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New Jerseyans’ student-loan debt is massive; by some estimates, it’s as much as $33.5 billion. And the state agency that writes those loans has a lot of critics. Lawmakers now seem intent on reforming the agency as part of an effort to help the borrowers. Read more
NJ Spotlight Daily News

April 22, 2018

Hospital Aid Remains Stable, Following Years of Cuts
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
But charity care for mostly urban hospitals would be beefed up by Murphy’s decision not to take money away from the program
The List: Dems Who’ve Scored Big Using Website for Small Donations
Colleen O'Dea | The List
ActBlue’s digital fundraising tools let voters make mostly small donations to the candidates and causes they support — and has pulled in $3.6 million to date
Is a Tax Amnesty for Delinquent Filers in the Offing for New Jersey?
John Reitmeyer | Budget
If passed by Legislature, the proposal would eliminate some fines and penalties, but would not reduce the principal owed
PSE&G Wants BPU to OK $1.9B Plan to Upgrade Gas Pipelines
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Five-year program would enable state’s largest utility to replace hundreds of miles of cast-iron and steel pipes with new gas mains
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April 20, 2018

Murphy Accuses Texas Gov. Abbott of Trying to Rustle Garden State Companies
John Reitmeyer | Politics
Abbott draws first, bragging about low taxes of the Lone Star State, but Murphy fires back with both barrels, saying schools and healthcare in Texas can’t hold a candle to New Jersey’s
Safe Sleep for Babies — Rutgers Researchers Now Have an App for That
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Scientists use technology to help parents protect their infants from sudden unexpected death
FERC Reviews Its Policies for Approving Natural-Gas Pipelines
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Critics say federal agency rubber-stamps projects, without evaluating if a pipeline is truly needed and gauging its environmental impact
Interactive Map: Where New Jerseyans Are Hungriest
Colleen O'Dea | Maps, Map of the Week
Federal legislation before Congress could strip thousands of New Jersey’s most vulnerable citizens of their SNAP food-assistance benefits
Op-Ed: Camden’s Next School Superintendent Must Build on Predecessor’s Success
Sean M. Brown | Opinion
The district is smaller, the politics has changed, but we still need to address major education challenges in New Jersey’s poorest city

April 19, 2018

Does School Security Mean Transforming Facilities into Fortresses?
Carly Sitrin | Education
Active shooter drills, armed guards, video surveillance, safety training for all personnel, including lunch aides and janitors — is this the new face of education in New Jersey?
State Diverts $69M from VW Settlement to General Fund
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Clean-air advocates wind up with $72 million, had hoped total amount would go to fighting greenhouse-gas emissions
Reform Pending for New Jersey’s Medical Examiner System
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Overworked, underfunded agency will be transferred to Department of Health, in line for cash infusion, new chain of command
Governor Shows Off Another Benefit of His Bigger Budget
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Murphy highlights more money for Educational Opportunity Fund in his spending plan and doesn’t retreat from higher taxes despite lawmakers’ hesitancy
NJ Supreme Court Rules No Taxpayer Money to Restore Active Churches
Colleen O'Dea | More Issues
State’s top court decides taxpayer funds cannot be awarded to houses of worship still serving a congregation, even if goal is historic preservation of church structures
Op-Ed: We Need to Take the Trauma Out of Childhood
Marjorie A. Paloma | Opinion
Thousands of children in New Jersey have been through traumatic events that can have profound long-term consequences. It’s our job to help them

April 18, 2018

Is 2018 the Year When New Jersey, Ever in a Tax Fix, Finds a Fix for its Taxes?
John Reitmeyer | Budget
New Jerseyans kvetch about the state’s high taxes, and nothing seems to change. But, momentum might now be with those who want a radical review of taxes and spending in the Garden State
Will Murphy Let Company Dump Treated Wastewater into Delaware River?
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Opponents worry that loophole in bill on governor’s desk will allow fracking waste to be discharged into river
Murphy Administration Keeps Expanding Access to Medical Marijuana
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Proposal would let patients get medical marijuana prescriptions from physicians who treat their underlying disease or symptoms of that disease, like pain and nausea
Repollet Walks Back Stance on School Aid, Says He’s Open to Compromise
John Mooney | Education
Administration’s willingness to shift gears may get acting commissioner through the full confirmation process
Who’s in the Money? NJ’s 2018 Congressional Primaries — And Sole Senate Race
Colleen O'Dea | Politics
With the first quarter reports filed, this year’s contests are already shaping up to be expensive
Op-Ed: Minority Student Program at 50 — Still Centerpiece of Rutgers Law
Paul L. Tractenberg | Opinion
At the half-century mark, Rutgers’ MSP has transformed the face of legal education at the school where it began and across the country
Governor Signs Law Adding New Jersey to List of ‘Motor Voter’ States
NJTV News | Politics
Automatic voter registration at motor vehicle agencies for Garden State, and Republicans lawmakers not too happy about that prospect

April 17, 2018

Students’ Lives Are Priceless, But School Security Can Break the Budget
Carly Sitrin | Education
After Sandy Hook and Parkland, schools need military-grade imaging, metal detectors, wands, magnetic locks, ID card scanners, and surveillance cameras with livestream capabilities
ACUA’s Battery-Storage System, First Financed by NJ's Clean Energy Fund
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Atlantic County Utilities Authority will back up wastewater treatment plant — powered in part by solar and wind — if grid goes down
Do We Need to Talk? — There’s a Push to Increase End-of-Life Planning in NJ
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Proponents point to higher rate of aggressive medical treatment and higher costs for patients nearing death in Garden State
Opinion: Saving the ACA, One Step at a Time
Joel C. Cantor | Opinion
New Jersey lawmakers have passed two bills that would maintain important features of the Affordable Care Act
Murphy Close to Restoring Enterprise Zones in 5 Cash-Strapped Communities
John Reitmeyer | Politics
Move would reverse former Gov. Christie’s decision to strip UEZs from Bridgeton, Camden, Newark, Plainfield, and Trenton

April 16, 2018

Whether Undocumented Students Get State Financial Aid Now Down to Murphy
Colleen O'Dea | Immigration
Immigrants, advocacy groups look to Democratic governor to sign off on financial aid program that would help New Jersey’s undocumented students attend college
Clean Vehicles Face Long, Bumpy Road to Acceptance in New Jersey
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
New Jersey Clean Air Council reviews roadblocks to wider adoption of zero-emission vehicles — cost, charging infrastructure, lack of public awareness
Horizon Leads Opioid Awareness and Prevention Program Focused on Youth
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Program with Rutgers pharmacy school touched nearly 2,000 kids in past year
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