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Murphy’s Week 4 Grade

By David Wildstein

Today is Phil Murphy’s 27th day in office and the end of his fourth week.  He continues to work his base, like an executive order supporting net neutrality — which gave him a chance to take a shot at Donald Trump — and seeking an examination of racial and ethnic disparities in sentencing.  He congratulated the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles — clearly a tough move for a lifelong New England Patriots fan.  T Murphy spent the weekend in New Jersey — he’ s been out of state for half the weekends he’s been governor — and did two events on Sunday.

The new governor continues to face problems with the Democratic-controlled State Senate.  The first one came when Commissioner of Corrections Gary Lanigan showed up to his confirmation hearing and sat for a while, only to find out that his nomination was being held.   Democrats still had some issues with the corrections department’s decision to ban a book on race relations, and the Office of the Governor asked that the hearing be postponed.  Lanigan is a reappointment; he was hired by Gov. Chris Christie in 2010.  If the votes weren’t there for Lanigan before the hearings started, the postponement should have occurred before the commissioner entered the room.  The Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nominations of Tahesha Way as Secretary of State and Col. Jamal Beale as Adjutant General — that makes three, including Attorney General Gurbir Grewal — which means that the Democratic Senate is acting awfully slow in confirming cabinet nominations of the Democratic governor.

The worst part of Murphy’s week was when Senate President Steve Sweeney went off on the governor for “calling on state lawmakers to pass legislation designed to combat President Donald Trump’s gutting of New Jersey’s property tax deductions,” according to NJ.com’s Matt Arco and Brent Johnson.   Sweeney was offended that Murphy was telling the Senate to do at a press conference, instead of just picking up the phone and calling him directly.  Sweeney also said that Murphy’s plan for a millionaire’s tax was “absolutely the last resort.”

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