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Gov. Chris Christie, who will deliver his final state budget on Tuesday, has signaled that he will increase the state’s contribution to the troubled public pension system. Notwithstanding that allocation, the system will remain significantly underfunded. Back in 2011, in his second year in office, Christie bragged that his reforms would fix the funding problem. But that hasn’t happened. Workers now are looking to his successor to do the fixing. Read more
NJ Spotlight Daily News

February 24, 2017

At ‘Alternative’ Town Halls, Residents Send Message to Often-Absent Pols
Chase Brush | Politics
New Jerseyans are coming together in grass-roots groups to demand that members of Congress follow the people’s interests not the party line
What’s Wrong with NJ Transit? Commuters Get to Weigh In
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
A survivor of last year’s fatal train accident in Hoboken was among those who testified at a public hearing about the mass transit agency
The Nuclear Option: Will Christie Budget Blow Up School Funding?
John Mooney | Education
Educators, parents, advocates have been working for months to come up with a plan to countermand the governor’s ‘Fairness Formula’
Interactive Map: Tracking Chronic Conditions Among NJ’s Medicare Clients
Colleen O'Dea | Maps, Map of the Week
New government data is sobering: The state has the highest rates nationally for diabetes and heart failure; second-highest rates for cancer and stroke, among other maladies
Emergency Room Use Persists Despite Gains in Insurance Coverage
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Healthcare habits are proving slow — and somewhat difficult — to change
Op-Ed: Working Together to Address Health Challenges Posed by NJ Climate Changes
George DiFerdinando Jr. | Opinion
The impact that changing climate trends will have on health of New Jerseyans is immediate, widespread, and severe
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February 23, 2017

Pain Patients Urge NJ Medicinal Marijuana Panel to Include Them in Program
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
People suffering from chronic pain and debilitating illnesses say panel has been unresponsive to their needs
DEP Weighs More Access to Pinelands Trails for Enduro Motorcyclists
Jon Hurdle | Energy & Environment
Some environmentalists argue that motorcycles should be banned outright from the preserve
Opinion: The Coming Federalization of NJ Pension and Benefits Crisis
Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff | Opinion
Notwithstanding the 10th Amendment, the federal government has repeatedly stepped in when the states’ political systems failed to bring about necessary action
Murphy Lays Out Big Ambitions for Urban Renewal in New Jersey
John Reitmeyer | Politics
The man who wants to be next governor proposes a sweeping agenda of tax breaks, help for small businesses, job training, criminal justice reform, and more
BPU to Invest $8M to Enhance Energy Efficiency at Two State Buildings
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Hughes Justice Complex, New Jersey DEP — both in Trenton — to get makeover to increase energy conservation, save on electric and gas bills
NJ Police Are Stocking Up on Used Military Equipment
NJTV News Online | Social
Police departments across the state have used a federal program to get $40 million of military surplus, including 196 Humvees

February 22, 2017

Big, Bold Reminder to Appeal Your Property Assessment by April 1
John Reitmeyer | Politics
It’s too late for this year, but from next year onward property assessment notices must alert homeowners to deadline for filing an appeal
Pinelands Pipeline Project Up for Approval on Friday — After 6 Years
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
It’s down to the wire for much-contested pipeline as opponents continue to lobby against what they see as unneeded project
Profile: Once Advocated for Self, Now for All NJ Residents with Disabilities
Lilo H. Stainton | Profiles
Joseph M. Amoroso, director of the New Jersey Division of Disability Services, planned to work in finance but got waylaid
ACA Repeal Could Impact 1M NJ residents, Saddle State with $4B Annually
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Obamacare is more than insurance coverage for the working poor; it also benefits seniors and could be a matter of life and death for some New Jerseyans
LGBT Refugees and Asylees Have Their Own Trump Fears
Matt Katz | WNYC News | Immigration
Activists are concerned that Trump's approach to immigration could be uniquely problematic for gay and transgender people seeking refuge in America
Fears Keep Immigrants from Reporting Crimes — Including Domestic Violence
WNYC News | Immigration
A special visa program lets undocumented immigrants remain in country if they cooperate with investigators or prosecutors
Op-Ed: What Regaining Full Control of Schools Means for the People of Newark
Shanell Dunns | Opinion
Students will be counting on us — the parents, residents, teachers, and leaders — to create a school environment that prepares them to succeed as adults

February 21, 2017

Christie’s Public Pension Legacy: Broken Promises, No Effective Fixes
John Reitmeyer | Budget
As he nears end of second term, governor still struggling with state’s deeply troubled public-worker pension system, while some stakeholders look to a new administration for relief
Three Strikes Against NJ ‘Greens’: Trump, Congress, New EPA Chief
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Do Garden State environmentalists have any leverage against this triple threat?
Disposing of Prescription Drugs Safely – A South Jersey Initiative
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Special kits allow drugs to be safely destroyed and kept out of the wrong hands, also reduce their potential to cause pollution
Opinion: Gov. Chris Christie, Hardly Your Typical Lame Duck
Carl Golden | Opinion
The governor isn’t just good at political brawling and trading shots, he likes doing so: Don’t look for that to change anytime soon
Helping Schools Address the Challenge of Inclusive Learning Environments
Jennifer Meller | Education, Sponsored Content
Students with disabilities have a legal right to receive appropriate special education and related services in inclusive settings alongside peers who are nondisabled
New Jersey Bail Reform Needs … Tweaking or Trashing?
NJTV News Online | Social
Why are those in the criminal justice system so deeply divided on the state’s new approach to bail?

February 17, 2017

Hospitals and Patients Feel Constricted by NJ’s Angioplasty Rules
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Restrictions on non-emergency heart procedures force some patients to travel far beyond their local hospitals
PA Passes $32 Billion Spending Plan — Still Not Enough to Build Bus Terminal
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
Budget includes $70 million to jumpstart planning process for new terminal, but completion of this critical part of project could extend to 2030 or beyond
Fine Print: Assembly Moves to End PARCC as Graduation Requirement
John Mooney | Education
Committee acts on little-used parliamentary tool, but effort still has a ways to travel
NJ Pols, Businesspeople and Lobbyists Get Pally Riding the Rails to DC
NJTV News online | Politics
Annual train journey lets movers and shakers talk shop — and schmooze
Op-Ed: A New Vision — Citizenship for the 21st Century
Harry Pozycki | Opinion
The urgent task of retooling and strengthening our democracy can no longer be left to our leaders in Washington, Trenton, and city hall
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