Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing:



QUOTE OF THE DAY: “If you want something built right the first time, get union hands to do it.” – Governor Murphy at the Building Trades convention


TOP STORY: Murphy Warmly Received by Building Trades, as Pallone Doubles Down on Biden Bills



The statewide cumulative COVID-19 count stands at 1,021,272 cases and 24,850 confirmed fatalities (and 154,643 probable cases and 2,803 probable fatalities) as of Wednesday (an increase of 1,366 confirmed cases, 472 probable cases, and 29 lab-confirmed fatalities from the previous day). The viral transmission rate is .94. There have been 12,424,253 COVID-19 vaccinations administered (with 5,945,973 people fully vaccinated).


The day after the final gubernatorial debate, which featured a rowdy audience drowning out the candidates at times, Governor Murphy said he ‘wasn’t flustered at all‘ and that there was ‘a lot of emotion in that hall’.


The Murphy Administration announced $700M in investments to help parents pay for child care. Senators Sweeney, Ruiz, Vitale, Addiego, and Gopal applauded the announcement.


Governor Murphy discusses COVID-19, tax policies, and leadership with Steve Adubato (video).


The DCA notified households with overdue utility bills that utility relief is available.


A Edna Mahan corrections officer was arrested on charges that he sexually assault an inmate.


Burlington County designated today as ‘Carli Lloyd Day’.


The future of the Middlesex County zoo is uncertain, according to MyCentralJersey.


NJ TRANSIT has set a sharp sight on what is ahead; to make public transportation safer, more reliable and more customer-focused than ever (Sponsored Content from NJ TRANSIT)


ICYMI: Guv race spending nearly $28M; Kean warns ‘democracy is in trouble‘ without local news; Stockton poll shows Murphy w/ 9-point lead; Murphy, Ciattarelli clashed in fiery debate (watch here); Murphy rolled out ‘Return and Earn’ program; Payne says bills are unique chance to bridge divide; Pascrell confident of passage of bills; Gottheimer central figure in ongoing debate


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing



Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing

Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


In Jersey City, Gina Verdibello endorsed the Education Matters BOE team. The Ward F council race is heating up, according to the Jersey Journal.


In Buena Vista, a park will be named in honor of the late Mayor Chiarella, according to the Press of Atlantic City.


In Clifton, nine are vying for three BOE seats, according to


In Garfield, a Columbus statue was vandalized again, according to the Bergen Record.


In Hasbrouck Heights, Rinke was appointed OEM coordinator, according to TAPinto.


In Jamesburg, voters will decide on allowing marijuana businesses, according to MyCentralJersey.


In Madison, schools are holding off on data collection amid privacy concerns, according to NJ Hills.


In Maplewood, police are investigating an incident in which a teacher pulled a hajib off a student’s head, according to


In Margate, contracts with the PBA and FMBA were approved, according to Downbeach.


In Middletown, the town broke ground on affordable housing for veterans, according to the Asbury Park Press. Democrats are looking into their candidate’s past in Arizona, according to the Asbury Park Press.


In Morristown, the council says a cannabis ordinance is coming soon, according to Morristown Green.


In Paterson, the city delayed a hearing on giving Westside Park back to Passaic County, according to Paterson Press.


In Phillipsburg, council candidates debated, according to Lehigh Valley Live.


In Pleasantville, the BOE President was replaced, according to the Press of Atlantic City.


In Princeton, state approval of a proposed bond referendum is expected next week, according to Planet Princeton.


In West Caldwell, residents sounded off on flooding issues at a council meeting, according to TAPinto.


In Westfield, the police chief says more crossing guard posts may need to be cut, according to TAPinto.


ICYMI: In Atlantic City, Small predicts a loss for Guardian; in Morris Township, GOP looking to retake control; 32BJ announced endorsements; in Parsippany, Musella held a fundraiser; in Buena Vista, Ellen Testa running for council; in Paterson, Mimms considering mayoral candidacy, Mendez running for mayor, Davila says she’ll remain neutral; in Newark, Amador won’t seek re-election, confirming recent speculation; in Bayonne, Davis and Dems preparing to get into trenches for election; in Jersey City, LSP advocates rallied against privatization efforts; in Newark, city unveiled a statue of history-making former Mayor Kenneth Gibson; in Newark, no clear alternative to Baraka


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing




NJ leaders recall times they faced racial profiling by law enforcement

Ashley Balcerzak, Stacey Barchenger, Anne-Marie Caruso, Danielle Parhizkaran and Tariq Zehawi,


  • A Black Essex County dentist driving a luxury car said he was stopped more than 100 times by police in the 1990’s. He never received a ticket. A Black state assemblywoman, approached by a trooper at a Garden State Parkway rest stop, felt targeted and uncomfortable when the trooper accused her of littering, though there was no trash around her car. That woman went on to become New Jersey’s first Black lieutenant governor.


Paterson school lockdown: ‘Just another day in the ‘hood,’ student says

Ed Rumley and Joe Malinconico, Paterson Press


  • Authorities imposed a lockdown at John F. Kennedy High School on Wednesday afternoon after getting reports that a student involved in a fight earlier in the day would be returning with a gun, officials said. Paterson Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale said the student in question never made it back to the school and that the crisis ended without gunfire or injury. As of 3:30 p.m., police said no arrests had been made, nor any weapon found.


Van Drew once called Biden the ‘duly elected’ president. Not any more.

Jonathan D. Salant, NJ Advance Media for


  • Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who in January declared Joe Biden was the “duly-elected 46th president of the United States” now won’t acknowledge that the president legitimately won last November’s election. Asked that very question by CNN, Van Drew said in an article published Wednesday: “I am not going to make that determination. But what I do think is that we need to make sure that our election system works right.”


State board expands access to abortion in N.J. through regulation changes

Dana DiFilippo, NJ Monitor


  • The New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners unanimously agreed Wednesday to repeal several restrictions on abortion, effectively expanding access by allowing medical providers other than physicians to terminate pregnancies.


Dunellen Fire Department suffers ‘significant loss’ in firehouse blaze

Suzanne Russell,


  • Fire companies from neighboring towns will cover the borough for the next several weeks after the Dunellen Fire Department suffered what the mayor called “significant loss” in a blaze at its headquarters on Tuesday.


NJ governor’s race 2021: Murphy, Ciattarelli sharpen differences in final debate

John Reitmeyer, NJ Spotlight


  • The sharp contrasts between New Jersey’s two leading gubernatorial candidates on top concerns like taxes, school funding and COVID-19 came into clear view Tuesday night during the contest’s second and final debate. Gov. Phil Murphy, a first-term incumbent Democrat, has led the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic since the first cases appeared in New Jersey early last year, upsetting the state economy and leading to the deaths of thousands of residents.


Activists demand lawmakers act to curb police brutality on ‘Long March for Justice’

Dana DiFilippo, NJ Monitor


  • Cecille Hepburn marched for her grandson, Kashad Ashford, who police gunned down in 2014 after a car chase. Steven Young marched for change, a year after he quit Atlantic City’s civilian review board, which is tasked with police oversight, in protest over its powerlessness.


Phil Murphy and Jack Ciattarelli in their last debate — here’s what I saw | Charlie Stile

Charles Stile,


  • The candidates in New Jersey’s race for governor met Tuesday night for their final debate at Rowan University in Glassboro. Here are some of my observations about the sparring match we saw between Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger, former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli.


Police gunfire killed their dreams. The Jersey Four built new ones, 23 years later

Jessie Gomez,


  • They met before the wounds, before the gunshots and before their dreams of becoming professional basketball players died on the New Jersey Turnpike more than 20 years ago. In 1998, Rayshawn Brown, Jarmaine Grant, Keshon Moore and Danny Reyes were in their early 20s, at their physical peak and full of ambition. They dreamt of going to a four-year college and playing professional basketball. A trip to North Carolina Central would be the first step in achieving their dreams.


Voting in 2021 will be very different from years past. Here are 6 big changes

Katie Sobko,


  • From digital voter books to polls open days in advance, voters in New Jersey will have a much different experience this fall. On the ballot this year, the state’s 6.5 million registered voters will find the gubernatorial race and all 120 seats in the state Legislature, and two statewide referendums on gambling, in addition to the various local races.


The dozen best lines of the (more cordial) debate

Tom Bergeron,


  • We don’t dip our toes into political reporting all that often. Usually, it only pertains to business issues — and how elected officials intend to address them. But, since Gov. Phil Murphy and Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli rarely brought up business issues — for the second straight debate — we’ve decided to highlight the best lines of the hourlong event from Rowan University.

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