** The Jaffe Briefing will be on break next week, celebrating glorious Independence, returning Monday, July 10 **


TRENTON - If our state government shuts down, how long would it take for anyone to notice? The question could be answered soon, as state lawmakers only have until midnight to pass a state budget, to take effect tomorrow. Summary: Gov. Chris Christie wants $300 million from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield. Senate President Steve Sweeney agrees, as part of a horse trade for more school funding. Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto says no to the deal, refusing to post the bill for a vote in the Assembly. Many in Prieto's caucus in the Assembly are demanding he post the damn thing, and vow to remove him if he doesn't. Prieto isn't budging, saying "I'd rather do the right thing." Meanwhile, Christie was spotted eating nachos at last night's U2 concert.

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TRENTON - There's really no issue here, says Senate President Steve Sweeney. That's because Gov. Chris Christie is a short-timer, and the next governor could easily unravel Christie's mandate against Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield. So, Sweeney says, take the deal, get the budget passed and negotiate with the next governor, likely Democrat Phil Murphy, who already says Christie is using this stalemate "to score a cheap political victory." So, Sweeney figures, the Horizon bill gets passed today, the budget is approved and everyone goes home for a holiday hamburger. And, by Feb. 1, with a reasonable governor, the law is abolished.

IN SCHOOL - Mouthing off to cops is never smart, of course. But, do we need a law that requires teachers to educate kids, starting in kindergarten, to be polite and compliant during run-ins with police? Our Assembly seems to thinks so, voting 76-0 to require etiquette lessons in social studies classes. Sponsors say it might rebuild trust in police and prevent minor brushes with law from escalating. Civil rights and minority groups, however, insist cops are the ones who need the training. An ACLU-NJ spokeswoman does like one idea: Requiring kids to learn their rights, telling NBC News: "When you know your rights, you're more likely to know when (they) get violated." Now that doesn't seem cop-friendly.

PERTH AMBOY - Swindlers rely on the quick hit; this one lasted an impressive 18 years. That's how long the U.S. Attorney's Office alleges the city's assistant city zoning officer, Lance Nelson, was collecting $185,000 worth of his dead great-aunt's Social Security retirement benefits. Her monthly federal checks kept being direct-deposited into their shared bank account, because Nelson allegedly failed to notify Social Security that she died in 1998. The Home News Tribune says Nelson, who earned $64,272 from his city job, now faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

SAYREVILLE - If you're caught on the Driscoll Bridge on July 8 at 12:01 a.m., check out the new Garden State Parkway ramp at Exit 125, opening at that very moment. Work started last December on the new ramp, part of a $73 million Turnpike Authority revitalization plan that spruces up and reroutes local roads around the interchange. The new exit will only accept E-ZPass, so if you're one of the five people left in this state who still pays with quarters, it's time to get with the program - or find a detour home.

FAIR LAWN - Every aspiring politician thinks he is smarter, wiser, better equipped than his opponent. But in the 38th Legislative District, one Republican candidate for Assembly thinks the district is better off under Democratic leadership. Insider NJ reports Matt Seymour, who has been pushing for a center to help domestic violence victims, has dropped out of the race and has become a Democrat, hoping his dream will become reality. Seymour faces incumbents Timothy Eustace and Joseph Lagana this November.


LONDONDERRY, N.H. - Don't leave home without it? That must be what a New Hampshire man was thinking when he strapped a mountain of furniture, boxes and bicycles to the roof of an old Honda Odyssey. A state trooper saw the white minivan cruising north on Interstate 93 early Wednesday with the pile of crap. He ticketed the guy for negligent driving, impounded the van and snapped some unflattering photos for social media. State Police told WMUR-TV the garbage strapped to the roof was double the minivan's height and was clinging by flimsy electrical cords and some rope. Next time, pal, spring for a U-Haul.


It was on this day in 1975 that Cher married Gregg Allman in Vegas, just a week after her divorce from Sonny Bono. Then, nine days later, she filed for divorce from Allman - with whom she had been living for three months. Ah, the 70s.


Subrogate - [SUB-ro-gayt] - verb

Definition: To substitute one person or entity for another in a legal claim

Example: I owed $20 for the margarita pitcher, but subrogated to Tony.