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 lawmakers are considering a bill to expand participation in a program that provides breakfast to public school students in their classrooms.

The measure would require schools where 70 percent of more of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals to have a ‘breakfast-after-the-bell’ program.

Senator Shirley Turner says that would help ensure kids have enough food.

A bill to provide subsidies for nuclear plants and renewable power incentives is scheduled for a vote in the New Jersey Senate on Monday. It's not clear whether it has enough support to pass. 

Senator Bob Smith is one of the bill's primary sponsors, but he's not sure if he'll vote for it.

"I think the bill is still a work in progress. So, like any bill you want to wait until you see what is in the final bill. The bill started out tremendously with really good stuff. I'm really concerned about the solar portion at this moment."

Some New Jersey lawmakers are introducing legislation to ban the state's public employee pension funds from investing in companies that manufacture guns.

Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling is one of the bill's sponsors.

"I don't think gun manufacturers should profit from the pensions we have in the state of New Jersey and we want to set an example. I think if we're really committed to gun control, we need to have a starting point and move and continue forward."

Senator Vin Gopal says gun manufacturers should not benefit from pension fund investments.

The governors of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are forming a regional 'States for Gun Safety' coalition.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says more than 80 percent of the gun crimes in New Jersey are committed with guns from out of state.   He says the four states already have tough gun laws but believes they can be stronger.

“We’re working with the legislature to enact a whole series of steps, but it has to accept the reality that getting engaged with other like-minded states and hopefully beyond, we can mitigate this awful scourge.”

You don't have to travel very far to find potholes on New Jersey roadways.

New Jersey Department of Transportation spokeswoman Judy Drucker says it's shaping up to be one of the worst pothole seasons in years. State crews tackled nearly 35,000 of them last month.

"We've had frequent snow storms very early this winter. We had heavy rains, severe swings in the temperature, so it's been pretty rough on our roads. We've begin our statewide annual pothole campaign this year specifically because of that."

The first bill New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed since taking office restores nearly seven-and-a-half million dollars to Planned Parenthood and other women's health facilities.

"Today we are saying in a clear voice that New Jersey will once again stand for the right things. New Jersey will once again stand up for women's health. New Jersey will once again stand strong in support of Planned Parenthood and for reproductive rights." 

A week after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Governor Phil Murphy says his administration is making school safety a top priority in New Jersey.

Homeland Security Director Jared Maples says the state must strengthen prevention efforts to protect students.

For the first time in New Jersey’s 242-year history, the majority of a governor’s cabinet appointments are female.

Governor Phil Murphy has selected three more women for cabinet positions.

He’s nominated Zakiya Smith Ellis as Secretary of Higher Education.

She’s worked on education policy issues in Washington DC for the past decade and believes a powerful movement is brewing in the nation around the concept of free community college.

The federal Affordable Care Act provision imposing a tax penalty on those without health insurance expires at the end of the year. Some New Jersey lawmakers want to state to replace it with a mandate of its own.

Senator Joe Vitale says his bill would help the state's insurance marketplace remain vibrant.

A bill passed by the New Jersey Assembly would create a confidential registry of newborns diagnosed with sickle cell trait.

Assemblyman Herb Conaway says many people with sickle cell disease are not getting standard treatments for that condition.

“The hope is that by establishing the registry and having the Department of Health get in touch with those who have trait or who have sickle cell disease itself with messages about the kind of treatments they receive, we can empower patients to advance their own health with their physicians.”

 

Governor Phil Murphy is taking steps to ease overcrowding on New Jersey Transit trains.

Murphy says the public deserves immediate relief.

Acting Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scacetti says New Jersey Transit has been 37 train cars short of the number needed for full daily service.

She says 20 train cars that have been sitting in rail yards waiting for installation of Positive Train Control equipment are being put back in service.

Some New Jersey lawmakers are introducing legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Senator Bob Singer is one of the bill’s sponsors. He says decriminalization would keep people from being sent to jail, but he’s opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana use.

“Somebody said it would be good for tourism. Shame on us if that’s how we want to bring tourism in. Shame on us if that’s how we want to make money.”   

Manufacturing companies in New Jersey are asking state lawmakers for some changes to help them compete. And they're asking the legislature not to enact some measures they say they can't afford. 

Jim Minadeo is president of Zero Surge in Frenchtown, which makes electronic safety and surge protection devices. He says manufactures are having trouble finding the skilled labor they need for their workforce.

Advocates are proposing an action plan to eliminate childhood lead poisoning in New Jersey in ten years.

Ruth Ann Norton is president of the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative. She says more prevention efforts are needed so children don’t suffer learning disabilities and organ damage from lead poisoning.

“Kids poisoned by lead are seven times more likely to drop out of school. They will earn about a million dollars less over their lifetime. They will also face higher risk of hypertension, cardiac arrest, and early death.”

A New Jersey Assembly committee has passed a package of bills aimed at preventing students from becoming a victim of sexual misconduct.

The legislation would require school districts to provide instruction on sexual abuse awareness, the meaning of consent for sexual activity, and the consequences of distributing sexually explicit images through electronic means.

Sussex County resident Allison Pereira says when she was a high school sophomore, a topless photo she sent to her ex-boyfriend went viral on the internet.

A New Jersey Assembly committee has advanced legislation for a pilot program in selected school districts on how to identify and respond to child trafficking.

The International Labor Organization estimates 1.2 million children worldwide are forced into work or sexually exploited.

Nathanial Hirschman is with Project Stay Gold, a student organization working to raise awareness on human trafficking. He says teachers, administrators, and students need to learn about the dangers.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is creating a Commission on Puerto Rico Relief to help with the continuing recovery from Hurricane Maria.

Reverend Joshua Rodriquez is chairman of the commission. He says more than 30,000 thousand Puerto Rico residents staying in New Jersey after being displaced by the hurricane still need help.

A bill advancing in the New Jersey legislature would allow undocumented immigrants in the DACA  program to qualify for state financial aid to help cover the costs of college.

There are more than 22,000 DACA participants in New Jersey, the ninth highest number of the so-called Dreamers in the country.

Stephen Ruszczyk, a sociology professor at Montclair State University, says the legislation would help DACA students afford a college education.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy could face an uphill battle getting the legislature to approve a tax surcharge on income over a million dollars.

Senate President Steve Sweeney had been an advocate of a millionaires’ tax, but now says it’s the last thing he wants to consider.

He’s backed away from his previous support of the idea because of recent federal tax code changes that limit state and local property tax deductions.

New Jersey lawmakers want to extend more help to thousands of families struggling to make ends meet.

Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera says former Governor Chris Christie vetoed efforts by Democrats to boost the energy assistance payment that would help about 180,000 families qualify for more nutritional assistance.

"They have lost $90 per month in food benefits. This translates to a loss of 64 meals a month."

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is urging the legislature to send him a bill that would help homeowners cope with the new $10,000 federal limit on state and local property tax deductions.

Murphy wants towns to be able to establish charitable funds that pay for local services.  Homeowners would get credits on their property tax bills for the amount they donate.

Environmental activists in New Jersey are mobilizing against the Trump administration's plan to open nearly all of the nation's coastal waters to oil and gas drilling.

Leaders of environmental groups met on the boardwalk in Asbury Park to show their opposition to the plan.

Jennifer Coffey is executive director of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions. She says drilling for oil and gas off the Jersey shore could threaten marine life and hurt tourism.

A bill being considered by New Jersey lawmakers would prohibit the Motor Vehicle Commission from imposing a surcharge on drivers who have their license suspended for failing to pay a parking ticket.

The $250 surcharge for three consecutive years could far exceed the amount for the parking tickets.

The legislation would limit the penalty for driving with a license suspended because of a parking violation to a fine of $100.

Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll says that’s a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go far enough.

A bill advancing in the New Jersey legislature would authorize the state’s police and firefighters’ unions to manage their own pension funds.

Pat Colligan, the president of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, says the policy change would help the unions improve the performance of their funds.

“We looking to just modernize and be able roll into different investments as the markets dictate, make faster decisions.”

Former Governor Chris Christie vetoed a similar bill last year. 

A measure New Jersey lawmakers are considering is intended to eliminate surprise out-of-network medical bills.

The legislation requires health care facilities and professionals to disclose whether their services are covered by a patient's health benefits plan.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin says it puts limits on out-of-network charges for medically-necessary emergency care and services ordered by an in-network provider but not available at that facility.

New Jersey lawmakers are delaying action on a bill calling for subsidies to Public Service Enterprise Group to keep nuclear plants open in Salem County.

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel says additions to the bill are making it worse for consumers. He says it could increase costs for ratepayers by more than $4 billion over the next ten years.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation that would extend the Urban Enterprise Zone program for an additional ten years. 

John Moran with the New Jersey League of Municipalities says about six thousand businesses take advantage of the program that’s designed to help small businesses by allowing them to charge half the state sales tax rate.

The leader of the New Jersey Senate says a salary increase for New Jersey judges and cabinet officers is long overdue. 

A measure to give them raises will be considered by the Senate Budget Committee on Monday.

The $141,000 salary for the governor’s cabinet members, hasn’t gone up in 16 years. Senate President Steve Sweeney's bill would raise it to $175,000.

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to speed the timetable for getting all of the state’s electricity from renewable energy sources.

Assemblyman Tim Eustace says his bill would require 100 percent of the electric power sold in the state to be from clean energy sources by the year 2035.

“This bill had originally been 2050. But as we see technology change and European countries have already reached these goals, there’s no reason why we can’t reach for the same goals.”

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel says that could be hard to do.

Governor Phil Murphy says New Jersey will support efforts to permanently ban fracking in the Delaware River watershed.

Murphy says the gas drilling process that uses a pressurized liquid to fracture underground rock formations is one of the most dangerous threats in modern times.

“Fracking puts our health and safety and the health safety of our environment and our communities at risk. It is a direct threat to our water and runs counter to our values.”

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