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

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.

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.

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