New Jersey Lawmakers Consider Allowing Governor to Borrow $10 Billion to Help Fill Virus-Driven Budget Gaps

New Jersey state capitol building in Trenton

New Jersey state capitol building in Trenton Shutterstock/Paul Brady Photography


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STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | Michigan official asks judge to review detention of 15-year-old girl for failing to complete schoolwork … Democrats slam Maryland election plan … Colorado governor defends calling those who won’t wear masks “selfish bastards.”

Legislation that would allow New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy to borrow up to $10 billion to help fill budget holes caused by the coronavirus-fueled economic downturn was approved by a Senate committee this week. Under the bill, Murphy could borrow the money without first asking voters for their approval. Republicans have vowed to sue if the bill, expected to be taken up by the full Senate and House on Thursday, becomes law, saying it could lead to tax increases if the state is unable to pay off the loan in the future. “It's a middle finger for the taxpayers of this state who'll be left to foot the bill,” Sen. Michael Testa said. But Democrats said the borrowed money will allow the state to continue helping vulnerable people who need state services to be maintained during a time of extreme economic volatility. “The lives of so many people depend upon what we do in this room,” said Sen. Sandra Cunningham. [NJ Spotlight; NBC Philadelphia]

JUVENILE DETENTION | Oakland County Executive David Coulter asked a Michigan family court judge to review her decision to put a 15-year-old girl in juvenile detention for failing to live up to a probation requirement that she complete her schoolwork. A story published Tuesday by ProPublica about the girl, who has been in detention since May, grabbed national attention this week, with commentators noting that it seemed to violate Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order that judges limit detention during the coronavirus pandemic unless the juvenile is a “substantial and immediate safety risk to others.” Critics also noted that the girl described in the story lives in a predominantly white community but is Black. [Detroit News

IN-PERSON ELECTION | Seven local Democratic leaders in Maryland, including Baltimore Mayor Jack Young, wrote to  Gov. Larry Hogan, urging him to reconsider his plans to host a mainly in-person election in November and instead take a hybrid in-person and by-mail approach. Instead of sending each voter an absentee ballot in the fall, as Maryland did for the primary, the state instead will send out applications for absentee ballots. “We have only to look at the failures across the country of states that required vote-by-mail ballot applications in which millions of additional dollars had to be spent, elections staff overwhelmed with last minute applications that could not be processed in time for Election Day, and the resulting need to extend voting hours as voters were forced to the polls,” the letter said. [Baltimore Sun]

SAFETY WORKERS | Prince George’s County in Maryland plans to test all public safety employees for coronavirus in the next few days. This includes police officers, firefighters, and other first responders. "We are testing all of our public safety employees because they interact with the public on a daily basis," said County Health Officer Ernest Carter. [NPR]

SELFISH BASTARDS | Colorado Gov. Jared Polis defended his statement made over the weekend calling those who refuse to wear masks “selfish bastards.” He said, “everybody makes their decisions differently. Some react to humor, some react to blunt statements, some to react to data, some react to peer pressure.” [The Hill]

Laura Maggi is the managing editor of Route Fifty and Emma Coleman and the assistant editor.

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