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

Top Democratic and Republican lawmakers in New Jersey's Assembly are joining to call for civility and respect in politics.

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick is urging those in leadership at every level of government to tone down the rhetoric.

"When public officials speak with disdain in their voice towards other public officials, that gives a license to the public to do the same, and even more."

Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto says politicians must work together to deal with the public's concerns.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering several measures to expand the state’s wine industry.

One of the bills advanced by the Assembly’s Agriculture Committee would make low interest loans available to farmers for preparing land and purchasing vines and equipment for new vineyards.

Another bill would provide tax credits for purchasing barrels, crushers, tanks, and other equipment for a new winery or making improvements at existing ones.

A bill advanced by a New Jersey Assembly committee would allow riders to use low-speed electric bikes on streets, bike paths, and sidewalks.

Assemblyman Tim Eustace believes the bikes with speeds under 20 miles an hour would be a good means of transportation for short distances.

"Around the world when you look in cities you see people using electric bicycles to get around town. It reduces traffic congestion. It reduces pollution. It gets people outside."

Assemblywoman Annette Chapparo has some concerns about allowing electric bicycles on sidewalks.

Even though he has some concerns about it, Governor Christie says he’ll consider a school funding agreement hammered out by Democratic leaders in New Jersey's legislature.

The plan would provide an additional $100 million in the state budget for underfunded school districts and reallocate $46 million in so-called adjustment aid to districts with increasing student enrollment.

Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto says it’s a good compromise.

Governor Christie is touting a new park project to help revitalize New Jersey's capital city.

A four-and-a-half acre strip of land along the Delaware River will be developed into a Trenton park.

Christie says the state Department of Transportation will use $15 million in federal funds to build a pedestrian walkway over Route 29 from the park to the roof of the Statehouse parking garage.

"It's going to provide access to a part of the Trenton waterfront separated from the downtown area since the 1950s when Route 29 was developed.

Governor Christie's voter approval rating is now at a record low.

Christie's rating is the worst for any governor in any state surveyed by Quinnipiac University in more than 20 years.

Only 15 percent of New Jersey voters approve of the way he's handling his job and 81 percent disapprove.

Pollster Maurice Carroll says 94 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of Republicans have a negative view of Christie's job performance.

"He's not well regarded even by his own party. And the way he's performing lately, he's irrelevant. He doesn't matter."

Bipartisan legislation proposed by several federal lawmakers would extend the U-S flood insurance program for six years and make some changes to discourage waste and abuse.

Louisiana U.S. Senator John Kennedy says the legislation would cap flood insurance premium increases for homeowners at 10 percent a year.

“That’s a big step because if you look at what we have now, flood insurance can go up 18 percent for a homeowner. And if it’s your second home or a commercial establishment, it can go up 25 percent.”

A New Jersey lawmaker says you shouldn’t have to take your cell phone, laptop, or tablet to a company-approved store for repairs.

Assemblyman Paul Moriarty has introduced legislation that would require electronics equipment manufacturers to make diagnostic and service documents and parts available to consumers and independent repair providers.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a new initiative to promote local art and help towns reinvigorate their business districts.

A bill advanced by an Assembly committee would encourage the state Commissioner of Community Affairs to help towns deal with the selection process and liability issues of having artists display work in the windows of vacant stores.

Ann Marie Miller with ArtPride New Jersey says that would show art galleries and gift shops the potential for opening there and also helps the artists.

The Higher Education Committee in New Jersey's Assembly has approved a resolution urging the appointment of a voting student representative to Rutgers' Board of Governors.

Suzanne Link is the legislative affairs chair of the Rutgers Student Assembly. She says current Rutgers students know best about the challenges they face and the services they value.

In New Jersey, it's illegal to take photos of your ballot in a voting booth and share it on social media. The state Assembly has passed a bill that would end that ban.

Assemblyman Raj Mukherji believes that 'selfies' in polling places should be allowed.

"Particularly these days when social media is the most accessible place for people to exercise their freedom of speech, we should be encouraging millennials to tout their political preferences or to display their pride in voting." 

A bill passed by the New Jersey Assembly would allow police departments to set up designated areas for the public to complete purchases made on craigslist or other internet marketplaces.

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker says having a lighted area on police department property that’s monitored with video cameras will make it safer for the buyer and seller to meet.  

The sale of real-looking toy guns could be banned in New Jersey if a bill passed by the Assembly becomes law.

Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver says the imitation weapons can be a hazard.

“Children were bringing them to school. They would sometimes intimidate other students. Their classmates did not know they were toys.”

Oliver says there could be tragic consequences if police don’t realize a gun a child is holding is a toy. And she says the replica guns have fooled crime victims.

The top Republican in New Jersey's Assembly has introduced legislation to stop very early marriages in the Garden State.

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick says his bill would ban anyone under 16 from marrying or entering into a civil union. 16 and 17 year olds could marry only if a judge finds clear and convincing evidence that a denial would cause them substantial harm.

Two New Jersey Senators want to hold landlords accountable for dangerous, unsanitary conditions in subsidized rental housing.

Democrat Ron Rice says the bill he's sponsoring with Republican Jennifer Beck follows investigations about deplorable conditions at rental complexes in Newark and Asbury Park.

"We have some units where the landlords continue over the years to flip properties, don't maintain them. You have roaches and rats and all kinds of violations taking place in these buildings, the ceilings falling."

Many New Jersey residents were upset when the gas tax was raised 23 cents a gallon last year to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund, but they didn’t take it out on lawmakers in the primary election.

Monmouth University political analyst Patrick Murray says all the state legislators who voted for the tax increase won.

“On the Republican side which is where there was some concern that it could hurt some incumbents there who has supported it, the turnout was so low that there just wasn’t much enthusiasm about voting about anything.”

Former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy has won the Democratic nomination in the race to succeed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

In his victory speech, Murphy says people all across New Jersey are demanding change and he’s here to change things.

“Four more years of Christie style politics won’t change New Jersey’s unfair, unsuccessful, unsustainable course but we will.”

Murphy says he’d fully fund education and put the state on the path to making full payments into the public employee pension fund. And he has a way to pay for it.

New Jersey lawmakers are hearing plenty of concerns about federal immigration agents entering state courthouses to arrest unauthorized immigrants.

It's not clear just how often that's happening, but advocates for immigrants say it's having a chilling effect.

Sara Cullinane is the director of Make the Road New Jersey that provides legal services to immigrants.

Legislation advanced by a New Jersey Assembly Committee would increase the penalties for domestic violence-related assaults. 

27-year-old Andrea Strony told lawmakers she was attacked by a boyfriend three years ago at her parents' shore house in Brigantine.

"He shoved me into the bedroom closet, repeatedly kicking me, closed fist punched me, attempted to choke me by pinning me against the slanted ceiling, all while saying some of the most horrific things I dare not repeat." 

A measure awaiting final approval in the New Jersey Senate calls for dedicating one percent of the state's cigarette tax revenue to anti-smoking initiatives.

Senator Brian Stack is the bill's primary sponsor. He says it would provide about $7 million for anti-smoking programs.

"When you look at the total amount of money that's spent in this state, I think this would be small and I think it would be something that definitely helps people. Whatever you can spend on prevention definitely helps down the road with treatment."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is criticizing a front-runner in the race to be his successor.

Phil Murphy has spent $20 million in his primary election campaign and polls show him with a commanding lead in the Democratic primary. If he gets his party’s nomination, he says he’ll accept public matching funds that would limit his general election campaign spending to $13.8 million.

Governor Christie believes that promise is meaningless.

Casino executives who have met with Governor Christie say they're more optimistic about Atlantic City.

Jim Murren, the chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, says he believes strongly in the future of the struggling city.

"We have a lot of ideas for Atlantic City. We're going to be working with our friends at Caesars to find out how we can move Atlantic City along. I will tell you it will not be easy, but we're up for the challenge."

Caesars CEO Mark Frissora says the company is seeing improvement in its Atlantic City properties.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wants to centralize the state government's information technology functions.

Christie says it's absurd that each state department has its own I-T staff and operations and he believes the Office of Information Technology could better perform those functions.

He says a lot of information from private citizens is safeguarded by state government.

A contaminated site in Trenton is among 179 nationwide to receive Environmental Protection Agency funding to clean up contamination.

A $200,000 grant will be used to get rid of petroleum at the former Federated Metals site with hopes of turning it into an industrial park.

Diana Rogers leads Trenton's Department of Housing and Community Development.

She says remediating contaminated properties helps cities offer sites for development.

Governor Christie says an Urban Blight Reduction Program will provide $11.5 million dollars for New Jersey's capital city to demolish about 500 vacant homes.

Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson says the abandoned and blighted homes stand in the way of bringing in developers to enhance the city.

"This is a game changer for us. It really gives us a unique opportunity to go into various neighborhoods. Instead of taking down one house here, one house there, we can focus on whole blocks at this point to revitalize city streets one block at a time."

Ortley Beach
NJ Department of Environmental Protection

A $128 million dollar beach protection project along 14 miles of New Jersey coastline will begin after the Memorial Day holiday.

State Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin says extending the beach farther out into the ocean will begin in Ortley Beach because water is lapping up against homes on that narrow section of shoreline.

"So any storm we have, any nor'easter we have, clearly those homes are in danger. We've had to help get them put more sand on that beach on a constant basis just to provide some basic protection over the last few years."

Gasoline prices are about four cents a gallon higher than a week ago, but you might not be seeing much more of an increase.

Tom Kloza is the global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey.

He predicts crude oil prices won’t be going up, and that should keep gas prices about where they are now for most of the summer, about $2.40 a gallon.

A bill awaiting final passage in the New Jersey Senate would require home health care aides to be paid $18 an hour.

The measure follows cuts in the reimbursement rate for personal care services funded through Medicaid managed care organizations.

Kearny resident Victor Muniz was injured in 2008 when a tree branch hit his head during a storm. He says home health care helped him with basic tasks and he's been able to graduate from college, get a job, and get married.

A bill introduced in New Jersey's Legislature would establish a system to track and analyze EMS crews' response to medical emergencies.

Assembly Health Committee chairman Herb Conaway is a doctor. He says the tracking system could help identify what procedures improve patient outcomes in emergency situations.

New Jersey officials say the beaches are in good shape for the start of the summer season and the ocean water quality is excellent. 

But President Trump's proposed budget would eliminate federal funds for the program that tests the water at more than 200 bay and ocean beaches in the state.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin says the state has all the money it needs to do that testing this year.

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