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 expected to consider legislation in the new year to legalize recreational marijuana in the Garden State.

One shore town doesn't want marijuana sales within its borders.

The Point Pleasant Beach council has passed an ordinance that bans marijuana dispensaries.

Mayor Stephen Reid says they would not be a good fit for his community.

The new year will bring some tax changes in New Jersey.

A 2016 law that raised the state tax gas also provides for tax breaks taking effect January 1st.

Senator Steve Oroho says for residents 62 and older, the amount of pensions and other retirement income excluded from the state income tax goes up to $45,000 for individuals and $60,000 for those who file joint returns.

"I actually do think It'll keep more people here in the state. Our retirees do want to stay around by their families."

The estate tax will be completely eliminated.

The leader of the New Jersey Senate says lawmakers will hold a hearing to examine insurance products being offering by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says he wants to make sure insurance companies aren’t making enormous profits at the expense of quality health care for consumers.

“Horizon dominates the market right now. They have more than 50% of the market and they’re coming out with another product to deal with Medicare. And we want to know the impacts of these products for consumers and hospitals.”

New Jersey’s minimum wage goes up to $8.40 an hour at the start of the new year.  A constitutional amendment voters approved in 2013 ties the base pay to inflation. Larger increases could be on the way.

Analilia Mejia, the director of the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, says the 16 cent an hour increase that takes effect January 1st is not enough in a such a high-cost state.

“Think about, how much people have to pay for rent and transportation and food and child care. You’re finding yourself in a situation where it’s impossible to make ends meet.”

Governor-elect Phil Murphy has selected the EPA’s regional administrator to lead New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection.

If she’s confirmed as DEP Commissioner, Catherine McCabe says one of her priorities will be focusing on climate change.

“It’s over time for us to start taking some action on that and to building up the shore resiliency. There have been a lot of efforts. The federal government has been part of that as well as the state, but we haven’t done enough and we haven’t done it fast enough.”

After a five-hour hearing on the measure, legislation that could impose a surcharge on electric customers to keep three nuclear plants open in South Jersey has been advanced by a joint Senate and Assembly committee.

Public Service Enterprise Group says the nuclear plants could become unprofitable in two years and be shut down.

Ratepayer advocate Stefanie Brand worries the legislation could cost ratepayers over $300 million a year. She says there’s no evidence to demonstrate subsidies are needed.

New Jersey Governor-elect Phil Murphy continues his theme of diversity in selecting members of his cabinet, nominating a Cuban-American Assemblywoman to be the next Commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance.

Assemblywoman Marlene Caride says she'll work to ensure New Jersey residents are treated fairly by lending institutions and insurance companies.

New Jersey lawmakers will hold a hearing tomorrow on a bill that calls for raising the cost for electricity customers to keep two nuclear plants in Salem County open. 

Public Service Enterprise Group CEO Ralph Izzo told lawmakers earlier this month that the nuclear facilities could become unprofitable to operate in two years and might have to be shut down.

Governor-elect Phil Murphy supports the objective of keeping the nuclear plants open as long as they can be operated safely.

Local government officials in New Jersey are urging Governor-elect Phil Murphy to support permanently extending the 2% cap on police and firefighters salary increases when contract disputes go to binding arbitration.

The cap is set to expire at the end of the year and Democratic legislative leaders are waiting to hear whether Murphy supports it before taking action to extend it.

Murphy is awaiting a final report from a commission studying the cap before making his decision.

Republican Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon doubts that report will ever come.

Governor-elect Phil Murphy is nominating a former Passaic County freeholder and administrative law judge to be New Jersey’s next Secretary of State.

If she’s confirmed by the state Senate, Tahesha Way will oversee New Jersey’s Division of Tourism, all state historic and cultural commissions, and the Division of Elections.

Murphy says he’ll ask her to take the lead in efforts to modernize and expand the ability of residents to cast their votes.

The New Jersey Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing Monday on legislation that would require the state Attorney General’s Office to operate a statewide gun buyback program.

Ten occasional buyback events were held over the past five years in various parts of the state allowing citizens to turn in firearms for cash payments.

Senator Linda Greenstein says her bill would requiring nine gun buyback events every year.

Know somebody who's sick? It could be the flu that's starting to show up in New Jersey.

Dr. Bradley Pulver is the director of emergency services at Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township.

“We’re starting to see some cases over the last couple of weeks, but there is concern that it is going to be a worse than usual flu season. It’s very widespread in many of the southern states and the expectation is it’s going to hit here very hard over the next few weeks.”

And that could be troublesome.

A measure to help combat opioid overdoses is awaiting final legislative approval in the New Jersey Senate.

Senator Colin Bell says his bill would allow emergency personnel to administer multiple doses of an opioid antidote to overdose victims.

More than 94,000 New Jersey residents with criminal convictions are not allowed to vote.  Civil rights groups are pushing for that to change.

Blacks make up about 15 percent of New Jersey's population but represent about half of those who cannot vote because of a criminal conviction.

Senator Ron Rice says that disproportionately reduces the political power of black communities because of systemic racism in the criminal justice system. 

A former Rutgers student has pleaded guilty to launching the cyberattacks that shut down the server used for communications between faculty and students. 

William Fitzpatrick is the acting U.S Attorney in New Jersey.  He says 21-year-old Paras Jha of Fanwood was a student at Rutgers when the attacks occurred between November 2014 and September 2016.

New Jersey Governor-elect Phil Murphy has selected a member of the Assembly to be the next state Treasurer.

Murphy says Assemblywoman Elizabeth Muoio is the right person to help him with his first order of business when he takes office in January, preparing a balanced budget and growing the economy with policies that support the middle class.

Murphy wants New Jersey to return to being the state it was years ago.

After six years of increases, participation in the school breakfast program in New Jersey fell by two percent this year.

Cecilia Zalkind , the president of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, says some schools are backing away from serving breakfast in the classroom during the first few minutes of the school day.

“There are leadership changes. There are people who have this perception that it’s too difficult to do that. And our experience is this is it. This is the way to reach the most kids.”   

New Jersey could become the first state in the nation to have a Sikh-American as its Attorney General.

Governor-elect Phil Murphy is nominating Bergen County Prosecutor and former Assistant U-S Attorney Gurbir Grewal to be New Jersey’s top law enforcement official.

Murphy believes Grewal will protect immigrant communities from discrimination, stand up for the LGBT community, protect air and water from a hostile EPA, and defend New Jersey’s gun laws.

Alcoholic beverages might be available at more New Jersey theaters if a bill passed by a state Senate committee becomes law.

New Jersey law now allows non-profit corporations that conduct musical or theatrical performances in a theater with at least a thousand seats to apply for a special liquor license.

Senator Patrick Diegnan says his bill would lower the threshold.

Legislation advanced by a New Jersey Senate committee would allow towns to use digital parking meters, but those meters would not be permitted to issue an electronic summons for parking violations.

Dan Phillips with the Administrative Office of the Courts says a pilot program in Palisades Park that allowed digital meters to automatically issue summonses resulted in a big increase in tickets.

New Jersey may soon have its first statewide law to regulate the use of drones.

Senator Paul Sarlo says the drone industry is growing fast and and it’s time to regulate the unmanned aircraft systems to prevent problems.

His bill would make it a disorderly person’s offense to operate a drone while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

A measure advancing in the New Jersey legislature is intended to prevent fast spreading fires like the one that swept through an apartment complex in Edgewater three years ago, displacing more than 500 residents.

The legislation would limit the height of multi-unit residences constructed with lightweight wood frames.

Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto says sprinkler systems would be required in confined areas.

New Jersey’s Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission has issued its final report on reforms it says are needed to prevent public employee benefits costs from overtaking other budget priorities.

Commission member Tom Healey says despite unprecedented levels of funding and the dedication of the state lottery to the pension plans, the state’s estimated unfunded liability is now $90 billion, $10 billion more than in 2014.

A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll finds a majority of New Jersey residents believe opioid addicts suffer from a treatable disease rather than a lack of self-control.

Only 20 percent of New Jersey adults surveyed say they’d oppose having a treatment center in their community for those addicted to painkillers while 72 percent would support it.

Fairleigh Dickinson pharmacy practice professor Anastasia Rivkin says that’s a shift in public perception. 

A New Jersey lawmaker has introduced legislation that would eliminate the $10,000 limit on the amount of property taxes that can be deducted on state income tax returns.

Republican Senator Joe Pennacchio says allowing the full amount of property taxes to be deducted on New Jersey tax returns would soften the blow of Congress’s plan to limit federal tax deductions. And he hopes Governor-elect Phil Murphy supports it.

A New Jersey lawmaker has introduced legislation to ban nondisclosure agreements that conceal the details of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg says keeping sexual harassment settlements secret allows perpetrators to continue their abusive behavior.

“Their names are never put out there. Companies continue sometimes to cover for them, continue to provide the resources to settle the lawsuits, and the environment is not changed because the perpetrator is not punished in any way.”  

New Jersey lawmakers are examining whether to act in the final weeks of the legislative session to provide some financial help for nuclear power plants in Salem County.

Public Service Enterprise Group CEO Ralph Izzo says low natural gas prices have hurt the profitability of the Hope Creek and Salem nuclear power plants and he might shut them down in two years.

“We believe it is cheaper to keep nuclear power than to watch it close. We are not asking for a bailout. We’re asking you to join us in correction of these market flaws.”

A multi-agency task force has arrested 79 alleged child predators in New Jersey.

Two new things helped uncover the evidence.

For the first time, a new mobile forensics lab was deployed to assist authorities who executed search warrants at suspects’ homes.

Lt. Jon Powers is the supervisor of the cybercrime unit.

“There’s a lot of sensitive electronics, very expensive devices. Being able to keep them inside our own controlled facility makes everything that much better for us. It also expedites the discovery of the evidence that we might be looking for”

New Jersey is considering banning the sale and possession of a firearm accessory that was used in the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas two months ago.

Bump stocks can allow semiautomatic weapons to fire more rapidly. Assemblywoman Annette Quijano says that puts law enforcement and residents in greater danger.

“There’s no need for bump stocks as accessories to be anywhere in New Jersey. The state of New Jersey bans bump stocks for a reason, they’re weapons of war.”

Dolores Phillips with the Ceasefire New Jersey gun control group supports the measure.

Some New Jersey lawmakers are proposing legislation to give residents the constitutional right to a healthy environment.

Assemblyman Tim Eustace says the constitutional amendment would require government officials to ensure that any action on development protects the environment.

“With the climate in Washington we have to make sure New Jersey protects itself. We have more Superfund sites than any state in the country. As the EPA is dismantled, we need to protect ourselves.”