Politics

New Jersey reported another 2,232 cases of coronavirus Monday. The state saw 14,566 new infections in the past four days alone, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

Another 14 people died from coronavirus. All told there have been 14,779 lab-confirmed fatalities and another 1,801 probable deaths connected to COVID-19. 

Tighter restrictions on gatherings

Murphy announced via Twitter Monday that he is “retightening” restrictions on gatherings to slow what state officials have called the second wave of COVID-19.

When New Jersey voters opted to legalize recreational marijuana by a 2-to-1 margin last week, all that was left to do was set up the new marketplace.

But social justice advocates say they were dismayed by lawmakers’ first attempt at enabling legislation, which was pulled this week amid criticism.

“The bill that was introduced was an egregious, audacious, insidious white man money grab,” said Charles Boyer, director of the group Salvation and Social Justice and pastor of Bethel AME Church in Woodbury.

New Jersey reported another 3,517 cases of coronavirus Thursday, for a cumulative total of 266,986 infections since the start of the pandemic.

Another 18 residents died from COVID-19. There have now been 14,694 lab-confirmed fatalities and another 1,801 probable deaths from the disease.

The state reported 1,827 hospitalizations as well as 360 people in intensive-care units, numbers not seen since early June.

There was a 12% positivity rate for coronavirus tests taken Sunday, and the state’s rate of transmission stood at 1.3.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew will hold onto his seat in New Jersey’s southernmost congressional district after beating Democrat Amy Kennedy.

The Associated Press called the race for the now-Republican Van Drew on Friday, after the race remained too close to call for days despite ongoing ballot-counting.

New Jersey recorded another 2,104 cases of coronavirus Thursday, bringing its cumulative total to 247,219 infections since the pandemic began.

Another 12 people died from COVID-19. There have now been 14,603 lab-confirmed deaths and another 1,800 probable fatalities in New Jersey.

The testing positivity rate was 7.74% for coronavirus tests administered on Nov. 1.

New restrictions ‘close’ as infections rise

New Jersey recorded its highest single-day increase in new coronavirus infections since May on Wednesday.

In a tweet, Gov. Phil Murphy announced another 2,472 positive cases of COVID-19.

“We are still in the midst of the pandemic and need everyone to take this seriously. Wear a mask. Social distance. Wash your hands,” he said.

The spike came days after Murphy and other officials said New Jersey was in the midst of a second wave of infections, as the weather gets colder and more people have been gathering indoors.

After years of efforts and several different iterations, New Jersey will implement one of the strongest plastic and paper bag bans in the country.

Environmental advocates say the omnibus ban will reduce the amount of litter, especially in waterways, and help combat climate change.

On Wednesday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the law, which will outlaw single-use plastic bags, paper bags in large grocery stores, and polystyrene food containers.

Office of Senator Cory Booker

Former Newark Mayor Cory Booker declared victory  Tuesday night in one of the first races called out of New Jersey. 

Booker easily defeated Rik Mehta, a business executive with a law degree and a doctorate in pharmacy, who staunchly supported President Donald Trump. 

 

 Booker, who won a special election in 2013 after the death of Democrat Frank Lautenberg before winning his first full term in 2014, delivered brief remarks from his home in Newark during a virtual celebration held by the New Jersey State Democratic Committee.  

New Jerseyans casting their ballots in the general election will also get to weigh in on whether the state should legalize recreational marijuana.

If passed, the Garden State would join eleven other states and Washington, D.C. in having legal recreational cannabis.

Proponents tout the social justice benefits of legalization in a state where Black residents are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested for possessing the drug than their white counterparts, according to the ACLU-NJ.

The race for New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District began in earnest about a year ago.

A few months before the coronavirus pandemic roiled the United States, House Democrats were preparing to impeach President Trump.

But first-term U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew was one of just two Democrats nationwide to break ranks and vote no.

“I think this splits the country apart further, and I think we want to try to heal the country, bring it together,” Van Drew said at the time.

New Jersey reported another 1,477 of coronavirus Thursday, bringing the state’s cumulative total since the pandemic began to 234,547 recorded infections.

Another eight people died from complications of COVID-19. There have now been 14,539 lab-confirmed deaths as well as 1,793 probable fatalities.

Of all the coronavirus tests administered on Oct. 25, 6.54% were positive.

The rate of transmission was 1.25, meaning for every 100 people who test positive, the virus was spreading to another 125.

New Jersey reported 1,192 new cases of coronavirus Monday, pushing the state’s cumulative total since the start of the pandemic to 221,205 cases.

Another four residents died from COVID-19. There have now been 14,425 lab-confirmed fatalities and another 1,789 probable deaths attributed to the virus.

“While these numbers are a far cry from where we were at our springtime peaks, they are also significantly higher than where we were throughout much of the summer and until just a few weeks ago,” said Gov. Phil Murphy.

New Jersey switched to a primarily vote-by-mail general election this year because of the coronavirus — which means every registered voter in the state should receive a mail-in ballot without having to ask for one.

Some voters have wondered: What if my mail-in ballot doesn’t arrive on time? What if I prefer to vote in person? Here are your options:

Although it is called a mail-in ballot, there are several ways to submit your vote without sending it through the U.S Postal Service.

Cat Henry

More than a dozen leading jazz artists have joined forces for a concert benefiting the presidential campaign of Joe Biden.

Jazz For America, streaming on Oct. 15, will feature guitarist John Scofield; singer Jazzmeia Horn; saxophonists Joe Lovano, Ravi Coltrane, Melissa Aldana and Miguel Zenón; and bassists John Patitucci and Christian McBride, among others. Its virtual cohosts will be Dee Dee Bridgewater, the vocalist and NEA Jazz Master, and Douglas Emhoff, a lawyer also known as the husband of Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris.  

A South Jersey Republican representative floated a widely debunked conspiracy theory during the first debate in the 2nd Congressional District Thursday night.

Although public health officials and medical researchers have said the novel coronavirus could not have been manufactured in a lab, U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew said he believed it was.

“We don’t know if it really came from a wet meat market or actually came from a laboratory. I believe it probably came from a laboratory,” he said during the debate on NJTV.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and the Republican nominee for this year’s U.S. Senate race in New Jersey are clashing over President Donald Trump’s fundraiser at his golf course in Bedminster last week, turning what was initially a public health matter into a full-blown political spat.

Rik Mehta, a pharmacist and attorney who worked at the Food and Drug Administration, is challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker this year. He said Murphy was fear-mongering by raising the alarm about Trump’s fundraiser and urging anyone at the event to self-quarantine.

New Jersey officials reported another 522 cases of coronavirus on Monday, which means the state has now seen 208,713 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.

Another two people died from complications of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total number of fatalities to 14,351 confirmed deaths and 1,787 probable deaths.

The coronavirus test positivity rate was 2.62% as of last Thursday, and the rate of transmission was 1.27, meaning that for every 100 people who got the disease they passed it to another 127.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., is trailing his Democratic challenger, Amy Kennedy, in his first race since leaving the Democratic Party and becoming a Republican, according to a new poll.

A survey by the Monmouth University Polling Institute found that Kennedy had the backing of 49% of registered voters in the South Jersey district while Van Drew was supported by just 44%, with 5% undecided.

Kennedy’s lead held in both high and low voter turnout scenarios and was within the poll’s margin of error.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a state budget that he and top Democratic lawmakers say will help the state recover from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for a possible second wave of the virus.

The $32.7 billion, nine-month spending plan also includes Murphy’s long-sought tax hike on millionaires, which he said will allow the state to help low-income and middle-class families.

It was a busy day in the New Jersey State House.

Lawmakers in both houses of the Legislature approved dozens of bills, which now head to Gov. Phil Murphy for his signature. Here are three major ones:

Plastic bag ban

Lawmakers in the Democrat-controlled state Senate and Assembly gave their final approval to legislation long in the making that will ban single-use plastic bags and polystyrene containers and limit single-use plastic straws.

New Jersey millionaires are in for a tax hike.

Gov. Phil Murphy and top lawmakers in the Democrat-controlled state legislature on Thursday announced a deal to raise the income tax rate on people making more than $1 million and give $500 rebates to middle-class families.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday proposed a new $32 billion budget that revised the state’s financial plan in light of the economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The “new future” Murphy laid out included a mix of spending cuts, new taxes, and a record-high borrowing request to the legislature. He said it was a recognition of the need for belt-tightening as well as an investment in the state’s recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak, which has sickened nearly 190,000 New Jerseyans.

A New Jersey legislative committee unanimously voted Monday in favor of Fabiana Pierre-Louis’ nomination to the state Supreme Court.

Pierre-Louis, 39, would be the first Black woman to sit on the high court if approved by the full Senate, which is expected to take up her nomination Thursday.

“My experiences will certainly assist me in looking carefully and doing my due diligence with every case that comes before the court,” she said during Monday’s hearing.

New Jersey reported another 585 cases of coronavirus on Friday, bringing the state to a cumulative total of 187,164 infections.

Another 10 residents died from complications of COVID-19, meaning the state has seen some 14,064 confirmed fatalities and another 1,839 probable deaths.

The statewide rate of transmission was 0.92.

General election to follow ‘hybrid’ model used in primary

A New Jersey law that would let the state borrow $9.9 billion to stave off the fiscal emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic is constitutional, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The opinion will allow Gov. Phil Murphy to borrow billions of dollars to spend on recovering from the COVID-19 outbreak, which caused state tax revenues to nosedive and produced record-high unemployment in the state.

The New Jersey Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a case about whether Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration should be allowed to borrow as much as $9.9 billion in response to revenue shortfalls caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit pits the Democratic governor and top Democratic state lawmakers against the state’s Republican party and several Republican legislators, who sued to block a plan they say would permit the administration to borrow for expenses unrelated to the pandemic and saddle future generations with a mountain of debt.

New Jersey voters will have the final say on whether the state should postpone redrawing state legislative district boundaries next year if there is a delay in receiving data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Lawmakers in both the state Senate and Assembly approved a proposed constitutional amendment Thursday that would require the state to keep the current electoral maps for the 2021 election if the state does not receive census data by February 15.

Dupré Do It All Kelly of the legendary hip-hop group The Lords Of The Undergroud has released new music nearly two years in the making, and in the midsts of a global pandemic. The Newark native, activist, and former candidate for city council, recently sat down with WBGO's Alexandra Hill to talk about his latest solo project, the message behind the new single Keep The Faith featuring Mayor Ras Baraka, Hip-Hop and Politics, conversations with 2Pac and much more. 

When the federal government conducts the census once a decade, states use the data to redraw their electoral maps, a process known as redistricting.

That will happen across the country next year, but delays in the door-to-door national survey because of the coronavirus pandemic could mean that the federal government releases the data later than it typically does, say June of next year instead of February.

For New Jersey, which holds its state legislative elections in off years, that delay could throw a wrench in the 2021 election cycle.

New Jersey’s primary election on July 7 could be the most overwhelmingly vote-by-mail contest in the state’s history.

The COVID-19 outbreak has forced lawmakers and state officials to prepare state and county election organizations for a surge in remote voting faster than they might have in the absence of a pandemic.

It likely means more of the state’s six million registered voters will cast their ballots from home, but they’ll have to wait longer for the results.

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