National Roundup 05-09: Employee Sues OH County for Making Jewish Holiday Observance Difficult; GOP Reaches Out to Lopez-Cantera to Gauge Interest in Ros-Lehtinen’s Seat
The following is a round-up of national news from several major states across the country that will be featured on our site on a daily basis:
Christie, Cuomo Chat Over Breakfast at Jersey Diner: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo met over breakfast Monday morning on the west side of the Hudson River. The two huddled at the back of the famous Tick Tock Diner on Route 3 in Clifton, about 12 miles from the Lincoln Tunnel, according to restaurant staff.
“They were here this morning,” Maria Portalakis, a cashier, confirmed by phone. She said the two sat at a table for about an hour, starting around 10 a.m.
Cuomo’s public schedule for Monday initially said he would be in New York but was later amended to say he would be staying in the “New York City area.”
Linda Ocasio, a former editorial writer at The Star-Ledger and now a staffer for the United Federation of Teachers, tweeted a photo of Cuomo at the diner and said he’d been there meeting with Christie. Ocasio said a family member had sent the photo. [Politico]
Guadagno Wants Murphy to Limit Spending for General Election: Republican gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno wants Democratic candidate Phil Murphy — the wealthy former Goldman Sachs executive and U.S. ambassador to Germany — to voluntarily limit his spending on the general election to $13.8 million.
That would limit Murphy to spending the maximum of what Guadango, the state’s lieutenant governor, could spend if she maxes out her donations. Unlike Murphy, Guadagno has accepted two-for-one matching funds from the state for the GOP primary and plans to do the same in the general election. That will limit how much money she can raise and spend in both races.
“We’ve seen this movie before when a Goldman Sachs executive just like Phil Murphy spent millions of his Wall Street fortune to try and buy the Governor’s Office. Jon Corzine won, but New Jersey lost with massive unemployment and higher taxes,” Dave Huguenel, Guadagno’s campaign manager, said in a statement. “New Jerseyans deserve better. We challenge Phil Murphy or whoever wins their primary to agree to a spending cap so the race is focused on the issues New Jerseyans care about most like affordability and lower taxes.”
Murphy, as of the last reporting period, had loaned his campaign $10 million. His campaign didn’t immediately return a request for comment on Guadagno’s request. [Politico]
Lawsuit: County Employee Had to Use Vacation Time for Jewish Holidays: A former staff attorney for Butler County claims she was not permitted to use holiday time off to observe Jewish holidays.
Attorney Kimberly Edelstein has filed a lawsuit against the Butler County and its judge, prosecutor and assistant prosecutor. In the lawsuit, Edelstein says she’s a practicing Jew and that during her employment observed Jewish holidays by using her vacation time and working additional hours.
She claims the County designates Christmas as a holiday and does not have a policy that accommodates holiday time off for employees of different religions. Edelstein says she was fired two days after asking to take off eight days for the Jewish High Holidays last year.
Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser responded by saying, “That’s nuts.” and “it is nuts for anyone to think I discriminate based on race, religion, politics, sex etc … The public deserves to know and I will not be silent on such nutty stuff.” [Fox19]
Emanuel, CPS Hammering Out Rescue Package: City Hall is racing to finalize what’s likely to be a multipronged approach to patching up a roughly $200 million hole in Chicago Public Schools’ budget. Sources close to the matter tell me that among items on the table are the layoff of non-teaching administrative personnel, another raid on the city’s tax-increment financing funds and short-term borrowing.
Also reportedly under discussion are the possibility of partially delaying a pension payment of more than $700 million due on June 30 and adding a month or two to CPS’ bill payment cycle.
The rescue package is needed because Mayor Rahm Emanuel has pulled the plug on an earlier savings plan pushed by CPS CEO Forrest Claypool: shutting down schools for the year almost three weeks early, on June 1. Emanuel still blames Gov. Bruce Rauner for vetoing $215 million in pension funds as part of the state’s larger budget war, and still hopes to get that money later. But the mayor also announced that CPS will stay open one way or another, leading to the rescue package. [Crains]
Legislature OKs 2017-18 State Budget in Extended Session: The Senate approved a roughly $83 billion state spending plan during a legislative overtime Monday, including a raft of conforming bills implementing House and Senate priorities on matters including public schools, colleges, and universities.
The 34-4 vote sent the General Appropriations Act to the House, which later approved it on a 98-14 vote. The annual ‘sine die’ ceremony, with the sergeants-at-arms for both chambers dropping handkerchiefs simultaneously, happened at 8:52 p.m.
The budget now heads to Gov. Rick Scott, who was at a “Freedom Rally for Venezuela” in Miami Monday night and did not attend the hanky-drop ceremony as he has in previous years.
It remains whether Scott will veto some or all the budget, which guts his favored tourism marketing and business incentive programs. His office did not issue a statement late Monday. [FL Politics]
Republicans Reach Out to Lopez-Cantera, Bush Jr. to Gauge Interest in Ros-Lehtinen’s Seat: The Republican Party reached out to at least two Miamians last week to gauge their interest in running for GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s seat: Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Jeb Bush Jr., the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
The National Republican Congressional Committee spoke to both men in the days after Ros-Lehtinen, a 28-year House veteran, announced her retirement from the heavily Democratic 27th district, the Miami Herald has learned.
As Democrats lined up as potential candidates, Republicans have yet to find a good fit to run in 2018; a single well-known Republican, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, has said he’s running. The day Ros-Lehtinen retired, Lopez-Cantera said in a statement that he would “spend the next few days” discussing a possible candidacy with his family. Bush’s father has been in the headlines recently as an interested buyer of the Miami Marlins baseball team. [Miami Herald]