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

Senator Ray Lesniak
Phil Gregory

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to change one of the state’s toughest gun laws.

Legislation introduced by Senator Ray Lesniak would eliminate the mandatory minimum three-to-five year sentence for unlawful possession of a handgun and leave the punishment up to a judge.

He says legal gun owners, many from out of state, with no intention of committing a crime, should not face that harsh penalty.

Assemblyman John McKeon
Phil Gregory

Legislation being considered by New Jersey lawmakers would require residential and commercial properties with a lawn-sprinkler system to install a rain-sensing device before that property could be sold.

Assemblyman John McKeon says it's abhorrent to see sprinklers going off in a rainstorm.

"As water continues to become more precious and scarce, per gallon it's a lot more expensive to waste it, so whatever initial cost there might be for sensors it'll be easily recouped in a very short time."

Assemblyman Troy SIngleton
Phil Gregory

A bill advanced by the Assembly's Environment Committee would prohibit public schools and colleges in New Jersey from selling food in foam containers.

Assemblyman Troy Singleton says food remains on them, making the polystyrene containers difficult to recycle, so most recycling places won’t take them.

He says the foam products take years to degrade and small pieces end up littering streets and waterways.

"Because this stuff gets thrown out and finds its way into our waterways, by 2050 which isn't that far off we will have more plastic in our ocean than fish."

Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak
Phil Gregory

Some New Jersey lawmakers are proposing legislation they say would balance the responsibility between drivers and pedestrians.

Current law gives pedestrians the right of way, but Assemblyman Bruce Land says some people don't pay much attention when they want to cross the street.

"People up and down the streets, they'll just cross right in the middle of the street without even looking. We're trying to get the onus on you have to cross in certain areas and make sure you look both ways so it's not just put right on the drivers.

Ignition interlock device displayed at  Assembly committee hearing.
Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are considering changing the state's drunken-driving laws to increase the use of devices that require a breath sample from a driver before allowing a vehicle's engine to start.

Assemblyman Joe Lagana says his bill would cut driver's license suspension times for those convicted of drunken driving, but mandate installation of ignition interlock devices.

Ignition interlock device displayed at Statehouse hearing,
Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are considering changing the state's drunken-driving laws to increase the use of devices that require a breath sample from a driver before allowing a vehicle's engine to start.

Assemblyman Joe Lagana says his bill would cut driver's license suspension times for those convicted of drunken driving, but mandate installation of ignition interlock devices.

David Sciarra testifies at Assembly Education Committee hearing
Phil Gregory

The New Jersey Assembly has launched hearings to examine how to revise the school funding formula of 2008.

David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center, told the Assembly Education Committee the Christie administration has repeatedly failed to provide money in the budget to fully fund the formula.

He says Christie's proposal for state school aid to be based on an equal per pupil amount in every district would turn the clock back 50 years.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno announces her candidacy in Keansburg
Phil Gregory

The woman who's been New Jersey's Lt. Governor for the last seven years, has kicked off her campaign to replace her boss in 2018.

In her first campaign speech, Kim Guadagno told supporters in Keansburg that she wants to be governor because she believes the state can do better.

"You want your governor to be committed to making New Jersey a place for families, who strives to do better, who answers the phone, who is there in a crisis, who walks in your shoes, who cares fearlessly and without exception about you, and only you."

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick
Phil Gregory

A New Jersey lawmaker says the explanation of benefits that insurance companies send to patients contain message codes that are difficult for consumers to understand.

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick says it's irritating to get pages and pages of confusing information about why a medical bill hasn't been paid.

"I think it can frustrate people to the point where they don't know what to do. They end up maybe they don't provide the documents that the insurance company needs because they can't quite figure out what they need."

New Jersey Statehouse
Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a measure to help make sure people with disabilities are allowed to take a service dog into public places.

Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt says her bill calls for fines up to a thousand dollars for denying that access.

“The American Disabilities Act allows for service dogs to be with their owner to various locations, be it a restaurant, be it department store. However, those within the general population don’t always understand where service dogs can reside.”

Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli
Phil Gregory

One Republican candidate for governor of New Jersey is scaling back his campaign. Another is just getting into the race.

Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli says he's planning to limit his campaign appearances to two or three days a week because he's having side effects from radiation therapy after surgery for throat cancer.

"I thought I would be one of those people who would get through radiation therapy entirely without feeling the most significant aspect of those side effect challenges. I'm not."

State Treasurer Ford Scudder testifies at Senate committee hearing.
Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are questioning the Christie administration's proposal to spend $300 million on renovating the Statehouse in Trenton.

Senator Jim Whelan is among the members of the Senate Economic Growth committee who wonder if a less costly project could adequately resolve the building's safety hazards.

"Is there a sweet spot below the $300 million and above doing nothing that addresses the safety issue, that maintains the architectural and historic integrity and so on and so forth? I don't know if that's $125 million or $150 million or $75 million.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Phil Gregory

Governor Christie will deliver the final budget proposal of his time in office when he speaks at another joint session of the New Jersey legislature next month.

Senate Budget Committee chairman Paul Sarlo says the governor did not give many indications in his state-of-the-state speech about any new policy proposals that might be included in the budget plan.

Jersey Shore coastline
NJ Department of Environmental Protection

The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $92 million contract for the last major portion of a coastal protection system along the Jersey Shore.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin says constructing large, wide beaches along 14 miles of the Barnegat peninsula in Ocean County will prevent the kind of damage caused by Superstorm Sandy's storm surge.

Martin says 110  beachfront property owners in Bay Head, Mantoloking, and Point Pleasant Beach have still not granted easements needed for the dunes to be built.

Governor Christie speaks to joint session of NJ legislature
Tim Larsen/Governor's Office

Governor Chris Christie devoted his final state-of-the-state speech to outlining a plan to fight drug addiction.

Christie told a joint session of the New Jersey legislature that addiction is the single most important issue he wants to address in the final year of his term.

"I will not have the blood of addicted New Jerseyans on my hands by waiting to act. I will not willingly watch another 1,600 of our citizens die and watch their families mourn and suffer."

Governor Christie signs the legislation
Phil Gregory

Governor Chris Christie has signed legislation to add 20 new judges to New Jersey's courts.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says the additional judges are needed to support criminal justice reforms that took effect this month requiring swift action in pretrial proceedings and bringing cases to trial sooner.

"This can't fail. You know there's a lot of people that want this to fail. You saw not too long ago some possible legislation to bring back cash bail. There is a business of poverty and preying on the poor shouldn't be accepted by government."

Theresa Carroll and Gary Brozowki react to getting birth records.
Phil Gregory

More than 1200 adults adopted as children have filed to obtain birth records under a law that took effect in New Jersey at the beginning of the year.

Two got their birth certificates at a Statehouse event marking the change in policy that had limited access to the sealed records.

East Islip, New York resident Theresa Carroll says her parents told her 45 years ago that she was adopted and she hopes that finally getting information about her birth parents could help link her to other family members.

NJ Department of Transportation salt spreader
New Jersey Department of Transportation

The New Jersey Department of Transportation says it's prepared to deal with winter storms.

DOT spokesman Steve Schapiro says 2700 pieces of equipment are available and more than 200,000 tons of salt are stockpiled to deal with snow and ice on the highways.

He says the state tries to deploy salt trucks and plows where they’re most needed.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation to encourage the development of tiny homes to help meet the needs of the homeless and low-income residents.

Under the plan, towns in three regions of the state would be tapped for a pilot program that awards grants to qualified applicants who build homes with less than 300 square feet of interior floor space.

The towns would be get two credits toward their affordable housing obligation for each of tiny houses built.

More than 450 people with post-traumatic stress disorder have enrolled in New Jersey's medical marijuana program since that mental health condition was added as a qualifying illness in September.

Ken Wolski, the executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey, says a panel of medical experts is now considering patients' requests to include other medical conditions including chronic pain.

Governor Christie signs the legislation
Tim Larsen/Governor's Office

Governor Christie has signed legislation to help small businesses in New Jersey.

Christie says the measure directs the state Economic Development Authority to support small businesses and assist them in securing surety bonding.

"This is an important but little discussed issue. When you're going for federal and state contracts, you need to have that bonding, and small businesses often don't have access to it. The EDA is now going to provide opportunities for that so these entities can now more easily bid on federal and state contracts."

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick
Phil Gregory

The top Republican in New Jersey's Assembly is not running for governor.
 
Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick has long supported Governor Christie but says Christie's declining popularity was not a factor in deciding against entering the race to replace him.
 
"This has nothing to do with Governor Christie, whether he's popular now or popular after Sandy. This has to do with my own personal decision to stay as Republican leader."
 

Phil Gregory

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to keep police uniforms out of the hands of criminals.

Legislation introduced by Assemblyman Ron Dancer would require businesses that sell police uniforms to verify that buyers work for a law enforcement agency.

"In this terroristic era that we're all living in we need bills like this to be able to have a pre-emptive strike to go after to anyone who is attempting to purchase a law enforcement uniform and be a lookalike cop and then just simply slip through our security points."

Phil Gregory

Urban enterprise zones that allow businesses to charge a reduced sales tax expired in five New Jersey cities on December 31st, but legislation to renew them for two years isn't dead yet.

Governor Christie has until the end of the month to decide whether to sign the measure that would allow the UEZ’s in Newark, Camden, Trenton, Bridgeton, and Plainfield to continue and make the tax reduction retroactive to January 1st.

Michael Darcy, the executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, says the uncertainty is tough on businesses located in those zones.

gas nozzle in tank of car
Phil Gregory

It could cost more to gas up the car in 2017.
 
After a 17 cents a gallon increase in the past month, the seasonal reduction in driving could keep the price from rising--- at least in the first few weeks of the new year.
 
That’s the prediction from Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey.
 

New Jersey Statehouse dome
Phil Gregory

The legislation that raised New Jersey’s gas tax 23 cents in November also includes some tax cuts that take effect at the start of the new year.

Chris Christie
Phil Gregory

Despite some setbacks this week, political analysts say don't count out Governor Christie when it comes to getting some priorities enacted in the final year of his term.

Christie couldn't get lawmakers to pass a bill allowing towns to put legal notices on their websites instead of paying to publish them in newspapers. And a measure that would have allowed him to profit from a book deal was declared dead.

Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Peter Woolley says Christie's lame duck status and his low 18 percent voter approval rating erode his political leverage.

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