Governor Chris Christie is scheduled to deliver his final state budget proposal tomorrow. The Record says this is Christie's last chance to take a crack at the state's finances after years of credit-rating downgrades, missed revenue projections, broken public-pension promises and failed reform efforts.
PINELANDS COMMISSION VOTES TO PERMIT SOUTH JERSEY PIPELINE
Over the roar of an angry crowd, members of the Pinelands Commission voted 9 to 5 – with one abstention – to allow a controversial, 22-mile-long natural gas pipeline to pass through the heart of South Jersey's preserved forests. NJTV says the commission initially voted against the pipeline three years ago, but critics claim Gov. Christie replaced the "no" voters with "yes men."
GUADAGNO ON CHOOSING NJ ATTORNEY GENERAL: LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE
New Jersey's constitution gives the governor the power to appoint the state attorney general, but Lt. Gov. (and 2017 gubernatorial candidate) Kim Guadagno wants to end that long-standing tradition and turn the AG into an elected position. NJ Spotlight says Guadagno inserted the call for an elected attorney general into her first major policy proposal since she announced her candidacy for governor last month.
U.S. IMMIGRATION CRACKDOWN DRIVES NJ'S UNDOCUMENTED DEEPER INTO SHADOWS
Immigrants and immigration advocates are calling on the state Assembly to declare New Jersey a sanctuary state amid the latest crackdowns and raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. NJ Spotlight says the fear and anxiety felt by New Jersey's undocumented population – one of the largest in the nation – is causing many to go deeper into the shadows to avoid persecution.
PETITION URGES CHRISTIE TO SIGN SEASONAL LIQUOR LICENSE EXTENSION BILL FOR SHORE BARS
A petition urging Gov. Christie to allow bars with seasonal liquor licenses to open in time for the St. Patrick's Day parade has garnered nearly 1,000 signatures and is currently sitting on the governor's desk – but NJ.com says time is running out. Critics say the bill, if it passes, would be unfair to bars who pay hefty fees for their year-round licenses.
ANOTHER TRUMP LAWSUIT: WHO OWNS THE LETTERS FROM THE TAJ MAHAL SIGN?
In what may very well be the single-most New Jersey story ever, the letters T-R-U-M-P that were removed from the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City have landed in the middle of a court battle. The Record says the Philly-based recycling firm – Recycling Urban Materials for Profit, or RUMP – claims they bought the letters for $250 as they were awaiting disposal earlier this month and hopes to resell them for more than $100,000. RUMP is now seeking a court order to resolve the letters' ownership.