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

Congressman Frank LoBiondo
Phil Gregory

Two New Jersey Congressmen are re-introducing bills to legalize sports betting.

Legal challenges by sports leagues have blocked New Jersey from permitting sports wagering.

Congressman Frank LoBiondo says the Supreme Court will soon decide whether to consider the state’s appeal.

“So I think it’s important that the new nominee is confirmed so that if the high court decides that they will consider New Jersey’s case, that is the fastest route to us being able to get to what we want. Otherwise we’ve got to go through the legislative route.”

What’s the most important issue in deciding whom to elect as New Jersey’s next governor?

A Quinnipiac University survey of voters puts taxes at the top of the list.

Pollster Maurice Carroll says that’s their biggest concern for 26 percent of voters.

“There was one year many years ago when believe it or not auto insurance was the main issue, but poll in and poll out finds that New Jerseyans are concerned mostly about taxes.”

Some small business owners in New Jersey are urging Congress not to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Kelly Conklin owns Foley-Waite, a Kenilworth cabinet-making business.

He spends over $10,000 a month for health insurance premiums to cover him and ten employees. If the ACA is repealed, he believes the costs will increase.

Senator Joe Vitale
Phil Gregory

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to require high school students to be screened for the risk of substance abuse.

Senate Health Committee chairman Joe Vitale says his bill would have students in 9th through 12th grades answer questions about drug use as part of their annual health assessments.

           

Senator Jeff Van Drew
Phil Gregory

 

A measure awaiting final legislative approval in the state Senate would require all county governments in New Jersey to have a Code Blue plan in place to shelter homeless residents during severe weather events.

 

Mike Oppegaard is president of the New Jersey Association of Emergency Management Coordinators. He’s concerned about the costs of providing shelter and services if the severe conditions persist for several days. He wants lawmakers to consider state grants to offset that expense.

 

Steven Perskie and Chris Grimm testify at Assembly  hearing.
Phil Gregory

Daily fantasy sports games officially would be allowed and regulated in New Jersey if a measure advanced by an Assembly committee becomes law.

Participants in fantasy sports put together imaginary teams of real pro athletes, pay an entry fee, and then compete for prizes by getting scores based on statistics those athletes produce in real games.

Former New Jersey Casino Control Commission chairman Steven Perskie presented a legal saying  fantasy sports are games of skill and should not be considered gambling.

FieldTurf CEO Eric Daliere testifies at Senate committee hearing
Phil Gregory

The leader of a company that makes artificial sports fields told a New Jersey Senate committee allegations made in three-class action lawsuits are disturbing and inaccurate.

Newark schools, the borough of Carteret, and the owner of a soccer club in Clifton claim FieldTurf continued to sell its Duraspine product while knowing it was defective.

Eric Daliere, the chief executive officer of Field Turf, disputes claims that the fields are not living up to their 8 year warranty period.

NJ officials and fishing advocates oppose the proposed limits.
Phil Gregory

New Jersey officials say they’ll do everything they can to stop proposed regulations that could hurt the state’s fishing industry.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering increasing the minimum size and reducing the number of flounder that recreational fishermen in New Jersey can keep this summer.

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin told a crowd of fishermen in Point Pleasant Beach that the proposed new limits are based on unreliable data. He says he’ll fight to keep current regulations in place.

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo
Phil Gregory

A resolution introduced in the New Jersey legislature urges the Trump administration to oppose any measure that would prohibit states from conducting internet gambling.

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo says comments from Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, prompted him to seek clarification about what the administration might do.

Department of Education officials testify at legislative task force hearing
Phil Gregory

New Jersey schools have another six months to comply with a state directive to test their drinking water for lead contamination.

The New Jersey Department of Education says about half of its 586 school districts have completed their testing and 21 have reported elevated lead levels.

Project Manager Jim Palmer says the schools have to shut off contaminated fountains and sinks and come up with a long-term solution to resolve the lead problem.

New Jersey officials are assessing the beach erosion caused by the nor’easter earlier this week.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna says most of the state’s coastline suffered only minor or moderate erosion and there was no property damage.

He says the storm surge carved a 5 to 10 feet sand cliff in some oceanfront locations.

Coalition members outline their goals.
Phil Gregory

A coalition of more than 30 environmental, labor, and community organizations says climate change poses a massive threat to New Jersey and is urging the state to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase clean energy.

Dan Fatton is executive director of the Work Environment Council. He says the collation is a ray of hope in the Trump era.

Advocates express support for the measure.
Phil Gregory

Advocates are urging New Jersey lawmakers to enact proposed legislation that would help students trying to recover from drug addiction.

The measure would allow any child clinically diagnosed with substance use disorder to transfer to a recovery school that provides programs and peer support to help them stay off drugs.

Gina Vaccaro says her daughter returned to Livingston High School after completing an inpatient treatment program and the school board rejected her request to transfer the state’s only recovery high school in Roselle.

New Jersey Statehouse
Phil Gregory

New Jersey could become the first state to ban veterinarians from declawing cats.

A bill passed by the Assembly and awaiting action in the Senate would fine veterinarians as much as $2000 for performing the procedure unless it’s considered medically necessary.

Kathleen Schatzmann, the state director of the Humane Society, supports the proposed ban.

“It is an unnecessary surgery most often performed for convenience issues such as to address problems scratching of household furniture and it provides no benefit whatsoever to the cat.”

Senate Democratic leaders worry about Affordable Care Act repeal
Phil Gregory

 

Democratic leaders in the New Jersey Senate are troubled that one of President Trump’s first actions was signing an executive order that seeks the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says New Jersey would be hurt by the repeal of Obamacare and the accompanying expansion of Medicaid.

“It expanded health care for hundreds of thousands of people in this state and millions nationwide. And it’s not a game. We’re dealing with people’s lives right now, and it’s concerning.”

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."

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