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

Parents and officials from some New Jersey school districts that get significantly less state aid than required by the school funding formula packed an Assembly committee hearing.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli questioned Acting Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington about the Christie administration’s budget plan to hold school funding at current levels.

“Is the Department’s position that the status quo and the effect of the status quo is having is acceptable?

Harrington says the state does not have the money to fully fund the formula.

Police say about a dozen people in Newark became ill after ingesting the synthetic marijuana K2.

A state law, enacted four years ago, that bans those products is having some effect.

Bruce Ruck with the New Jersey Poison Education and Information System says since the ban took effect, calls are down to the poison center about the products treated with chemicals designed to mimic the effects of marijuana.

It's not over yet, but the flu season is New jersey is nearing an end.

State epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan says some people came down with the flu later in the season than usual, but the number of flu-related illnesses is decreasing now.

"'We definitely had more intense activity this year. This is what we expect when we see a predominance of the type AH3 strain. It tends to be a little bit more severe illnesses.'

Tan says low to moderate levels of flu activity are still being reported throughout New Jersey and it’s not too late to get a flu shot.

New Jersey lawmakers are concerned about an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.

State health officials say 50 percent of sexually active 15-to-25 year olds will get a sexually transmitted disease unless they take precautions to prevent it.

Senator Jeff Van Drew says that's troubling.

"I have noticed with younger people, they feel that they're invincible and they really don't worry about it anymore, and STDs are a greater problem than ever. I wonder if we should have a renewed energy toward that issue."

The front-runner for the Republican nomination in the governor's race in New Jersey is proposing a property tax relief plan.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno wants to provide a credit of up to $3,000 for homeowners who pay more than 5 percent of their household income toward the school portion of their property tax.

The Chief Justice of New Jersey's Supreme Court is urging the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to stop arresting immigrants in courthouses.

In a letter to the Homeland Security Secretary, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner is raising concerns about the recent arrests of two unauthorized immigrants who showed up for appearances in state court.

When individuals fear they'll be arrested for a civil immigration violation when they set foot in a courthouse, Rabner says witnesses to violent crimes may stay away and remain silent.

A New Jersey Congressman says a vote a new option for replacing the Affordable Care Act could come within a couple of weeks.

Tom MacArthur says he's working to move the latest Republican bill forward, proposing amendments to give states more flexibility to bring down premiums and increase the number of insured.

MacArthur says only a few specifics of the measure need resolution before it goes to the House floor for a vote.

The leading candidates in New Jersey's governor's race outlined some of their priorities at a New Jersey Bankers Association conference.

Democrat Phil Murphy says small businesses need access to capital to grow and create jobs.

He says his proposed state-owned bank would invest money in community banks that would lend to businesses at favorable rates.

"The public bank will be there to ensure that more of the people and businesses who are qualified have access to the financial system. Right now, too many are left out."

Governor Christie commends Department of Children and Family employees
Phil Gregory

Governor Chris Christie is congratulating state employees for their work to move New Jersey closer to ending federal oversight of its child welfare system.

New Jersey Department of Children and Families Commissioner Allison Blake says the federal monitor finds the state has satisfied performance measures for reducing the caseloads of intake workers and completing case plans when a child enters out-of-home care.

New Jersey has sold the licenses of two public broadcast television stations for $332 million.

A battle is shaping up on what should be done with the proceeds.

Mike Rispoli is the campaign director for the Free Press Action Fund that's urging the money go to rebuild journalism at the local level in New Jersey.

A new trend has many of the campaign ads in the race for Governor of New Jersey going up online instead of airing on traditional media outlets.

Carl Golden was the press secretary for former Governors Tom Kean and Christie Whitman. He says it's cheaper to put campaign ads on social media and the internet, and they can be effective.

A national survey shows New Jersey hospitals have improved their quality of care.

The nonprofit health care watchdog organization Leapfrog Group ranks New Jersey 15th best for protecting patients from harm.

Communications director Erica Mobley says that's up from 22nd a year ago.

"What we've seen overall is an improvement in both the processes and procedures hospitals have in place to prevent errors and in the outcomes. So in things like infection rates, rates of blood clots, rates of air embolism, we've seen improvement across many hospitals."

A Farleigh Dickinson University poll finds that political views are distorting the ability of Americans to tell fact from fiction.

Although there's no evidence to support it, political science professor Dan Cassino says two-thirds of the New Jersey residents surveyed believe that President Donald Trump is not releasing his tax returns because they'd show he has close financial ties to political and business figures in Russia.

Legislation awaiting final approval in the New Jersey Senate is intended to reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

The measure would require all bills and regulations on sentencing to include a racial and ethnic impact statement outlining how the policies might affect minority populations.

Dianna Houenou with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey says it’s a smart policy to implement.

Governor Christie is not providing details on additional pension changes he'd like to see before leaving office.

Senate Budget Committee chairman Paul Sarlo says lawmakers would like to hear more about the governor's idea of moving the state lottery into the pension system to reduce its unfunded liability.

He says that has to happen before there's any consideration of talking with public employee unions about more pension changes.

A poll conducted for a coalition of child advocates finds that 85 percent of New Jersey residents believe the youth justice system should focus more on prevention and rehabilitation rather than incarceration and punishment.

Mary Coogan with Advocates for Children of New Jersey says young people who commit crimes should be should be held accountable, but believes community-based counseling and treatment are more effective than putting them in prison.  

The warm, sunny weather may be a welcome relief after all the cool rainy days recently. But it could cause problems for people with allergies.

Dr. Leonard Bielory, is an allergy specialist who tracks the pollen count in New Jersey. He says the release of tree pollen is intensifying now.

"Pollen is primed and pumping. We'll actually see about tenfold increase in pollen over the coming week. So even people mildly allergic will have intense allergy symptoms by the end of the week."

New Jersey Statehouse
Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers tried to get more details about Governor Christie's plan for a $300 million Statehouse renovation, but the state Treasurer didn't offer many specifics.

Senator Jeff Van Drew asked Treasurer Ford Scudder if the legislature will have to approve the renovation project.

"How does this work? Who authorizes this? Is it purely the executive branch that has the ability to do that?

"Senator, we're working with bond counsel through exactly what steps that needs to take and it's not a finalized process at this point in time."

NJ officials announce the start of the program.
Phil Gregory

After an 8 percent increase in fatal traffic accidents last year, New Jersey is expanding the program used to report aggressive driving so the public can alert police about distracted drivers.

State Attorney General Chris Porrino says anyone who notices a distracted driver can call #77 and report the model, make and license number of the vehicle. He hopes that will deter cellphone use and other driver distractions.

Office of Legislative Services officials testify at Assembly Budget Committee hearing
Phil Gregory

The Christie administration says revenues in the budget year ending June 30th are expected to be $247 million below projections.

That's less than a one percent difference from the $233 million shortfall the Office of Legislative Services anticipates.

Legislative Budget Officer Frank Haines says revenue forecasts are not perfect, and the gap is not a signal of trouble ahead for the state's economy.

"We don't see a severe economic downturn coming. In fact we see modest economic growth coming for at least a few years, but the unexpected can happen."

State Treasurer Ford Scudder gives lawmakers some details of the plan.
Phil Gregory

In February, Governor Christie proposed using revenues from the New Jersey lottery to shore up the state's pension system. An administration official is now providing some details.

State Treasurer Ford Scudder says the lottery enterprise would be placed into the public employee pension system.

"You would still be buying the same lottery tickets. The retailer would still be getting their commission for sales. It would still be a division within Treasury. It would still be directed by the state Lottery Commission. It would just be owned by the pension system."

Four former New Jersey Governors are urging the state's Congressional delegation to defend environmental laws.

Republican Christie Whitman says the Trump administration's proposal to slash the Environmental Protection Agency budget would hurt environmental enforcement and scientific research on what's acceptable for human health.

Nearly 300 candidates are competing for a chance to run for the New Jersey legislature in the June Primary.

The 192 Assembly candidates are the most since 2001. The 88 seeking a Senate seat is the highest since 2003.

Seton Hall political science professor Matthew Hale says five Senators are retiring or seeking higher office.

"So you're seeing a lot of people want to take that shot because they're not sure when it's going to come around again."

Be prepared to pay more for gasoline.

The average price is 3 cents higher than a week ago.

Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey, expects it'll keep going up.

"I don't want to alarm people, but this will be a month probably unlikely any month they've seen in the last 15 months in that you're probably going to see prices increase by 15 or 20 cents a gallon and it may even follow through into a strong May as well."

Phil Murphy arrives at NJ Division of Elections
Phil Gregory

Former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy has filed a record 43,000 petitions to get on the June primary ballot as a Democratic contender for Governor of New Jersey.

Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Peter Woolley says Murphy is the clear front runner for the Democratic nomination.

"He's trying a bit of shock and awe, I think, trying to demonstrate to anybody who might come out and offer in particular financial support to his competitors, that it is futile."

Monday is the filing deadline for candidates who want to run in New Jersey's June primary.

Political analysts expect a battle to get the Republican nomination for Governor.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno has won the endorsement of GOP organizations in 10 counties to get favorable placement on the primary ballot and Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli will have that coveted designation in 7 counties.

You may have noticed the effects on outdoor plants. We've had some unusual weather in the area.

State climatologist Dave Robinson says it's only the third time, since record keeping started 123 years ago, that average temperatures in New Jersey in March were lower than February.

"It was record breaking warmth in February and March temperatures that are just about two degrees below average. For the first time all winter we had the jet stream deliver some cold air to us here in the east."

The December through February period was the 11th driest on record.

A company in Wall Township New Jersey makes a product they hope you’ll never need. But it could save your life.

(Worker announces “safety pins removed,  pressure is good. Alarms sound. Three, two, one. Sounds of evacuation slide unfolding)

That’s what it sounds like when an inflatable escape slide used on commercial airplanes is deployed during a test at the Zodiac Aerospace factory.

The company in Wall sells 65 percent of the evacuation slides put into new planes. Their products were also in the movie ‘Sully’.

A New Jersey lawmaker is calling on legislative leaders to move ahead with vacation and sick leave reforms.

Senator Jennifer Beck says New Jersey property owners have a nearly $2 billion property tax obligation hanging over their heads in terms of unused sick and vacation time accumulated by municipal and school employees.

She says some of those workers are retiring with half a million dollars or more in unused sick and vacation time.

A Democrat in the race for Governor of New Jersey has filed a complaint with state Election Law Enforcement Commission against the front-runner in the race.

Jim Johnson claims former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy, also a Democrat, violated state election law by using non-profit social welfare and political groups he set up before entering the race to avoid disclosing some contributions and expenditures.

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