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’s top law enforcement official is preparing for the possible legalization of recreational marijuana in the state.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal told lawmakers legalization would pose challenges for law enforcement.

“How do we assess drugged driving? What’s the metric for it? Do we have enough drug recognition experts to do this job?  Do we have to train up our officers on field sobriety testing procedures? Do we have to have more education and prevention efforts?

After years of vetoes by his predecessor, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed what he calls the most sweeping pay equity legislation in America.

“Closing the wage gap and ensuring that the only consideration literally the only consideration for deciding an employees pay is the job she was hired to do is not just a matter of fairness. But have no doubt it will also make our economy stronger" 

The Diane Allen Pay Equity Act is named for a former New Jersey state Senator who was a victim of pay discrimination.

An exotic East Asian tick that was not believed to exist in the United States until it was found in a pasture in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, in November has survived the winter.

And officials are now trying to wipe it out.

Manoel Tamassia is the director of the New Jersey Agriculture Department’s Division of Animal Health. He says the Longhorned tick is known to transmit diseases in East Asia, but no disease has been detected in the ones found in the state.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says planned improvements will bring some relief for hundreds of thousands of New Jersey Transit bus riders.

Kevin Corbett is New Jersey Transit’s executive director. He says the agency is recruiting 40 additional bus drivers and taking other steps to minimize bus delays.

“These enhancements will involve the adjustment of running times along with some additional buses with the additional bus drivers needed to provide bus stop arrivals more in sync with the actual time points on the schedule.”

Historic preservation advocates say a decision by New Jersey's highest court will make it difficult for churches to get the money they need to renovate their architecturally-significant structures.

The state Supreme Court has ruled that the Religious Aid Clause of New Jersey's constitution prohibits using taxpayer funds to repair and restore churches.

Courtenay Mercer, the director of Preservation New Jersey, says churches often appear on the group's annual list of the 10 most endangered historical places in the state.

As New Jersey awaits a ruling from the United States Supreme Court on whether sports betting will be allowed in the state, a bill introduced in the legislature would set some regulations for that wagering.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli says the bill has some rudimentary points on the operation and licensing of sports wagering activities and will be expanded depending on what the Supreme Court decides.

A New Jersey lawmaker has introduced legislation that would require pet groomers to be trained and licensed.

Senator Kip Bateman says his bill is a response to the death of three dogs in the past five months while in the care of groomers.

“Dogs are members of people’s families. They’re loved ones. When you drop it off at a groomer, you suspect that they’re going to be treated well. And there’s been some horrible stories in recent weeks about individuals dropping off their pets only to get a phone call saying come pick up your dog, it’s dead. I mean that’s outrageous.”

Governor Phil Murphy wants New Jersey to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

But indications are that won’t happen quickly.

Acting Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe told

lawmakers the nine other states in RGGI are ready to welcome New Jersey back but it’ll take a while to negotiate the specifics of the agreement.

The Administrative Director of New Jersey courts says the transformation of the cash bail system has eliminated injustices and created a fairer system.

Judge Glenn Grant says bail reforms that took effect last year mean defendants accused of low-risk crimes no longer have to sit in jail because they can’t afford to pay modest amounts of bail and those who pose a significant risk of violence can’t buy their way back onto the streets.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation to expand voter registration.

The new law automatically registers eligible residents to vote when they apply for or renew their driver’s license.

Murphy says registering to vote should be simple and seamless.

“We come at this from the point of view that the more people wo are eligible to vote the stronger out Democracy will be and the stronger our communities will be.”

A package of gun control bills continues to advance in the New Jersey legislature.

Six of the bills approved by a Senate Committee have already been passed by the full Assembly.

Senator Joe Cryan says his latest bill would make it a crime to illegally manufacture so-called ‘ghost guns.”

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to ensure that parents are better sports at their children's games.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli says parents can get overly involved in the sporting events their kids are participating in and physically attack the umpire or referee if they don't like a call. He's proposing tougher penalties for such behavior.

A New Jersey lawmaker is proposing cash rebates to get more zero-emission vehicles on the road.

Senate Environment Committee chairman Bob Smith says his bill would have the state provide rebates of $100 million annually for three years for consumers who switch to electric vehicles.

“I don’t say where the money is coming from because I’m not that smart. But I know we should be doing it if we want to get people into EVs. We have to start the discussion and this bill starts that discussion.”

Environment New Jersey director Doug O’Malley says it’s a good concept.

Applying for a driver’s license in New Jersey, or renewing one, would automatically register you to vote if Governor Phil Murphy signs a bill passed by both houses of the legislature.

The measure allows automatic registration to be expanded so it would happen when filing documents with other state agencies.

Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso is among the Republican lawmakers who voted against it, calling it costly and unnecessary.

Seven months before the election, a Monmouth University poll shows incumbent Democrat Bob Menendez with a big advantage over Republican Bob Hugin in the race for a U.S Senate seat from New Jersey.

Poll director Patrick Murray says 53 percent of registered voters say they’d vote for Menendez and 32 percent would choose Hugin.

A New Jersey lawmaker has introduced legislation that would allow cities and towns to seek voter approval for a local tax to fund arts programs and organizations.

Assemblyman Raj Mukherji says the tax would provide a recurring source of revenue for the arts in communities that decide to approve it.

“Take Jersey City in my home district, my hometown, we’ve got live-work spaces for artists, we’ve got zoning, we’ve got galleries. But we’ll never realize our true potential as an arts destination without a dedicated funding source. And this would allow that.”

Three months into his term in office, a Monmouth University poll finds New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is getting a positive rating from voters.

44 percent of New Jersey residents surveyed approve of the job Murphy is doing while 28 percent disapprove.

Poll director Patrick Murray says that’s a better rating than the previous two governors, Chris Christie and Jon Corzine, had at the same point of their terms.

The state Treasurer tried to convince them, but New Jersey lawmakers are reluctant to go along with the tax increases in Governor Phil Murphy’s state budget plan.

The proposed budget calls for about one-and-a-half billion in tax hikes including a surcharge on income over a million dollars and raising the sales tax back up to 7 percent.

Acting Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio says around $600 million of that would fund new spending.

Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey says he’s not sure why Governor Murphy’s proposed budget does not include money for the program he runs that helps former inmates get the documents and services they need to become productive citizens.

McGreevey told the Assembly Budget Committee he’s asking for $5 million to maintain and expand the program.

“We’re in the business of healing broken people, building families, and developing community. Some would state that reentry, we can’t afford it. I would say it’s a need not a want. We can’t afford not to do it.”

A bill advancing in the New Jersey legislature would force train companies to be more transparent about the transport of crude oil and hazardous substances.

The measure is intended to help protect communities if there’s a derailment.

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel says Bakken oil that’s carried on trains contains chemicals that could make it explode during an accident. He’s also concerned a spill could endanger nearby water supplies.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy traveled to the Asbury Park Middle School to sign an executive order that requires the state to keep the public informed about gun crimes.

Murphy says the order requires the state to issue monthly reports on gun crimes including the towns where they happened, the type of gun used, and the offense that was committed.

 

More young people in New Jersey might be able to vote in primary elections if a bill advancing in the legislature becomes law.

 

What’s called the ‘New Voter Empowerment Act’ would allow 17-year-olds to vote in a primary election if they’d turn 18 by the general election.

 

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow prison inmates to apply for student financial aid.

Highland Park resident Boris Franklin was in prison for 11 years and is now studying psychology at Rutgers. He started taking college courses while incarcerated and says education transformed a maximum-security prison into an institution of learning.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities will hold public hearings around the state as it reviews the response of utility companies to recent nor'easters.

A state lawmaker wants to require that power providers be better prepared for future storms.

Senator Shirley Turner says her bill would establish standards for every utility in the state on emergency preparation and restoration of service after a major power outage.

As New Jersey lawmakers hold hearings on Governor Murphy’s state budget plan, there are indications they’ll be making some changes in his proposed school funding.

Amy Jablonski is a school board member in Chesterfield. She says the state aid Murphy’s budget provides for that Burlington County school district is a punch to the gut.

Trees are blossoming later than usual this season, and that's given allergy sufferers a break. That respite is about to end.

Dr. Leonard Bielory is an allergy specialist who tracks the pollen count in New Jersey. He says colder than normal weather in March has delayed the release of tree pollen, but it will soon be intense.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy's proposed state budget includes $100 million to combat the opioid epidemic.

Murphy says $56 million would be used for drug prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.

"We know that coordinated approaches that bring together treatment including access to medication assisted treatment and peer-based recovery coaching can be highly effective."

The Governor says $31 million would be used to attack social risk factors that can lead to relapse.

A Monmouth University poll finds that three-quarters of the American public believe that the mainstream media reports fake news.

Poll director Patrick Murray says only 25 percent of those surveyed believe the term ‘fake news’ applies only to stories where the facts are wrong.

“One of the problems is fake news can be all sorts of things to people. A majority of folks said that fake news was the editorial decisions that the mainstream media made in terms of the kinds of stories they wanted to tell.”

Gas prices are up five cents in the past week making it more expensive to drive to your Easter Weekend destination.

Even higher prices are on the horizon. 

Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey, predicts gas prices could go up another 15 cents a gallon in the next three weeks.

“We’ll be switching in many places from winter gasoline which is less expensive to summer gasoline. So we’ll probably see the highest prices for regular gasoline that we’ve seen since 2014.”

For second consecutive year March was colder than February in the region.

It's only the fourth time that’s happened since 1895.  

The movements of the jet stream are responsible for the switch in the usual weather pattern.

New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson says the March chill has kept trees and plants from blooming and that may be welcome news for people with allergies.

"But I've seen it in the past where things are delayed until the end of the second week of April and then everything bursts out at once."

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