Phil Gregory

Statehouse Reporter

Phil has been the Statehouse Reporter in Trenton for both WBGO and WHYY in Philadelphia since 2009.

He’s a long-time reporter in the tri-state area. For 10 years he worked at Bloomberg Radio in New York City where he anchored coverage of several major events including the 9/11 attacks and the 2003 blackout. He also covered business and market news as a reporter from the New York Stock Exchange.

Phil is a native of the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania and started his broadcast career at WAEB in Allentown, PA where he advanced to become News Director. He was an award-winning reporter and anchor at radio stations WPTR, WFLY and WROW in Albany, NY and at WOBM in Toms River, NJ. Phil is a past President of the Empire State Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been a broadcast instructor at the New School of Contemporary Radio in Albany and at Monmouth University.

Outside of work he enjoys visiting historical, nature and entertainment sites.

Ways to Connect

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy has unveiled a proposal to enhance job training and workforce development in New Jersey.

Murphy says no one should be shut out of today's competitive economy because they cannot afford to learn.

"I'm committed to making community college tuition free for all New Jerseyans. That won't happen overnight but if we grow our economy and prudently manage our finances we will get there sooner rather than later."

Murphy said that would be phased in over three to four years and might cost about $200 million a year.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says a public-private partnership will help combat an opioid epidemic that's killing thousands of people across the country.

Christie says leaders of 17 pharmaceutical companies and government agencies intend to work together to fast-track development of new non-opioid medications for pain.

Dr. Francis Collins is director of the National Institutes of Health. He's excited about the effort but says it'll be difficult.

If you want to get an early start on pumpkin purchases for Halloween, New Jersey farmers say you'll have a lot to choose from.

Jim Giamarese grows about 25 acres of pumpkins on his farm in East Brunswick. He says a lot of rain this summer caused bigger than usual pumpkins.

Even if Democratic Senator U.S. Bob Menendez of New Jersey is acquitted of federal corruption charges, a Quinnipiac University poll finds he could have a tough time winning reelection.

Pollster Maurice Carroll says 49 percent of New Jersey voters surveyed disapprove of the way Menendez is handling his job and only 20 percent believe he deserves to be reelected.

“He’s got a lot to overcome, but assuming that the trial comes out on his side, he’s got a year to work on it, and I wouldn’t rule the guy out because he is one tough cookie.”

Advocates are urging New Jersey officials to do more to encourage the use of electric vehicles.

Pamela Frank is CEO of the ChargeEVC coalition. She says the costs of electric vehicles are too high for many consumers and creating a $300 million fund to provide rebates would make them more affordable.

"Giving a $5,000 cash rebate at the point of sale and having that rebate decline by $500 for each $100 million bloc allocated would give us 67,000 new cars on the road with a plug in three years."

A non-profit group is urging New Jersey's next governor to put more emphasis on transportation.

Fund for New Jersey says last year's 23-cent gas-tax increase won't provide enough money for all the state' transportation needs.

The group recommends policymakers consider leasing toll roads to private operators and charging tolls on interstate highways to generate more money for transportation projects.

Martin Robins is director emeritus of the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers.

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to prevent the public from being inconvenienced if the state doesn't enact a budget on time.

Legislation introduced by Senator Jeff Van Drew calls for motor vehicle agencies, state parks and beaches to remain open for up to ten days if a budget isn't complete by the end of June deadline.

He wants to prevent a recurrence of the public outcry this summer because a deadlock in enacting a new budget forced state beaches and parks to close for three days.

Republican New Jersey gubernatorial nominee Kim Guadagno says the goal of her ethics reform plan is to restore the public's faith in state government.

Guadagno believes the most important part of her plan is term limits for elected state officials.

“I think that people need to spend two terms at most serving their state. No one should rely on a state elected position for their job. I don’t think that leads to good government.  I think that in fact leads to bad government. They forget who they serve.”

A New Jersey lawmaker is urging continuation of a temporary moratorium on fracking in the Delaware River watershed.

Senator Kip Bateman says the drilling process that uses high-pressure liquid to extract natural gas has benefits but allowing it in the Delaware River Basin could endanger water quality.

After hurricanes caused price spikes, the price of gasoline is starting to move lower again.

Refinery shutdowns because of Hurricane Harvey and a rush to fill up the tank in advance of Hurricane Irma caused gas prices nationally to soar to an average of $2.78 a gallon.

Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey, predicts prices will slip into the two-sixties this month.

After returning from Texas where they helped with the recovery from Hurricane Harvey, members of New Jersey Task Force 1 are heading to Florida because of Hurricane Irma.

Laura Connolly with the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management says the specially trained search and rescue crews will assist where needed in Florida.

A New Jersey pilot program will allow Ocean County residents who believe they improperly received Medicaid benefits to withdraw from the program without fear of criminal prosecution.

State comptroller Phil Degnan says the recent arrests of 26 Lakewood residents for public assistance fraud got him thinking about what kind of program to offer.

The drinking water at nearly 400 schools in New Jersey contains lead and advocates say the state must do more to address the problem.

The state is reimbursing school districts for the costs of the water testing.

Environment New Jersey director Doug O'Malley says that's a good start, but he believes remediating lead contamination from old pipes and fixtures should be a state priority.

A new ordinance bans large tents and canopies on the beaches during the summer season at a popular Jersey Shore destination.

The restrictions in Monmouth County's Belmar take effect next year. Mayor Matt Doherty says the big tents won't be allowed between Memorial Day and Labor Day because of complaints that they take up too much space and could endanger public safety.

The Atlantic County Democratic Committee has tapped former freeholder Colin Bell to fill the seat in the New Jersey Senate left vacant by last month's death of Senator Jim Whelan.

Bell was unopposed when he won the Democratic nomination in the 2nd District Senate race in the spring. He isn't sure that becoming a incumbent Senator for a couple of months will give him an edge over Republican candidate Chris Brown who's now a state Assemblyman.

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to prohibit the Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority from adding a fee when seeking payment from motorists without an E-Z pass account who go through cashless toll plazas.

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano says drivers who don't have an E-Z Pass account should not be punished with a fine.

"I'm ok with individuals getting a notice for the amount of the toll, but I'm not in favor for them to then also be charged in addition an administrative fee up to $50."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie leaves office in January and says the opioid crisis will be his primary focus until then.

He says he’s ready to work with the legislature to do anything in the lame duck session that makes sense.

He’d like lawmakers to send him a bill that would eliminate accumulated sick time payouts for public employees.

“It’s a disgrace that we have billions of dollars being paid to people for not having been sick. It’s a disgrace. It’s an outrage to the taxpayers. I’ve been saying it for eight years.”

Some New Jersey businesses that rely on foreign students to fill seasonal jobs are hoping President Trump backs away from a campaign promise to eliminate a work visa program.

More than 5,000 foreign students each year participate in the J-1 visa program in New Jersey, working in seasonal jobs for about ten weeks and then spending a month traveling the country.

New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association president Marilou Halvorsen says curtailing the program would hurt businesses that rely on those workers before and after the height of the summer tourism season.

Get ready for a big jump in gasoline prices because of the flooding in Texas.

Tom Kloza, global energy analyst at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey, says gas prices could rise as much as 60 cents a gallon because of refinery shutdowns that are reducing the supply.

New Jersey is providing more manpower and supplies to help with the emergency response to flooding in Texas caused by Tropical Storm Harvey.

Governor Christie says two Blackhawk helicopters and some National Guard members with experience in Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts are going to Texas, and additional 3500 Guard members could be deployed if necessary.

Christie says New Jersey will do anything Texas officials need.

Governor Christie say 15 service areas along the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway are in line for renovation or replacement.

Christie says HMS Host and Sunoco have agreed to invest $250 million to upgrade those rest stops in exchange for contracts to operate food and fuel concessions on those toll roads for 25 years.

Specially trained New Jersey search and rescue crews are on their way to assist Texas flood victims.

Laura Connolly with the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management says 16 members of New Jersey Task Force 1, three members of the State Police, six boats and five trucks have been deployed to Texas.

"They'll be assisting with swift water operations, with people that drove into floodwaters and are trapped, or they could be going door to door and rescuing people with the boats that we have. So, they'll be taking care of all those water operations down there."

Gasoline prices in the area are starting to move higher because of the storm that's dumping huge amounts of rain in Texas.

Patrick DeHaan is a petroleum analyst at GasBuddy-dot-com. He says refinery shutdowns on the Gulf Coast because of Hurricane Harvey are curtailing the supply of gasoline.

"I would expect gas prices would rise anywhere from 5 to 15 cents a gallon, perhaps even higher, over the next one to one-and-a-half weeks or so. It could go as high as 10 to 25 cents a gallon, maybe even 15 to 30 cents a gallon in kind of the worst-case scenario."

New Jersey Transit's management and culture came in from some blistering criticism at a legislative hearing.

Nancy Erika Smith is a civil rights lawyer. She told state lawmakers there's a toxic, corrupt, sexist, and racist atmosphere at the agency.

"If HR and EEO won't help victims, and they don't at New Jersey Transit, and employees who complain are openly retaliated against, who in their right mind will complain?"

Democrat Phil Murphy says if he becomes New Jersey's next governor he'd sign the gun control bills Governor Christie has vetoed. And he's proposing some additional measures to stem violence.

Murphy says he'd approach neighboring states to talk about coordinating strategies to prevent gun violence.

"We think about 80 percent of the guns involved in crimes in New Jersey come from out of state, so not only to we have to do a better job in our state, we have to engage with our neighbors."

Governor Christie has signed legislation authorizing and regulating fantasy sports games in New Jersey.

Participants pay an entry fee to manage an imaginary team and compete for a predetermined prize.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli says many residents have been playing and the new law will protect consumers.

Five months before he was planning to retire, New Jersey State Senator Jim Whelan has died after suffering a heart attack at his Atlantic City home.

State officials are remembering him as a dedicated public servant.

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg says Whelan was a role model for lawmakers.

“He seemed to be able to be part of the team, be part of the unified effort, and yet signal out the things that were important to him even if it was going against the tide a bit. He was an eminently decent man, full of integrity.”

A study by a national research group finds that states have cut funds for higher education by nearly $9 billion since the 2008 recession.

Mike Mitchell is an analyst with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He says lower state funding for colleges has meant tuition increases, forcing students to incur more debt to pay for college. 

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to change how water providers respond when they find elevated levels of lead in the system.

Assemblyman Dan Benson says current law requires a utility that finds high lead concentrations to send a letter to residents, but not municipalities and school districts.

"You'd want that because so often these municipalities have reverse 911 systems. They can hopefully provide additional information or coordinate a response to make sure that residents are protected."  

Governor Christie once called it the ugliest building in New Jersey. Now he’s saying a multi-billion dollar retail and entertainment complex in the Meadlowlands will be vital to the state’s economy.

Known as Xanadu when it was approved in 2003, the project was plagued by a series of financing problems and construction delays. Christie says what’s now called the American Dream is on the way to becoming a reality.