is outfitted with commercial grade STEM research instrumentation.  S2S President Paul Winslow hopes they’ll serve every age appropriate student in Newark schools.

“We will service every student in the district through the Virtual Laboratory Program from the 5th grade though the 12th grade,” said Winslow.  “With as many as eight to ten sessions per year.  Every two to three weeks, kids will be doing a hands-on experiment under out direction through the Virtual Laboratory Program.”

So far this year there have been 336 wildfires in New Jersey, and the spring fire season isn’t over yet.

State Fire Warden Gregory McLaughlin says the risk of woodlands fires is high now because the hot weather and low humidity causes combustible material on the forest floor to dry out quickly.

“People say it rained yesterday, how can it be a fire day? It’s because the soil in the Pinelands particularly is sandy and doesn’t hold much moisture and because the deciduous trees have not leafed out fully and they’re not providing shade yet.”

Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation to help New Jersey taxpayers get around federal tax code changes that limit deductions for state and local taxes.

The new law allows towns to create charitable funds that pay for local services and lets residents get credits for up to 90 percent of their donations to reduce their property tax bill.

Murphy says New Jersey joins 33 other states that have allowed credits in exchange for charitable contributions without interference from the Internal Revenue Service.

WBGO Theater Critic Michael Bourne looks back on his favorite musicals of the 2017-2018 Broadway Season and reveals some of his picks for the Outer Critics Circle Awards.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has until the end of the month to decide whether to sign a controversial bill to subsidize nuclear power plants.  A coalition of environmental, community, and business groups is urging him to conditionally veto it.

Environment New Jersey director Doug O’Malley says the bill on the governor’s desk is wrong headed.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed an executive order to find a way to stop employers from mis-classifying workers in an effort to subvert the law and cut costs. 

John Ballantyne is executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters. He says the misclassification of employees occurs when companies call their workers independent contractors.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is planning to further expand the NYC Ferry service.  He says it has far exceeded annual ridership expectations.

“We thought the most we could possibly see with the existing lines was about 4.5 million riders a year.  Now we have a new projection.  In just a few years, that number will double to 9 million a year.”

De Blasio wants to invest $300 million in capital funding into NYC Ferry over the next five years.

A new law signed by Governor Phil Murphy requires all employers in New Jersey to provide paid sick days to their workers.

Murphy says New Jersey joins nine other states in providing the guarantee of paid sick leave.

“This is not just about doing what’s right for workers and their families. This is about doing the right the thing for our economy. Anywhere that this has been done has increased productivity and made the economy stronger.”

The law will take effect in October and will benefit more than a million New Jersey workers who don’t have paid sick time.

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