NJ Politics Roundup: Christie aide’s new job, gas tax hike, pig bill, red …

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N.J. POLITICS ROUNDUP

A collection of political news from the Statehouse and around New Jersey

TRENTON — Kevin O’Dowd, Gov. Chris Christie’s chief of staff and one of the people who testified amid the George Washington Bridge scandal, is planning to leave the administration to assume a top executive position at Cooper University Hospital.

Meanwhile, officials said O’Dowd’s wife, state Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd, will refrain from making decisions that would directly affect Cooper.

GAS TAX AND 2016

The call to raise New Jersey’s gas tax could complicate Christie’s aspirations to run for president in 2016.

Meanwhile, here are five things Christie and state lawmakers could to to fund transportation projects.

And here are five takeaways from a video chat about the gas tax with state Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex).

CHRISTIE ON PIG BILL

Christie reportedly told Iowa pork producers he intends to veto a controversial pig crate bill sitting on his desk.

RED LIGHT CAMERAS TO STOP

The state Department of Transportation is telling towns that red light cameras have to officially go dark on Dec. 16.

HOLLYWOOD INCENTIVES FADING

New Jersey’s film production incentives, which have lured dozens of movie and television crews to the state over the years, are due to expire next July.

ROBERT LITTELL DIES

Robert Littell, who served in the New Jersey Legislature for four decades, died at 78.

Funeral arrangements for Littell are set for this week.

Should college students be required to buy meal plans?

POLL: COLLEGE MEAL PLANS

Should colleges and universities require students to buy purchase plans? Vote in the informal, unscientific poll at right.

THE AUDITOR: ASSISTED-SUICIDE BILL, CONSULTING FIRM

A look at how state Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) quietly withdrew his sponsorship from a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to patients and how Essex County Freeholder Brendan Gill has started a political consulting firm.

FROM THE WEEKEND …

• State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), who has led the charge to bring legalized sports betting to New Jersey, said he’s launching a petition drive after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver disclosed in an op-ed column this week that he supports legalizing sports wagering across the country.

• Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker — another potential 2016 presidential candidate — said while he shares similar leadership qualities with Christie, he’s got a “Midwestern filter” that Christie lacks.

NJ Advance Media staff writers Matt Arco, Claude Brodesser-Akner, Matt Friedman, Susan K. Livio, Erin O’Neill, Ted Sherman, and Steve Strunsky contributed to this report.

Brent Johnson may be reached at bjohnson@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @johnsb01. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.

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