TRENTON – It’s impossible to argue that this country doesn’t have a gun problem. So why is the federal government trying to loosen its rules on those plastic guns made by 3D printers? That’s what New Jersey officials are trying to figure out, seething that the Trump Administration thinks it makes perfect sense to ease restrictions on that dreadful firearm-designing software, making it possible for more lunatics to build their very own “ghost guns.” The state is looking to sue the feds with at at least 20 other states, none of which, let’s assume, are south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

TRENTON – Two questions leap to mind: Is our governor getting writer’s cramp? And, how many pens has he drained dry? NJ101.5 calculates Gov. Phil Murphy has signed one new law for every single day he’s been in office. That’s an astounding 687 new laws now on our books. These range from ending the scourge of flavored vapes to changing the way transgender criminals get strip-searched. Realistic toy guns are now forbidden (Real guns? Not so much). There are new limits on beaver trapping; new fire safety and building codes; new crackdowns on “porch pirates;” and scores of other laws of which government officials are trying to keep track. This week was a record-setter with Murphy putting his signature on 152 new laws stemming from the lame-duck session. So, one must ask: Does the governor actually read all this stuff, including all the drafts, edits, omissions? Perhaps not. But let’s assume some people are. And they need a vacation.

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TRENTON – You’re not going to find many around these halls who think for-profit hospitals shouldn’t be more fiscally transparent. These are often those places where you’ll find a $745 Band-Aid and no one around to explain why. There’s strong, bipartisan support in the New Jersey Legislature for tighter regulations that are obviously needed. Now the governor has signed two bills whose aim, ultimately, is to prevent residents from being left in the lurch by the sudden loss of for-profit acute-care facilities that suddenly go out of business, as owners flee with millions. Debbie White, president of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees, said the new laws will “make public any financial dealings that put patient care at risk while the owners reap large profits.” NJ Spotlight shines a light on the subject today.

BRIEFING BREATHER: The average New Jerseyan will spend about six months during his/her lifetime waiting at red lights.

MORRISTOWN – Props to Gov. Phil Murphy for penning his own pun to announce New Jersey’s “official state dog” is the Seeing Eye dog. In a tweet, Murphy said he’s “pawsitively thrilled” to honor The Seeing Eye, a Morristown institution since 1931, and give special status to its specially-trained guide dogs for the blind and visually impaired. NJ.com says The Seeing Eye is America’s oldest guide dog school, training 17,000 dogs and pairing them with owners in need. Sen. Anthony Bucco, whose late father Sen. Anthony R. Bucco, introduced this measure in 2018, called Murphy’s action “a fitting tribute to my father” who had a “deeply held belief everyone deserves the opportunity to live with dignity and respect.”

SOUTH JERSEY – The obnoxiousness of Flyers fans has been legendary. But once the team’s mascot starts slugging 13-year-old fans, well, some think that goes a little too far. A Delaware man claims his boy was punched by the team’s freakish-looking mascot, “Gritty,” after he patted him on the head and took a photo. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the father-son duo were attending a special fan event at the Wells Fargo Center in November when Gritty took a running start and hit the young fan as hard as he could, the father alleges. The Flyers say they investigated and don’t believe Gritty went all crazy and such. But the Philly cops, who are still investigating, may think otherwise.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

MIAMI – It sounds like a joke: How cold has it been in South Florida? So cold that dead iguanas have been falling out of the palm trees. The National Weather Service has issued an odd warning, telling people to watch out for falling reptiles as the temperatures dropped earlier this week into the 30s. “Brrr!,” tweeted the weather guys. Apparently, the cold Florida temperatures stun the iguanas, many of whom won’t die and will ultimately wake up when temperatures rise today. So, don’t step on them either.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Unclear what 1980s-era high-haired girls did in Sweden; it was on this day in 1978 that the country banned aerosol sprays to protect the earth's ozone layer.

WORD OF THE DAY

Cosmeticize – [kahz-MET-ə-syze] – verb

Definition: To make (something unpleasant or ugly) superficially attractive

Example: This impeachment trial, with its 24-hour news cycle, is certainly not something to cosmeticize.

WIT OF THE DAY

“Democracy don't rule the world, You'd better get that in your head; This world is ruled by violence, But I guess that's better left unsaid.”

― Bob Dylan

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!”

- Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Mild

THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun