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

 

Governor Phil Murphy is ordering the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to fully implement a law enacted eight years ago to encourage the development of offshore wind projects.

Regulations to implement the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act and provide financial aid and tax credits to attract windmill developers stalled during the Christie administration.   

At the site of an onshore wind farm in Atlantic City, Governor Murphy signed an executive order to move ahead with the program.

New Jersey lawmakers want to increase the penalties to discourage third-party energy suppliers from taking advantage of consumers.

Assemblyman Ron Dancer says his bill would double the fines for “slamming”. That’s when a company or marketer changes a consumer’s electric or gas provider without their permission.

“They prey upon elderly, seniors, and those that maybe don’t have English as their first speaking language. Without their knowledge or consent these individuals are having their energy supplier changed and their rates increased.”

New Jersey could become the first state to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes.

Assemblyman Herb Conaway says the cooling effect of menthol allows smokers to inhale more toxic substances that cause health problems.

“Black males in particular are probably as a group the most affected by lung cancer related to smoking. Menthol cigarettes have been heavily advertised in black communities which in my view has led to this very high prevalency rate among black males.”

Governor Phil Murphy blames New Jersey Transit's management for the agency's problems. He's nominating a new executive director to help make it a system that commuters can rely on.

Murphy says undoing years of bad management and delayed capital investments will take some time.

"There are years of overlooked issues to account for. But with the right leadership, and we think we've got just that, we can yank this system back from the brink."

Long serving Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, says he will not seek re-election and will retire at the end of his term.

The New Jersey Republican was facing his first competitive re-election race in decades and joins a growing roster of GOP veterans who are heading for the exits.

Ben Dworkin, the director of the Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship at Rowan University, says Frelinghuysen’s retirement does not necessarily mean it’ll be easy for Democrats to win the district.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed an executive order directing the state to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. 

Former Governor Chris Christie pulled New Jersey out of the multi-state program in 2011.

Murphy says that was a retreat from a collaborative effort to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

Murphy says getting back in will restore New Jersey’s place as a leader in the green economy.

A measure being considered by New Jersey lawmakers would require public school districts to provide a daily recess period of at least 20 minutes for students from kindergarten through the 5th grade.  

Marybeth Beichert with the New Jersey Education Association told lawmakers that recess is beneficial for kids.

“It’s the only time that students get to be themselves and play and be free. Students need unstructured time to become well advanced in academics, social, and emotional behaviors in an otherwise very structured world that they sit in every single day.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says his administration will reverse the Christie administration’s regulations that make it easier to get a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

“New Jersey cannot and must not become part of the race to the bottom that we’re seeing across the country. There are already too many guns on our streets and simply adding more into the equation will not make us or our communities any safer.”

New Jersey lawmakers want to stop teachers who’ve abused children from moving unnoticed from one school district to another.

A bill advancing in the legislature would require public and private schools to disclose whether there were allegations of abuse or sexual misconduct against teachers they fired.

Liza Kirschenbaum with Court Appointed Special Advocates of New Jersey says on the rare occasions when a school employee has been involved in sexual misconduct with a student, it should be disclosed to other schools that might potentially hire that person.

A cost-control measure imposed by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie might be going away.

Melanie Schultz with the New Jersey Association of School Administrators says the cap on school superintendents’ salaries makes it difficult to retain top talent.

“We have lost many superintendents to neighboring states. It also is very important that communities’ elected boards of education or appointed boards of education have the right to decide on the compensation for their chief school administrator”

 

The flu is now widespread in throughout the United States. The CDC says every state except Hawaii is seeing a high number of cases. In New Jersey it’s causing a drop in blood donations.

 

Alana Mauger is the communications manager for the American Red Cross Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region.

 

She says you can’t donate blood if you have the flu or a cold.

 

New Jersey is joining 15 other states and the District of Columbia in a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program that provides temporary protection from deportation for immigrants who were children when they came into the United States illegally with their parents.

Governor Phil Murphy says if the DACA program ends, it would prevent some of the best and brightest from living their dreams.

“To deny every one of New Jersey’s 22,000 Dreamers the right to become American citizens is to deny justice.”

A measure to restore state funding for family planning services is making its way through the New Jersey legislature.

The Senate Health Committee voted to advance the bill that would provide nearly seven-and-a-half-million dollars in grants for family planning and women’s health clinics.

Former Governor Chris Christie eliminated the funding in 2010 and vetoed efforts by lawmakers to restore it.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is ordering a review of the state’s medical marijuana program.

Murphy says the Christie administration put roadblocks in place that have stifled the spirit of the eight-year-old program.

“The ability of dispensaries to open has been slow-footed.  Doctors have faced stigmatization for participating. And non-smokable and edible products that could benefit patients have been blocked from the market. Quite simply, politics replaced compassionate care.”

In 2011, then Governor Christie pulled New Jersey out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and vetoed three attempts by the legislature to rejoin it.

Lawmakers expect Governor Phil Murphy will be receptive to their latest effort to get back in.

Supporters and opponents for a measure that would require the state to be part of RGGI testified at a Senate Environment Committee hearing.

Environment New Jersey director Doug O’Malley says the RGGI program improves air quality and reduces pollution that contributes to climate change.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is ordering a full-scale audit of New Jersey Transit.

After recent disruptions for riders and longer commute times, Murphy says the public deserves a full accounting for how the once-model mass transit agency has fallen so far so fast.

Martin Robins is chairman emeritus of the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers. He says there have been a lot of studies and hearings on New Jersey Transit, but doesn’t believe they’ve revealed all the problems.

NJEA
NJEA for WBGO News

Chris Christie repeatedly blasted the New Jersey Education Association during his eight years as governor. The leader of the state’s largest teachers’ union and the new governor are indicating their relationship will be much different.  

Christie was a constant critic of the NJEA, calling it a political thuggery operation that rules by fear and intimidation. He claimed the union’s leaders put their own interests ahead of their members.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed an executive order directing the state comptroller to conduct an audit of the Economic Development Authority’s tax incentive programs.

Murphy says the EDA approved $8 billion in tax incentives since 2010 and the audit will compare the actual economic impact with the projected benefits when the awards were granted.

“We’re going to look back at the types of jobs that were created and where they were created. And we’re going to examine the entire application process including the fees that were paid to lobbyists and consultants.”

The future of New Jersey’s ad campaign to combat the opioid epidemic is being examined.

The state spent about $42 million on the ‘Reach NJ’ ads that featured former Governor Chris Christie telling people where to call for help.

“If you’re struggling with addiction, supporting someone who is, or just don’t know where to turn, don’t suffer. Help is within reach.”

Senate Health Committee chairman Joe Vitale says the state needs to determine whether the ads are having the desired effect.

 

Republicans in the New Jersey Assembly say they’re willing to work with Democrat Governor Phil Murphy, but they have concerns about the fiscal impact of his proposals.

Murphy has a progressive agenda that includes paying more to fund pensions and full funding for the school funding formula, universal pre-kindergarten programs, free county college tuition, and fixing New Jersey Transit.

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick says some of those proposals are good ideas, but believes they would cost 5-to-7 billion dollars.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is tightening the rules on the disclosure of gifts he can receive from personal friends

Murphy signed an executive order that makes a change in the governor’s code of conduct.

“The most meaningful tweak and this is one that I think is important is a very bright line distinction between preexisting relationships and folks that we’ve met in a political context.”

Murphy says if he were friends with someone at least three years before his inauguration, he would not have to disclose gifts they gave him. 

New Jersey now has the nation's first Sikh Attorney General.

There was no opposition when the New Jersey Senate voted to confirm former Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir Grewal as the state's top law enforcement officer.

Judiciary committee chairman Nick Scutari says he's confident Grewal is the right person for the job.

In his inauguration speech, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy vowed to take the state in a new direction.

Murphy promises a stronger and fairer New Jersey that creates better jobs and provides higher wages, funds public schools and delivers on the promise of property tax relief.

Murphy says he’ll put his ideals into his first state budget in a few weeks, but believes there’s no need to wait for that to alter the state’s trajectory.

Just hours after being inaugurated, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed his first executive order. It promotes equal pay for women.  

Murphy says the order prohibits any effort by a state agency to ask a job applicant about their wage history.

“Here and now we begin the process of bulldozing the roadblocks that have kept women from being paid fairly, that have kept many women of color from fulfilling their dreams of entering the middle class and that have allowed our wage gap to persist.”

The schools superintendent in Asbury Park is Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s choice to be New Jersey’s next Education Commissioner.

Murphy says Lamont Repollet is an educational leader who’s focused on students.

“What Dr. Repollet has accomplished is nothing short of a turnaround. Literacy rates are up. Test scores are up. Attendance is up. Confidence and morale among staff are up.”

Repollet says the long-term success of the state relies on the ability to provide children with access to quality education.

Governor-elect Phil Murphy wants to end the use of the standardized PARCC test in New Jersey.

New Jersey started using PARCC assessments to measure student skills in the 2014-15 school year.

At an elementary school in Asbury Park where he announced Lamont Repollet to be the next education commissioner, Murphy said it’s time to scrap those tests.

“We are asking Dr. Repollet to end the failed experiment that has been PARCC testing and create new more effective and less class time intrusive means for measuring student assessment.”

Governor Christie
Phil Gregory for WBGO News

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is now serving his final days in office. On Tuesday, Democrat Phil Murphy will be sworn in. With a bigger than life personality, Christie was hailed for his commanding leadership after Superstorm Sandy, but Bridgegate took its toll on his political viability.

He leaves office with historic low approval ratings for a governor. Political analysts say Christie made some big changes, many positive, but they say most residents are glad to see him go.

New Jersey doesn't mandate training on preventing sexual harassment for state lawmakers and their staff and some legislative leaders want that to change.

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin say it’s time to update the state’s policy that was enacted nine years ago.

Weinberg says the Me-Too movement shows women don't have to put up with sexual harassment.

Governor Christie and some of New Jersey’s federal lawmakers want the entire Atlantic Coast excluded from the Trump Administration’s plan to expand offshore oil and gas drilling.

The Interior Department granted a request from Florida officials to exempt that state from offshore drilling because it could devastate its tourism industry and coastal economy.

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez believes New Jersey should also be exempt.

Governor-elect Phil Murphy might not be getting speedy approval from the New jersey legislature for some of his priorities.
 
Murphy wants to impose a tax surcharge on millionaires and use the money to increase funding for public schools.
 
Senate President Steve Sweeney says state lawmakers won’t rush to do that.  He’s forming a panel of economists and tax experts to study the impact of federal tax changes that limit the deductions for state and local taxes and consider possible tax reforms.
 

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