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

Rosemarie D'Alessandro
Phil Gregory

The New Jersey Assembly has unanimously approved legislation that calls for life imprisonment without parole for the murder of anyone under the age of 18 during commission of a sex crime.

The measure expands what's known as Joan's Law, named for a 7-year-old Hillsdale girl who was sexually assaulted and killed by a neighbor in 1973.

Her mother, Rosemarie D'Alessandro, says the denial of parole eligibility now applies to such crimes involving victims under 14.

A bill advancing in the New Jersey legislature would require water companies to determine how much water is lost because of leaks and breaks in aging pipes every year.

Natural Resources Defense Council attorney Larry Levin told an Assembly committee such audits can guide efforts to control water loss.

"There are 130 million gallons of treated drinking water we estimate lost each day across the state. And of that about 50 million gallons per day valued at $10 million a year are likely to be cost effective for utilities to reduce to solve that loss."

NJ Association of Counties executive director John Donnadio
Phil Gregory

The Council on Local Mandates hears oral arguments tomorrow on a motion by the state of New Jersey to dismiss a challenge of the bail reform law that took effect in January.

The New Jersey Association of Counties claims the law is an unconstitutional unfunded state mandate because counties have had to spend more than $35 million on personnel and improvements to implement it.

In December the council denied the counties' request for a preliminary injunction to stop the law from taking effect.

A New Jersey Assembly committee wants to end a requirement that high school students pass the standardized PARCC test to graduate.

Assemblywoman Mila Jasey says she introduced the measure because she believes regulations adopted by the state Board of Education last year are inconsistent with legislative intent.

"The PARCC exams to my understanding were always meant to assess and inform instruction, not to make decisions about graduation."

Jamie and Christopher Bruesehoff
Phil Gregory

A package of bills advanced by a New Jersey Assembly committee would give transgender residents some protections against discrimination.

The measures help establish a transgender equality task force, provide access to business assistance programs, and prohibit health insurers from denying coverage based on gender identity.

Vernon resident Jamie Bruesehoff has a 10 year-old transgender daughter.

Assemblyman John McKeon
Phil Gregory

An Assembly committee will consider legislation on Monday that would require candidates for President to disclose their federal income tax returns to get on New Jersey's ballot.

Donald Trump refused to release his tax returns during the Presidential campaign.

Assemblyman John McKeon says his bill is intended to make sure that doesn't happen in the future.

"I think it's very important from a transparency perspective for the voters to have that information and if our society norms aren't going to force the issue, then we need to do so as a matter of law."

Sandy-damaged homes.
Phil Gregory

Governor Christie has signed legislation to prevent mortgage foreclosures on homes damaged more than four years ago by Superstorm Sandy.

Amanda Devecka-Rinear directs the New Jersey Organizing Project founded by those affected by Sandy. She's relieved the governor approved the measure.

"I am so incredibly glad that we're going to see some relief for families. I am only sad that this didn't pass even two years ago because I know as many people as it will help there are a number of families for whom this is too late."

Governor's office entrance
Phil Gregory

The primary election in New Jersey's governor's race is four months away.

Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll director Krista Jenkins says most registered voters are unsure who should replace Governor Chris Christie.

“50 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans say they don’t have a clue with about 1 in 7 in both groups who would prefer someone other than those who have already declared or are at least thinking about throwing their hats into the ring.”

Phil Gregory

Mayors who held their annual meeting with legislative leaders at the New Jersey Statehouse want to know how funding for transportation projects will be distributed.

Fanwood Mayor Coleen Mahr says a case-by-case process is not the way to determine if the state will reimburse a municipality for costs resulting from Governor Christie's shutdown of road projects during last year's impasse on replenishing the Transportation Trust Fund.

Governor Christie has signed legislation requiring New Jersey regulations on elevated lead levels in children's blood to be consistent with federal guidelines.

Ann Vardeman with New Jersey Citizen Action says that's a good move.

"This is what the science has shown is that smaller levels of lead can caused damage in children than what was previously thought. Previous levels that New Jersey had the actionable level was actually long after damage was being caused in children." 

Paying for health care is the primary concern of U-S families, according to a new poll.

Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray says health care costs are now creating the most anxiety for 25 percent of Americans surveyed.   

"That's a big jump from the last time we asked just a couple of years ago when health care was one of a number of issues in the top tier. It seems like concerns about paying for costs of health care right now are the things that are really driving the worries that Americans have that keep them up at night."

Lawmakers and advocates say the resolutions are significant.
Phil Gregory

The New Jersey Senate has approved symbolic resolutions condemning President Trump's now-stalled executive orders on immigration.

One resolution opposes building a wall along the southern U.S. border and the ban on the entry of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. 

The other measure expresses the legislature's intent that colleges continue to serve as safe zones to protect students and their families from action by immigration agents.

Imam Mustafa El Amin from Newark believes the resolutions will have a significant effect.

Senate Education Committee
Phil Gregory

A New Jersey Senate committee has advanced legislation prohibiting the state Department of Education from limiting what a school district can pay its superintendent.

Senate Education committee chairwoman Teresa Ruiz says a salary cap that took effect in 2011 was intended to save money but has kept school districts from getting the best people.

"I think it's the responsibility of the district if they have funding in their budget to make their decision on hiring someone who is capable and that won't necessarily at some point make less than perhaps a sitting principal."

Congressman Frank LoBiondo
Phil Gregory

Two New Jersey Congressmen are re-introducing bills to legalize sports betting.

Legal challenges by sports leagues have blocked New Jersey from permitting sports wagering.

Congressman Frank LoBiondo says the Supreme Court will soon decide whether to consider the state’s appeal.

“So I think it’s important that the new nominee is confirmed so that if the high court decides that they will consider New Jersey’s case, that is the fastest route to us being able to get to what we want. Otherwise we’ve got to go through the legislative route.”

What’s the most important issue in deciding whom to elect as New Jersey’s next governor?

A Quinnipiac University survey of voters puts taxes at the top of the list.

Pollster Maurice Carroll says that’s their biggest concern for 26 percent of voters.

“There was one year many years ago when believe it or not auto insurance was the main issue, but poll in and poll out finds that New Jerseyans are concerned mostly about taxes.”

Some small business owners in New Jersey are urging Congress not to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Kelly Conklin owns Foley-Waite, a Kenilworth cabinet-making business.

He spends over $10,000 a month for health insurance premiums to cover him and ten employees. If the ACA is repealed, he believes the costs will increase.

Senator Joe Vitale
Phil Gregory

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to require high school students to be screened for the risk of substance abuse.

Senate Health Committee chairman Joe Vitale says his bill would have students in 9th through 12th grades answer questions about drug use as part of their annual health assessments.

           

Senator Jeff Van Drew
Phil Gregory

 

A measure awaiting final legislative approval in the state Senate would require all county governments in New Jersey to have a Code Blue plan in place to shelter homeless residents during severe weather events.

 

Mike Oppegaard is president of the New Jersey Association of Emergency Management Coordinators. He’s concerned about the costs of providing shelter and services if the severe conditions persist for several days. He wants lawmakers to consider state grants to offset that expense.

 

Steven Perskie and Chris Grimm testify at Assembly  hearing.
Phil Gregory

Daily fantasy sports games officially would be allowed and regulated in New Jersey if a measure advanced by an Assembly committee becomes law.

Participants in fantasy sports put together imaginary teams of real pro athletes, pay an entry fee, and then compete for prizes by getting scores based on statistics those athletes produce in real games.

Former New Jersey Casino Control Commission chairman Steven Perskie presented a legal saying  fantasy sports are games of skill and should not be considered gambling.

FieldTurf CEO Eric Daliere testifies at Senate committee hearing
Phil Gregory

The leader of a company that makes artificial sports fields told a New Jersey Senate committee allegations made in three-class action lawsuits are disturbing and inaccurate.

Newark schools, the borough of Carteret, and the owner of a soccer club in Clifton claim FieldTurf continued to sell its Duraspine product while knowing it was defective.

Eric Daliere, the chief executive officer of Field Turf, disputes claims that the fields are not living up to their 8 year warranty period.

NJ officials and fishing advocates oppose the proposed limits.
Phil Gregory

New Jersey officials say they’ll do everything they can to stop proposed regulations that could hurt the state’s fishing industry.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering increasing the minimum size and reducing the number of flounder that recreational fishermen in New Jersey can keep this summer.

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin told a crowd of fishermen in Point Pleasant Beach that the proposed new limits are based on unreliable data. He says he’ll fight to keep current regulations in place.

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo
Phil Gregory

A resolution introduced in the New Jersey legislature urges the Trump administration to oppose any measure that would prohibit states from conducting internet gambling.

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo says comments from Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, prompted him to seek clarification about what the administration might do.

Department of Education officials testify at legislative task force hearing
Phil Gregory

New Jersey schools have another six months to comply with a state directive to test their drinking water for lead contamination.

The New Jersey Department of Education says about half of its 586 school districts have completed their testing and 21 have reported elevated lead levels.

Project Manager Jim Palmer says the schools have to shut off contaminated fountains and sinks and come up with a long-term solution to resolve the lead problem.

New Jersey officials are assessing the beach erosion caused by the nor’easter earlier this week.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna says most of the state’s coastline suffered only minor or moderate erosion and there was no property damage.

He says the storm surge carved a 5 to 10 feet sand cliff in some oceanfront locations.

Coalition members outline their goals.
Phil Gregory

A coalition of more than 30 environmental, labor, and community organizations says climate change poses a massive threat to New Jersey and is urging the state to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase clean energy.

Dan Fatton is executive director of the Work Environment Council. He says the collation is a ray of hope in the Trump era.

Advocates express support for the measure.
Phil Gregory

Advocates are urging New Jersey lawmakers to enact proposed legislation that would help students trying to recover from drug addiction.

The measure would allow any child clinically diagnosed with substance use disorder to transfer to a recovery school that provides programs and peer support to help them stay off drugs.

Gina Vaccaro says her daughter returned to Livingston High School after completing an inpatient treatment program and the school board rejected her request to transfer the state’s only recovery high school in Roselle.

New Jersey Statehouse
Phil Gregory

New Jersey could become the first state to ban veterinarians from declawing cats.

A bill passed by the Assembly and awaiting action in the Senate would fine veterinarians as much as $2000 for performing the procedure unless it’s considered medically necessary.

Kathleen Schatzmann, the state director of the Humane Society, supports the proposed ban.

“It is an unnecessary surgery most often performed for convenience issues such as to address problems scratching of household furniture and it provides no benefit whatsoever to the cat.”

Senate Democratic leaders worry about Affordable Care Act repeal
Phil Gregory

 

Democratic leaders in the New Jersey Senate are troubled that one of President Trump’s first actions was signing an executive order that seeks the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says New Jersey would be hurt by the repeal of Obamacare and the accompanying expansion of Medicaid.

“It expanded health care for hundreds of thousands of people in this state and millions nationwide. And it’s not a game. We’re dealing with people’s lives right now, and it’s concerning.”

Senator Ray Lesniak
Phil Gregory

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to change one of the state’s toughest gun laws.

Legislation introduced by Senator Ray Lesniak would eliminate the mandatory minimum three-to-five year sentence for unlawful possession of a handgun and leave the punishment up to a judge.

He says legal gun owners, many from out of state, with no intention of committing a crime, should not face that harsh penalty.

Assemblyman John McKeon
Phil Gregory

Legislation being considered by New Jersey lawmakers would require residential and commercial properties with a lawn-sprinkler system to install a rain-sensing device before that property could be sold.

Assemblyman John McKeon says it's abhorrent to see sprinklers going off in a rainstorm.

"As water continues to become more precious and scarce, per gallon it's a lot more expensive to waste it, so whatever initial cost there might be for sensors it'll be easily recouped in a very short time."

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