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Daniel's Law amendments sparks a potential cottage industry

Daniel's Law Amendments Sparks A Potential Cottage Industry
Matt Friedman's must-read briefing on the Garden State's important news of the day
Apr 24, 2024 View in browser

By Matt Friedman

Good Wednesday morning!

Two months ago, a tech startup called Atlas Data Privacy made news when it filed over 130 lawsuits against data companies on behalf of members of the police and their families, alleging they ignored takedown notices of their home addresses and phone numbers under Daniel’s Law.

A lot has been written about that. Less covered is how we got here: A little-noticed amendment to a bill expanding Daniel’s Law in 2023 did two things: It changed the $1,000 fine for not obeying a request to remove a covered person’s information within 10 days from being at the discretion of the court to mandatory, and it allowed people covered under the law to designate an “assignee” to file the lawsuit on their behalf. The stated purpose of the larger bill was to add child services workers to the classes protected under Daniel’s Law.

Atlas took on several New Jersey police unions as clients, put in a ton of requests earlier in the year and — not long after the bill became law — filed those lawsuits.

Daniel’s Law was created following the murder of Judge Esther Salas’ son Daniel Anderl by a mad man with a grudge against Salas. But while New Jersey has a portal for people covered under the law from state records — including judges, cops and their families — it was left up to them get their information removed from companies on the web that had already scraped the information from public records.

In effect, New Jersey has privatized Daniel’s Law enforcement and may have created a new cottage industry.

Read more about it here.

TIPS? FEEDBACK? Email me at [email protected].

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “[W]e're talking class sizes in the 40s.” — Lacey Superintendent Vanessa Pereira on state school aid cuts

HAPPY BIRTHDAYMichael Affrunti, Christopher Emigholz, Shannon McGee, David and Glenn Pascrell

WHERE’S MURPHY? — In Summit at 10 a.m. to speak at a groundbreaking ceremony for Kenvue’s Science & Innovation Facility, then in West Long Branch at 8 p.m. to speak at the American Music Honors


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NJ TAXIT — The New Jersey Business and Industry Association is, unsurprisingly, against Gov. Phil Murphy’s plan to increase the state’s corporate business tax to fill a looming budget hole at New Jersey Transit. But the group has an alternative: money from the state’s sales tax.

Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration had already considered increasing the sales tax as a way to boost NJ Transit. The industry group’s idea is slightly different – just devote new revenue from the sales tax to the transit agency, since sales tax revenue increases with inflation.“If you just dedicated the future funding stream of the increase in sales tax, you could find that you would probably have a good revenue source from there,” the industry group’s CEO, Michele Siekerka, told reporters during a Tuesday press conference.

She said that would not fully close the gap facing NJ Transit, at least not at first. But she is not alone in talking about the sales tax recently as lawmakers seem lukewarm on increasing business taxes.

During legislative budget hearings earlier this month, NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett heard from lawmakers skeptical that an increase in the business tax would work out this session. Corbett said his agency needs money to avoid service cuts and more fare hikes, but he is largely agnostic on where the money comes from. Several times during exchanges with lawmakers, Corbett said sales taxes are used to fund transit systems in other places. — Ry Rivard 

0.4 MASTROS — Murphy administration’s McKinsey contract to help overhaul DMAVA worth $3.99M, by POLITICO’s Daniel Han: The Murphy administration is spending just under $4 million on its contract with McKinsey & Co. to help overhaul the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, according to state contracting records obtained by POLITICO. The Department of the Treasury entered into the contract with McKinsey in late December to help guide the split of the DMAVA between its military services and veterans affairs services. The effort largely stems from the high death toll at nursing homes during the pandemic. … McKinsey’s $3.99 million contract said it will provide input on the ‘design of the structure, functions, and personnel requirements for the new agencies’ as well as produce a ‘transition plan and implementation plan.’ The state contract provides hints as to what the two new state agencies could look like.”

MTA INCREASES CONGESTION ZONE TOLL TO $19M — “At $19M, Gottheimer’s war chest can fund House race and a race for governor,” by NJ Spotlight News’ Colleen O’Dea: “Gottheimer, who worked as a speechwriter and a strategist at Microsoft, has amassed the largest campaign account of any House candidate this year. The $18.6 million he had in the bank as of March 31 was more than twice House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York and four times that of House Speaker Mike Johnson. … State law allows Gottheimer to donate only a small amount of federal campaign funds to a gubernatorial election account, but he could move some into an independent spending committee to support a run for state office … New Jersey residents are the top contributors to all of New Jersey’s other representatives, but rank second for Gottheimer, who has gotten more money from New Yorkers, data from the Federal Election Commission shows. He also has gotten a greater percentage of his funds from out of state than any other candidate, with about three-quarters of the money he has raised coming from outside New Jersey, according to the OpenSecrets website. And the smallest percentage of his contributions — 12.8% — came from within his district. The five ZIP codes that have given him the most money through the end of the first quarter of this year all cover New York City.”

—Sass Rubin: “Making New Jersey a real democracy” 


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VAN DRUTIN — “Van Drew’s shameless embrace of Vladimir Putin,” by The Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran: “Rep. Jeff Van Drew has now established himself as Vladimir Putin’s best friend in New Jersey, the lone member of our Congressional delegation who just voted to cut off all military aid for Ukraine. …The vote to help Ukraine was 311-112, but don’t be reassured by that large margin. A majority of Republicans joined Van Drew and opposed it. If Donald Trump wins the White House, he will almost surely cut aid and leave Ukraine defenseless. … As for Van Drew, he not only voted against the aid package that passed, he joined a smaller group of MAGA partisans to support a more radical bill sponsored by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene that would have cut off every penny of existing aid. He won’t discuss either bill, but the conclusion is inescapable: Putin and Van Drew -- Perfect Together.”

AN UNCONVENTIONAL IDEA: A CONVENTION — “N.J. GOP needs a state convention for federal and gubernatorial candidates,” by Alex Zdan for The Star-Ledger: “It’s time for a statewide party convention for our gubernatorial and federal candidates -- just as Republicans and Democrats have on the national level. Last week, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Zahid Quraishi ruling that ended the “county line” system of bracketing for Democratic machine-endorsed candidates. Although Quraishi declined to apply the change to this year’s Republican primary, a system ruled unconstitutional by the federal courts will not stand much longer. Sooner or later, a change is coming. Republicans, we must prepare to adapt, or wither as a party. … Endorsed candidates would receive on-the-ground support from the state party – infrastructure, phone banking, volunteers – and financial support in the form of fundraising assistance, donor lists, and even a direct donation from state party coffers.”

—“Nearly 700,000 N.J. voters getting VBM primary ballots” 



JACKSWOOD — “'Insurmountable': Jackson school officials beg Gov. Murphy for help on $30M budget gap,” by The Asbury Park Press’ Amanda Oglesby: “Jackson public school officials — who may be forced to lay off another round of teachers, eliminate all but legally required busing, and eliminate sports and extracurriculars — are beseeching Gov. Phil Murphy and Education Commissioner Kevin Dehmer to give the district a means of balancing the school budget without resorting to draconian cuts. The Jackson School District has faced $22.4 million in state funding cuts since 2018, and officials now say they are unable to close a resulting $30 million budget gap in a reasonable way. In an April 19 letter, Superintendent Nicole Pormilli, Assistant Superintendent Daniel Baginski and the seven-member Board of Education urged state officials to act before the district is forced to take drastic measures in the coming school year. … The massive budget gap is the result of years of declining state aid in combination with a 2% state-mandated cap on tax levy increases. … At the same time, Jackson's costs for busing have ballooned as more families who move to the township send their children to private schools.”

—“State aid plunges, tax hikes capped: Big layoffs might be forced on Jersey Shore schools,” by The Asbury Park Press’ Amanda Oglesby: “Lacey Township Public Schools officials are facing hard questions. Do they wipe out entire programs and cut integral student services to make up a $7 million gap in a school budget? Lacey schools and a number of neighboring districts — all which have faced years of declining state aid — are now struggling to manage a collective, snowballing financial crisis. Schools in Jackson, Brick, Toms River, Plumsted and elsewhere are debating which of their programs to cut and which to preserve. In Trenton, legislators are acknowledging the crisis facing these districts and are looking to fix the problems of a school funding system that has directed more state aid to some of New Jersey's fastest-growing urban schools while cutting aid to wealthier suburban districts.”

PATERSON FAILS — “Paterson officer suspended after prisoner he was supposed to guard escapes from hospital,” by The Paterson Press’ Joe Malinconico: “A prisoner in police custody escaped from St. Joseph’s University Medical Center on Sunday and the Paterson police officer who was supposed to be guarding him has been suspended for 30 days. The prisoner, 38-year-old Anthony Juliano of Dumont, was apprehended soon after his escape, according to law enforcement sources. Juliano, who had been arrested on April 17 on an active warrant, left through the hospital’s main entrance and took a taxi … Isa Abbassi, the state-appointed Officer in Charge of the Paterson police department, issued an order on Sunday suspending Police Officer Matthew McKoy for 30 days. He is the son of former Paterson city councilman William McKoy and has been a police officer since 2020.”

— “Paterson failed to collect all $1M in unpaid sewer bills from developers

—“Paterson district spent $47K on furniture for superintendent's office. Here's what's new” 

—“$2.8M Paterson wall plan to protect city from flooding fails to get state approval” 

SMALL WORLD AFTER FALL — “Atlantic City High School principal charged with official misconduct waives first court appearance,” by The Press of Atlantic City’s John O’Connor: “The city’s high school principal, who is facing official misconduct charges after allegedly failing to report child abuse, waived her first court appearance Tuesday. Constance Days-Chapman is now scheduled to appear in front of Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury at 9 a.m. May 20 for a pre-indictment conference. She was charged March 28 with official misconduct, hindering apprehension of another, obstruction of justice and failure to report child abuse. … Earlier this year, the teenage daughter of Mayor Marty Small Sr. and Superintendent La’Quetta Small told school officials she was being physically and mentally abused at home, according to a court document. The claim set off an investigation that saw Days-Chapman charged with failing to report the alleged abuse and the Smalls charged with endangering the welfare of a child over allegations they assaulted their teenage daughter. … Days-Chapman then allegedly met with the girl’s parents at their home and informed them the student had told staff about the abuse, authorities have said. … Days-Chapman headed up Mayor Small’s reelection campaign in 2021.”

THE GOVERNOR LOVES FORMER REPUBLICANS — “Murphy backs Adamo for Passaic sheriff,” by New Jersey Globe’s David Wildstein: “Gov. Phil Murphy is taking sides in the Democratic primary for Passaic County sheriff, backing Thomas Adamo over his primary opponent, Gerald Speziale, the former sheriff. “Chief Adamo is a leader with the experience and integrity to honor the late Sheriff Richard Berdnik’s legacy,” Murphy said. “His dedication to law enforcement and his commitment to the people of Passaic County is exactly what we need in our next sheriff.” Adamo, the chief of the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, is the choice of the county Democratic organization for the seat of the late Richard Berdnik, five-term sheriff who died earlier this year.”

—Snowflack: “Fortress Passaic: Remember the Adamo” 

— “Wayne school district reports 42% drop in bullying cases. Here's how they did it

— “Judge blocks Spotswood council's effort for special counsel in town's legal woes

—“Wyckoff Republicans duke it out for November party line in contested June primary” 

—“[Atlantic City] cop acquitted in 2013 police dog attack settles latest assault charge

—“Large apartment fire in [Newark] displaces 39 residents” 

—“A Camden County prosecutor is suing her office for denying remote work during pregnancy complications” 

—“Responsible drug use? Jersey City council to vote on program that provides test strips, Narcan for users” 


HONG KONG. SINGAPORE. NEWARK. —  ‘Newark Liberty’s new terminal is ‘Best In The World’,’ by Kevin O’Toole for New Jersey Globe: “The newspaper headline read: “Expect That Airport at Newark Will Be Model for Other Cities.” The date was September 12, 1928. It was prophetic. On Wednesday, Newark Liberty International Airport’s new Terminal A was announced as the Best New Terminal in the World, just one month after receiving a coveted five-star rating, both from Skytrax, the preeminent aviation industry ratings firm.”

MENENDEZ’S NEXT CAREER: BOB THE TRUCKER — “California trucker squares off with New Jersey over seized $706G,” by The Courier-Post’s Joseph P. Smith: “Attorneys for a California trucker who was stopped here as part of an undercover New Jersey State Police surveillance operation are fighting the state over $706,890 found in the driver’s cab. Troy Hodges of Compton, California was stopped while driving a Freightliner on the New Jersey Turnpike on Dec. 13, 2023. … California-based attorney David Dudley has challenged the proposed seizure, asking the court to return the money to Hodges. Dudley denies Hodges was involved in or aware of any criminal activity, and claims the vehicle search was unconstitutional. Hodges, 41, was charged with money laundering and is free on bail awaiting trial.”

—“Feds study antisemitism complaint against Princeton; Muslim group files against Rutgers” 

—“Jets sued over player’s high-speed car crash near N.J. training facility” 


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Daniel's Law amendments sparks a potential cottage industry