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

Some New Jersey lawmakers and advocacy groups are urging the Christie administration to fill six vacancies on the 13-member Board of Nursing.

Avery Hart is a public member of the Nursing Board. She says insufficient staff and funding are holding up about 4,000 trained professionals awaiting their nursing license or home health aide certification.

In a rare summer session, New Jersey's Assembly passed several bills in response to the recent three-day government shutdown during the state budget impasse.

A measure requiring state beaches and recreation areas to remain open for the first seven days of a budget-related shutdown won unanimous support.

Assemblyman John McKeon says that would prevent inconvenience during a 4th of July Holiday weekend.

At a hearing in Trenton New Jersey lawmakers got an update on the progress of repair work at New York's Penn Station.

Amtrak vice president Mike DeCataldo says two weeks into the infrastructure renewal program, the track replacement work is going well.

"The progress we've made is better than we had anticipated. If we are able to complete this phase of the project sooner, we will roll into the next phase very quickly. It's kind of premature to say how much earlier we may or may not get done, but we are on plan and we are slightly ahead of schedule."   

Many towns and counties in New Jersey have local laws requiring address numbers to be displayed at homes and commercial buildings, but there's no statewide mandate.

That can cause problems.

Even with your GPS getting you close to it, locating an unfamiliar building can be difficult. Without seeing the address number you can't be sure you're at the right place.

Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty says it's more than an inconvenience.

A New Jersey Congressman's legislation calls for a three-year limit on the feds for demanding homeowners repay disaster recovery money.

Congressman Tom MacArthur says his bill would prevent FEMA from trying to recoup grant money many years after it was awarded.  

"What brought it to my attention initially was a single mom of a disabled child who had gotten a $40,000 grant from FEMA and about two years later FEMA came back and said they make a mistake, and they were demanding the money back. She had used the money to repair her home."

Drawing on economic data and insights from business leaders, a consulting firm is suggesting ways New Jersey can improve its economy.

Steve van Kuiken is a senior partner at McKinsey and Company. He says helping high-growth biotech, cybersecurity, and warehousing and distribution businesses navigate regulations and increase their access to capital will help turbo-charge the state's economic growth.

An analysis by an environmental group finds that 55 percent of the water in schools in New Jersey's most populous county show some level of lead contamination.

Schools had until last week to test their water for lead and Environment New Jersey director Doug O'Malley believes the results in Bergen County indicate what will be found statewide.

He says it's a wakeup call for the state to fund replacement of school water fountains and fixtures that contain lead.

Violating bans on smoking in public places in New Jersey towns could soon result in a fine instead of a disorderly person's charge.

The state Senate has given final legislative approval to a measure that Senator Bob Gordon says makes the penalty less onerous.

"If the municipalities choose to enforce it, the penalties would be civil as opposed to criminal. It is currently mandated in the statute that it's a low-level criminal offense, but still a criminal offense, and we thought that's a bit excessive."

New Jersey's Senate has unanimously approved bipartisan legislation to pay state workers for the days they were furloughed during the recent three-day government shutdown.

Chanting ‘It’s time of give us back our pay” unionized state employees rallied outside the Statehouse in Trenton in support of the measure they say will prevent them from losing money they depend on.

Senator Linda Greenstein says it's a moral obligation to get the measure to the governor's desk as quickly as possible.

Governor Christie has vetoed a measure requiring companies that transport crude oil and hazardous liquids on train cars to file detailed emergency response plans with the state.

Christie says he supports the legislature's effort to ensure state officials are prepared to respond to the discharge of hazardous materials, but says he can't sign the bill because of security and public safety concerns.

A coalition of parents and caregivers is urging Governor Christie to sign legislation expanding New Jersey's Family Leave program.

Jesse Burns, the executive director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey, says a few months after finding out she was pregnant, her mother-in-law was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

A new Monmouth University poll in this year's New Jersey governor's race shows Democrat Phil Murphy with a 27 point lead over Republican Kim Guadagno.

Poll director Patrick Murray says it’ll be an uphill battle for Guadagno to close that gap.

“The only thing that could happen within the fundamentals of this race is if the Republican brand starts to regain some credibility with voters here in New Jersey and Murphy simply just ignores the property tax issue and Guadagno continues to hammer away at her plan and voters start to tune into that.”

Advocates have some concerns about the Christie administration's proposal to transfer responsibility for mental health and addiction services from the New Jersey Department of Human Services to the Department of Health.

State Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett expects the move will mean a better coordinated system.

"What we currently have is a system where the patient has to navigate to the different providers. Now what we're doing is creating a system where the provider treats the whole person and has all of the resources that will be needed."

United States Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts are introducing legislation to help female inmates deal with the challenges of being imprisoned.

Jessica Jackson Sloan leads Cut 50, a bipartisan initiative to reduce the number of people in prisons and jails. She says incarcerated women face troubling choices.

A Monmouth University Poll finds New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's voter approval ratings remain in the cellar.

Only 15 percent of voters surveyed approve of the job Christie is doing.

Poll director Patrick Murray says photos of Christie on the beach with his family during the recent state government shutdown didn't help his public image.

The leaders of New jersey's legislature say state employees should not be penalized for the three-day government shutdown last week.

Senate President Steve Sweeney plans a Senate session Thursday to act on bipartisan legislation requiring the state to pay workers furloughed because of a delayed budget.

"It's just showing our intent for what we think is important. For the workers that should have been paid, this wasn't their fault that we had an impasse. We should pay them. It was in the budget. It's not like the money is not there."

New Jersey’s state government shutdown is over and state parks, recreation areas, and historic sites will be open on the Independence Day Holiday.

An agreement on legislation to change the way the state regulates Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield paved the way for Assembly approval of a new budget shortly after midnight.

“I declare the bill passed. New Jersey is back on.”

Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto says the Horizon measure puts a limit on the reserves the state’s largest insurer can keep.

New Jersey lawmakers who met with the top official of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield are optimistic about progress toward resolving differences that have shutdown state government offices for three days.

Lawmakers have been unable to come to terms on legislation to regulate the state’s largest insurer. Governor Christie wants a Horizon bill as part of a deal to approve a budget that would include additional spending Democrats have proposed.

After state lawmakers failed to pass a new budget by the midnight Friday deadline, Governor Chris Christie has signed an executive order shutting down state government.

Essential services including state police, prisons, state hospitals, and key child welfare services will remain in operation.

State recreational areas historic sites and parks are closed and public events there cancelled.

Christie says his family is at the state-owned Governor’s Beach House and might be the only family spending the holiday weekend at Island Beach State Park.

The prospect of a state government shutdown is looming in New Jersey because of the stalemate on enacting a new budget.

Governor Chris Christie says he's willing to sign a budget that includes additions Democrats want but only if they also send him legislation to limit the surplus Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield can keep and to transfer the lottery assets to the public employee pension fund.

"So now it's up to Speaker Prieto. If Speaker Prieto wants to close the government, this is going to be his decision."

A private New Jersey foundation that provides public policy grants says poor fiscal decisions are hampering the state's ability to pay for basic needs, and it’s recommending immediate changes.

The Fund for New Jersey says the most critical financial problem is funding the public employee pension system.  Rutgers University professor and fund trustee Henry Coleman says a balanced approach would include limiting retirees' health coverage commensurate with private employers. 

After a year of research, the New Jersey Campus Sexual Assault Task Force has issued a 39-page report on steps colleges must take to make campuses safer.

Patricia Teffenhart is executive director of the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the co-chair of the task force.  She says the recommendations include having every college conduct a sexual violence climate survey to get information from students, faculty and staff.

Students should know where they can confidentially report a sexual assault and have access to counseling and services.

Majority Democrats in New Jersey's Senate want more money in the state budget for a program offering financial aid and support services tor thousands of low-income college students.

Governor Christie's budget plan calls for a $3.5 million cut for the Educational Opportunity Fund. Democrats want to restore that and add another $1.5 million.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says funding for that program is a crucial part of the state budget.

A bill advancing in the New Jersey legislature would authorize the issuance of $125 million in bonds for the construction and expansion of public libraries.

New Jersey Library Association executive director Patricia Tumulty says the money would finance half the costs of building or repairing a library or making technology improvements and the local government would have to pay the other half.

As the June 30th deadline for enacting a state budget approaches, New Jersey lawmakers are also considering whether to pass several other controversial bills.

Democratic legislative leaders have been delaying action on a budget bill until they reach a compromise with Governor Christie on their proposal to increase state aid to schools.

After Democrats in the Assembly met for several hours in a closed-door session, Budget Committee Chairman Gary Schaer was optimistic.

Health care advocates are worried that the bill Republican U.S. Senators are considering would be a disaster for New Jersey.

Ray Castro with New Jersey Policy Perspective says eliminating Medicaid expansion and health insurance subsidies would reverse progress made under the Affordable Care Act.

“The current un-insurance rate of 10 percent would increase to about 14 percent by 2020 and 15 percent by 2026. That’s a 50 percent increase. The rate would actually be higher than it was before the Affordable Care Act.”

Governor Christie expects a new state budget will be enacted by the end of the month deadline.

Christie questions the specifics of the school funding proposal Democratic legislative leaders want resolved before acting on a budget bill.

But he's confident Democrats won't block a new budget and shut down state government.

"I don't think that the Democrats would be that irresponsible nor that politically stupid to close down the government in an election year. I just don't believe it will happen so I'm not worried about it."

Thanks to a higher gas tax, more than 925 road and transit projects are underway in New Jersey. Governor Christie is touting one set to improve a stretch of a heavily traveled highway in Mercer County.

Christie says the $15 million resurfacing of a five-mile portion of Interstate 95 through Ewing, Hopewell, and Lawrence will begin this summer and be completed in the fall of 2018.

New Jersey lawmakers want the federal government to reimburse the town of Bedminster and Somerset county for security costs when President Trump spends the weekend at his golf club there.

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano says if Trump visits the golf club seven weekends a year, it will cost the town an estimated $1 million over the next four years in overtime costs to help with security.

Most of those who testified at a New Jersey Senate committee hearing said they support legislation to legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and older.

Princeton psychiatrist Dr. David Nathan say there's no evidence marijuana is a gateway to using opioids or other drugs.

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