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

A New Jersey lawmaker wants the state Attorney General to empanel a grand jury to investigate sexual misconduct in New Jersey's catholic dioceses.

Senator Joe Vitale is making that request after a Pennsylvania grand jury reported that 300 priests sexually abused more than a thousand children over more than 60 years.

“Some of the priests that were mentioned in the Pennsylvania grand jury report were transferred to New Jersey where they continue to be part of the institution and have access to children.”

The price of gasoline hasn’t changed much this summer, but an analyst predicts it’ll soon start costing less.

The average nationwide price of a gallon of regular gas is now $2.83.

Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey, expects a switch to less-expensive winter blends will help push prices down in September and October.

Two New Jersey lawmakers have introduced a measure to provide $20 million from the state’s general fund to increase the purse money at horse racing tracks in the state.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli says the horse farm business in Jersey has suffered since casino subsidies for the race tracks ended in 2010.

He says sports betting might not be enough to make New Jersey tracks competitive with those in Pennsylvania and New York that have casinos.

We’re having a heat wave, and this could end up being the warmest August on record in New Jersey.

State climatologist Dave Robinson says a persistent pattern of warm air from the south is making this an unusually hot month.

“It’s been about 4 degrees above normal in August. That may not sound like a lot. But when you average that day in and day out you can really the notice the difference. And as matter of fact August is going to end up being in absolute sense a little bit warmer than July. July normally being the warmest month of the year.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has vetoed legislation that would have made oil companies and their staff not liable for damages resulting from spills during the delivery of home heating oil.

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel says it was a bad bill that would have put the environment and homeowners at risk.

Governor Phil Murphy has conditionally vetoed a bill requiring all New Jersey public school buildings to be equipped with a panic alarm linked with law enforcement agencies.

Murphy says the measure proposed funding the panic alarm systems through bonds issued by the Schools Development Authority that has nearly exhausted its borrowing capacity.  He wants a revision so the funds come from a new bond act that will be on the November ballot. He also wants the SDA to oversee the purchase and installation of the alarms.

After Governor Phil Murphy conditionally vetoed a bill seeking a one billion dollar bond act to fund school improvements, New Jersey's legislature voted unanimously to go along with Murphy's advice to cut the proposed borrowing in half.

In his veto message, Murphy endorsed the goals of the legislation. But he raised concerns about the debt load from borrowing a billion dollars to improve school security, expand vocational-technical schools and community colleges, and help schools pay to replace water pipes.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says he's disappointed.

Governor Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders in New Jersey say they’ll take whatever steps they can to challenge a proposed IRS rules change that could block the state’s workaround of the federal $10,000 cap on state and local tax deduction. 

A state law enacted in response to federal tax code changes would allow resident to get a tax deduction for contributions to new charitable funds municipalities create to help pay for local services.

With Governor Murphy’s expected veto of a measure that would have imposed a 5-cent fee on single use plastic and paper bags, New Jersey lawmakers will consider another bill that would ban plastic bags, straws, and Styrofoam containers.

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel says a plastic bag ban in California has had a significant impact.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is expected to veto legislation next week that would impose a 5-cent fee on single-use plastic and paper bags.

Senate Environment Committee chairman Bob Smith got applause from environmental group leaders when he announced the upcoming veto at a legislative hearing in Toms River to examine how to reduce plastic waste.

Doug O’Malley, the director of Environment New Jersey, says the bag fee bill would have prevented towns that haven’t already banned plastic bags from enacting a local prohibition.

For the second time this summer syringes and medical waste have washed up on some New Jersey beaches.

Cindy Zipf, the executive director of Clean Ocean Action, says syringes that are tossed away many miles from the beach are washed into the ocean by heavy rains that storm drains and sewer systems can’t handle.

The latest poll numbers show New Jersey’s U-S Senate race is becoming more competitive.

Quinnipiac University polling analyst Mary Snow says Democrat incumbent Bob Menendez now has a slim 6 point lead over Republican challenger Bob Hugin. That’s down from the 17 point lead he had in March.

“Make no mistake Senator Menendez is still in the lead. And we should mention that 16 percent of voters who responded to the survey say they haven’t made up their minds.

So, there’s a long way to go.”

New Jersey Transit officials told lawmakers at a legislative hearing in Trenton that they’re taking steps to deal with train cancellations and delays that have angered commuters.

Executive director Kevin Corbett says NJ Transit has moved some of its personnel into a war-room atmosphere to improve communications with riders about train service disruptions.

New Jersey lawmakers are expected to grill NJ Transit officials at a hearing at the Statehouse tomorrow after riders have faced repeated train cancelations and delays in the past few weeks. 

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick says Republicans intend to ask transit officials why customers didn’t get advance notice about cancellations.

“Where was the information for the commuters? Why weren’t they getting that information? Was it disorganization within New Jersey Transit? Was it simply they didn’t have the answers?”

Legislation signed by Governor Phil Murphy creates the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation, and Technology.

Murphy says the 17-member-panel replaces a science and technology commission that was defunded in 2010.

“We’re getting back to our core mission of making New Jersey the home for cutting edge research and innovation that improves and saves lives, creates good jobs, and changes our world for the better.”

Michael Johnson, the CEO of biotechology company Visikol in Whitehouse Station, is excited about the new commission.

A bill signed into law by Governor Murphy expands the use of public-private partnerships to develop essential projects and grow the state’s economy.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says those partnerships helped colleges get private capital to build new facilities, and the bill he sponsored will give the state, county, and local governments more flexibility to advance critical infrastructure projects.

Flooding near Greenbriar senior community in Brick,NJ on Monday
Brick Police Department

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Bergen, Essex, Passaic, Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Murphy says the order allows the state to focus resources into communities most affected by recent flash flooding.

“The state is continuing to coordinate with county and local officials as well as volunteer organizations to meet the immediate needs of residents driven from their homes for shelter and emergency food and water.”

A new strike force is bringing federal resources to the New Jersey/Philadelphia region to combat health care fraud.

Assistant U-S Attorney General Brian Benczkowski says the strike force has two purposes.

“To tackle increased waste fraud and abuse within our federal health care programs which cause the cost of Medicare and Medicaid to skyrocket. And second and perhaps more importantly to address the epidemic of prescription drug overdoses and opioid involved deaths ravaging communities across our country including here in New Jersey.”

Flooding in Neptune, New Jersey
Neptune Office of Emergency Management

High amounts of rain in a short amount of time are posing problems for motorists in many parts of the region.

New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson says torrential downpours have led to localized flash flooding in all parts of the state over the last month.

“There are parts of Passaic and Morris County that have had 15 inches of rain in the last 28 days. Now to put that in perspective a four-week period anytime during the summer should average about four to four and a half inches of rain in New Jersey.”

A panel of economists and tax experts put together by the leader of the New Jersey Senate is recommending a variety of governmental changes to make the state more affordable.

The task force is suggesting new state and local public employees be shifted from the current defined benefit pension plan to a 401k-type plan and that all government workers get a less-expensive health care plan.

A new poll finds that New jersey residents are divided over the benefits of fluoridated water.

Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Dan Cassino says half of New Jersey's residents believe fluoride in drinking water is a good thing while 34 percent are not convinced.

Cassino says Just 15 percent of Garden State residents receive fluoridated water because most municipal water systems in New Jersey serve multiple communities and any of them can prevent fluoride from being added to the water.

In its annual review of state policies to prevent cancer and improve access to treatment, the American Cancer Society is giving New Jersey mixed reviews.

Marc Kaplan with the Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network gives the state good marks for enacting smoke-free laws and increased access to Medicaid.

“A lot of people that are suffering with cancer are in the disadvantaged area, so Medicaid is getting them the care that they deserve and that they need. While state appropriations for breast and cervical cancer screening, we are doing very well with that.”

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey is confident President Trump will sign the defense authorization act Congress approved that includes the creation of the first official military commendation to honor military working dogs and their handlers.

At the U.S War Dog Memorial in Holmdel, Menendez said he’s grateful the legislation he introduced two years ago will be signed to establish the Guardians of America Freedom Medal that recognizes the valor and achievement of military dogs.

A safety system that can automatically stop trains to prevent a collision could benefit New Jersey Transit commuters in the future, but it’s frustrating many of them in the meantime.

The transit agency cancelled 17 trains on six of its lines this morning. On its website, it said the service adjustments were needed to advance the installation of Positive Train Control.

Janna Chernetz, the Deputy Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, says New Jersey Transit needs to do a better job of informing customers about cancellations in a reasonable amount of time.

NJ Department of Agriculture

Pennsylvania has been battling an invasive insect for the past four years. The Spotted Lanternfly has spread to New Jersey and a quarantine is now in effect in Warren, Hunterdon, and Mercer counties.

Joe Zoltowski with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture says the Spotted Lanternfly is a threat to the state’s agriculture industry because it sucks the sap out of plants and secrets a sugary substance that causes a harmful mold to grow. 

A New Jersey bill to ban guns made from 3-D printers may become law before the end of the year.

Senator Richard Codey says the guns that can be created on a home printer bypass laws that require a background check.

“We want to not only ban the guns themselves, but even the plans. If you send the information to how to make these guns, that would be illegal. This is a different world we live in, and we got to react to it.”

New Jersey’s top law enforcement officer says a federal judge’s decision to temporarily block a Texas company from posting codes online that enable people to make guns with a 3-D printer is a big win for public safety.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says if the state finds other websites that offer those gun blueprints, he’ll take them down.

The Murphy administration is taking legal action to seek damages for pollution that affected properties and natural resources in New Jersey.

Six separate lawsuits have been filed to get compensation for the harm pollution caused to groundwater and wetlands and recover the state’s costs for environmental cleanups.

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe says all residents deserve to have the environment they live in protected so they can have healthy and productive lives.

A New Jersey lawmaker has introduced legislation that would require speed limits on major highways to be set at the speed at which 85 percent of drivers are traveling.

Senator Declan O’Scanlon says an artificially low speed limit increases the difference in speeds between the vast majority of drivers and those who adhere to the posted limit.

New Jersey’s 19 community colleges can apply to be part of a pilot program allowing students who earn less than $45,000 and take six or more credits to attend classes without paying tuition or fees.

Not every community college can offer free tuition because only $20 million for the program was included in the state budget.

Higher Education Secretary Zakiya Smith Ellis says several factors will be considered when selecting the colleges for the pilot program.