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2019 Election Results Bring Little Change to State Legislature

Democrats billed the 2019 elections as a referendum on President Trump. Republicans dubbed the off-year contests as the “Murphy Mid-Term” and a chance to stall Democratic attempts to build on the “blue wave” of 2018. Who was right? It looks like both sides can declare victory. With the 80 seats of New Jersey General Assembly up for election, along with a Special Election for the Senate seat in the First Legislative District (Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic Counties), the election returns produced mostly a status quo result. Democrats will continue to control both the General Assembly and State Senate, but with majorities slightly smaller than in the past session. All three Democratic incumbents in the First Legislative District lost to their respective Republican challengers. The race for the two Assembly seats in the Second Legislative District was extremely close, but it appears the Democratic incumbents will be victorious. Even with the loss in the First Legislative District, Democrats still retain a wide majority in the Assembly (52-28) and the Senate (25-15). Republican incumbents were able to hang onto victory in District 8 (Burlington County), District 21 (Morris, Somerset, and Union Counties), and District 25 (Morris and Somerset), where Democrats ran...

Murphy Announces George Helmy as Chief of Staff

Governor Murphy announced this morning that George Helmy, current State Director for Senator Cory Booker, will become his new Chief of Staff effective February 4, 2019. Mr. Helmy takes over for Pete Cammarano, who served as Chief of Staff during Governor Murphy’s first year in office. The Gibbons Government & Regulatory Affairs Department congratulates Mr. Helmy and looks forward to continuing to work with him in his new position. George brings both public and private sector experience to the Governor’s Office and has been a great advocate for New Jersey while working on Senator Booker’s staff. You can read the Governor’s full announcement here.

James R. Zazzali Named Ethics Counsel to Gubernatorial Transition

Governor-elect Phil Murphy today announced his appointment of James R. Zazzali, Of Counsel at Gibbons P.C. and former Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, to serve as ethics counsel to Transition2018. In this role, Mr. Zazzali will ensure transparency in the transitional campaign’s operations and compliance with state ethics laws on the part of all gubernatorial transition staff, committees, and volunteers. Gary Stein, a former Associate Justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court, was also appointed as ethics counsel to Transition2018. “James Zazzali has a lengthy and highly regarded history of civic engagement and dedicated service to the state of New Jersey,” says Patrick C. Dunican Jr., Chairman and Managing Director of Gibbons. “Those of us at the firm are well aware of the exceptional qualifications that Governor-elect Murphy clearly recognized in appointing him to the transition team.” “I am honored that Justices Zazzali and Stein will be ensuring that my transition lives up to the highest standards of ethics and transparency, and will set the tone for my administration,” said Murphy. “They are giants in the law community and are respected statewide. Their leadership and guidance will be invaluable.” Mr. Zazzali joined Gibbons in 2007, after retiring...

Murphy Announces Transition Team Chairs and Co-Chairs

This morning, Governor-elect Murphy released his transition committees and the committees’ chairs and co-chairs. In announcing the specific policy committees and their leadership, the Governor-elect stated that the “co-chairs boast a rich diversity of both background and experiences, of valuable government experience and unique outside perspectives.” The Governor-elect’s full press release with the list of transition leaders can be found here.

Gibbons Ranked Best Law Firm and Best Lobbying Firm in Inaugural NJBIZ Reader Rankings

Gibbons P.C. has been selected as the best law firm and the best lobbying firm in New Jersey in the inaugural NJBIZ Reader Ranking Awards. The Reader Rankings were compiled through an online survey seeking the best of the best in a wide range of categories and subcategories. According to NJBIZ, “The publication of the 2017 Reader Rankings by NJBIZ is our way of recognizing the regard our readers have for the businesses in their communities. What makes the companies listed here distinct is the devotion they inspire among our region’s business leaders.” Gibbons has been recognized by numerous organizations and publications for the firm’s work on behalf of clients, including being named among the New Jersey Law Journal’s Litigation Departments of the Year, earning the top overall honors in 2014, as well as recognition for the practice areas of class actions (2017), products liability (2016), and commercial litigation (2013). The Gibbons Government Affairs Department has ranked as the #1 lawyer-lobbying firm in New Jersey for nine consecutive years, according to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission In addition, the firm and Gibbons attorneys are also consistently recognized in annual client-review publications such as the Chambers USA Guide to...

Privately Financing the Public Good: Using Public-Private Partnerships to Inject Private Financing into Public Projects in New Jersey

New Jersey has a higher inventory of worthy infrastructure projects than it has money to fund sorely needed improvements. Although New Jersey has the seventh highest revenue of any state, the pressures of being a densely populated commuter state often impose significant liabilities on those revenues such that the State is often faced with having to choose between worthy projects because available financing is limited. One common sense solution gaining significant traction is the injection of private financing into public projects in order to relieve some of the State’s financing burdens. Often referred to as public-private partnerships or P3s, these agreements trade a limited, future revenue stream over time to a private corporation in exchange for a fiscal commitment allowing a project to put shovels in the ground. These projects can take various forms: construction of state college dormitories in exchange for rents, maintenance of highways in exchange for availability payments, or construction of a bridge in exchange for toll rights, to name a few. The State entity receives an influx of capital to address infrastructure needs and the private entity receives a long term profit from rents, tolls, availability payments, or maintenance agreements. The elegance of this type of...