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

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says he's honored President Trump has selected him to chair a commission focused on combatting the nation's opioid addiction crisis.

The President called Christie a very effective guy when he met with him at the White House to kick off the commission.

In a Fox News interview, Christie said it's an issue he and Trump care passionately about.

A Monmouth University poll finds most Americans believe fake news is widespread, but they have more confidence in the media than the information that comes from President Trump.

Poll director Patrick Murray says the public feels there's fake news everywhere.

"80 percent say that news websites online will report fake news, and about 63 percent say that our traditional sources like TV and newspapers will from time to time report fake news. In most cases they say when they do it, it's to push an agenda."

Many of the workers at Zodiac Aerospace have taken the training.
Phil Gregory

State officials, community college and business representatives in New Jersey gathered at an aerospace equipment company in Wall Township to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a workforce training program.

Carolina Diaz took the basic skills course when she starting work at Zodiac Aero Evacuation Systems ten years ago. She's now a quality control inspector at the company that makes inflatable escape slides for commercial aircraft.

Governor Christie signs the legislation at laborers union hall in Trenton
Phil Gregory

Just days after it received final legislative approval, a measure providing $400 million in gas tax revenues for transportation improvements this year has gotten Governor Chris Christie's OK.

Workers at the International Laborers Union hall in Trenton cheered as Christie signed the legislation designating $260 million for road and bridge repairs throughout the state.

Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto
Phil Gregory

Leading Democrats in the New Jersey legislature are thankful that Republicans in Congress were unable to muster the votes on a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto is relieved there won't be a change in federal funding for Medicaid.

"It's a great win for New Jersey. 500,000 residents have taken advantage of Medicaid expansion. Those people would have lost coverage. We couldn't afford to keep that. The state would have had to pick up the slack if they wanted to."

New Jersey Statehouse
Phil Gregory

A bill passed by the New Jersey Assembly would require criminal background checks for family day care providers and any adult living there.

Day care facilities that receive federal subsidies already perform the background checks.

Cynthia Rice with Advocates for Children of New Jersey says the measure to extend that requirement to all registered day care providers in the state is a logical bill that will protect kids.

road closed sign
Phil Gregory

The New Jersey Assembly has given final legislative approval to a measure that provides $400 million from the Transportation Trust Fund to expedite needed improvements.

Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto decided to post the bill for a vote after getting clarification that the $260 million that would be provided to the New Jersey Transportation Department would be used for  road and bridge repairs in all 21 of the state’s counties.

Lawmakers and homeowners say the measure would provide some relief for Sandy victims.
Phil Gregory

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to provide some protection for Superstorm Sandy victims told by the state they have to repay some grant money they received to rebuild.

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora says residents acted in good faith when they accepted the grant money to rebuild from Sandy.

“They got undercut by their own insurance company and then they thought the government grants was a godsend. Unfortunately to find out the government, RREM, wants the money back. This is unconscionable.”

New Jersey Statehouse
Phil Gregory

The New Jersey Assembly could give final legislative approval tomorrow to a measure banning the state's public colleges from paying more than $10,000 to commencement and other speakers.

In recent years reality TV star Snookie, novelist Toni Morrison, and producer Spike Lee were among those paid more than that for speaking at New Jersey colleges.

Assemblyman John DiMaio questions whether that's the best use of college funds.

So far three of the candidates who want to be New Jersey's next Governor have raised enough money to qualify for matching funds.

After gubernatorial candidates meet the threshold of raising and spending $430,000 to qualify for the state program, they can get two dollars in public matching funds for every private dollar they raise.

There's a $4 million limit on public funds for a primary election campaign and a $9.3 million cap for the general election.

Jeff Brindle is executive director of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Nonprofit group leaders attend event where Governor Christie announces the grant program.
Phil Gregory

The state of New Jersey is making a million dollars in grants available for non-profit and religious institutions in nine counties to improve their security.

Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, Salem, and Warren counties have not been eligible for federal grants to enhance security.

Governor Christie says recent threats at Jewish Community Centers around the state show the need to protect every area vulnerable to possible attacks.

Governor's office entrance
Phil Gregory

Former Saturday Night Live comedian Joe Piscopo says he won’t be a Republican candidate, but he could run as an independent in New Jersey's race for Governor.

Political analysts aren't giving him much chance to win.

Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Peter Woolley says it's nearly impossible for independent candidates to do well in New Jersey elections because they don't have the party organization or money to attract support.

Mike Egenton and Sara Bluhm oppose the legislation.
Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are trying again to get the state back into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Governor Christie pulled the state out of the program in 2011, saying it was an ineffective way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. He vetoed previous bills to force the state to resume participation.

Sara Bluhm with the New Jersey Business and Industry Association told lawmakers the state doesn't need to get back in.

Senator Dick Codey uses a smart thermostat to control the temperature in his home.
Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are considering several bills to encourage homeowners to use smart thermostats that allow homeowners to adjust heating and cooling through an app on their phones.

One of the measures urges the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to set a goal of equipping half a million homes with smart thermostats by the year 2023.

Kenneth Esser with Public Service Electric and Gas says those devices could help customers save money.

“We’re estimating it will provide about a 13 percent energy savings on heating bills and 16 percent on cooling bills.”

Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak
Phil Gregory

Legislation proposed by some New Jersey lawmakers would replace roadside memorials for fatal car crash victims with state-approved signs.

The bill that’s awaiting action in the legislature would require family members to apply to the Department of Transportation for a sign with information about the victim that would be erected at the crash site.

Assemblyman Bruce Land says the displays family members put up can be a safety hazard.

Assemblyman Rob Karabinchak
Phil Gregory

Convicted criminals can't serve on New Jersey school boards. Now lawmakers want to prevent them from getting on the ballot in the first place.

Assemblyman Jay Webber says his bill would require school board candidates to certify when they file their nominating petitions that they have no criminal record that would make them ineligible to hold the office.

Lawmakers and advocates urge more funding for testing and remediation.
Phil Gregory

New Jersey is being urged to do more to reduce lead levels in schools and homes.

Environment New Jersey gives the state a grade of C-minus for its efforts to deal with the lead problem.

The group’s director Doug O’Malley says New Jersey’s rating is better than many other states because it acknowledges it has a lead problem and is testing the drinking water in schools.

Assemblyman Gary Schaer
Phil Gregory

New Jersey's Assembly has approved a measure to add another exclusion to the state law that puts a 2 percent cap on local property tax increases.

The law already allows towns to exceed the cap to raise revenue for pensions, health care, debt, and emergencies.

Assemblyman Gary Schaer says the measure he sponsored would include an exemption for the matching funds towns must provide to get state and federal grants.

Assembly Budget Committee holds first of several hearings on the proposed budget.
Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are holding hearings on Governor Christie's proposed budget.

Assembly Budget Committee chairman Gary Schaer  believes lawmakers will tweak Christie's $3.5 billion spending plan.

"Our involvement is critical in terms of honing the budget. Some funds could be found here to cut. Some funds could be found here to expand."

Declan O'Scanlon is the ranking Republican on the Budget Committee. He says even if good ideas come up at the hearings, they'll be hard to fund because of the state's pension and health benefit obligations.

Three months before New Jersey’s primary election, a new poll shows that many residents are unsure about who they want to replace Governor Chris Christie.

23 percent of registered Democrats surveyed in a Quinnipiac University poll say they plan to vote for former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy in the primary. All the other Democrats in the race have single digit support.

On the Republican side Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno (gwah-DON-no) leads with 28 percent, a 10 point advantage over comedian Joe Piscopo who has not declared his candidacy.

Senator Gerald Cardinale
Phil Gregory

Donating blood or organs could get you a tax break in New Jersey.

Senator Gerald Cardinale is sponsoring legislation that would allow New Jersey taxpayers who donate blood at least four times a year to get a $100 state income tax credit.

“We need people to give blood. We should encourage it. People can give blood several times a year if they’re healthy. So, we thought good idea. Let’s create an incentive for people to do that.”

New Jersey could become the first state to offer a tax incentive to organ donors.

Senator Ron Rice
Phil Gregory

New Jersey has an old law banning students from bringing pagers to school without written permission from the school board.

Lawmakers are moving to repeal it.

Senator Ron Rice was the sponsor of the 1989 law that he says has outlived its usefulness.

“We were at a time when you didn’t have cellphones and all the text messages and things like that. So, the pager was really used by drug dealers to take advantage of kids to be their street runners and their salespeople, and they were disturbing the schools.”

Senator Ron Rice
Phil Gregory

Every student in every class should have a textbook, according to legislation approved by the New Jersey Senate.

Senator Ron Rice is the primary sponsor of the measure.  He says students shouldn't have to share a textbook.

"You need those books to do homework. You need the books to get the home support for education. In urban communities, particularly where you have the majority of minorities and immigrant population, there's no reinforcement of what takes place in the learning process in school in many cases."

food in trash can
United States Department of Agriculture

A package of bills advanced by a New Jersey Senate committee aims to reduce food waste and help ease hunger.

The legislation calls for an income tax break for businesses that give food to charitable organizations and liability protection for schools that donate edible items.

Paul Jensen with the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen says that would help food pantries.

Workers install solar panels at project being constructed at Delaware Valley Regional High School in Frenchtown.
Phil Gregory

Nationwide employment in the solar industry increased 25 percent last year, but solar employment in New Jersey fell 15 percent. There are still plenty of projects underway in the Garden State, but a slowdown may be on the way.

You can see solar panels on many rooftops, utility poles, and in fields in New Jersey.

There are 66,000 solar installations in the state that generate 2 gigawatts of electricity.

And more are being put up.

Senator Brian Stack
Phil Gregory

The New Jersey Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on a bill that would prevent landlords from requiring tenants to pay their rent with automatic electronic fund transfers.

Senator Brian Stack says he’s received hundreds of complaints about that practice.

“Many of these tenants might to looking to get repairs done in their apartment. Their only mechanism, the only hammer they have over a landlord’s head to get the repairs done, is to withhold their rents and use that rent to make repairs under New Jersey state law. They wouldn’t be able to do that.”

Senator Jennifer Beck
Phil Gregory

New Jersey’s ‘move over law’ could be expanded to include garbage trucks.

Drivers in New Jersey are already required to reduce speed and change lanes when approaching a police car, ambulance, or tow truck parked along a roadway with its emergency lights flashing.

Legislation sponsored by Senator Jennifer Beck would extend the law’s protections to sanitation vehicles.

‘I think it’s common sense and fairly simple, but has the potential to make a great impact locally for our public workers.’

The Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey opposes the measure.
Phil Gregory

A measure advanced by a New Jersey Senate committee would shift the management of the Police and Firemen's Retirement System from the state to the fund's board of trustees.

Senate President Steve Sweeney is the primary sponsor of the legislation.

"I don't think there's anything more important than what we can do right now but to give the people that are putting their money into the pension fund the ability to basically manage their money

The two unions representing police in that pension system support the measure, but firefighter unions are split.

The Senate Budget Committee voted to advance the legislation.
Phil Gregory

Governor Christie proposed it in his state budget -- and now the Budget Committee in New Jersey's Senate has voted to advance a measure allocating $400 million from the Transportation Trust fund for needed improvements.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says $140 million in gas tax revenues will go to New Jersey Transit for safety and technology upgrades.

"New Jersey Transit is a critical, critical component of our quality of life in this state. Getting dollars to them quickly so they can start maintaining their equipment better is critically important."

ormer Governor McGreevey and company officials at Trenton summit.
Phil Gregory

Employers, government officials, and some ex-offenders gathered for an Employment Opportunity Summit in Trenton to discuss how to help former convicts rejoin society.

Stefan Oberman is chief of staff at AeroFarms in Newark. He says from a business perspective hiring past offenders makes sense.

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