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Katz on Christie Democratic Findings: New Bridgegate Docs Add to the Mystery
Most of the material in the New Jersey Legislature’s brand-new Interim report on Bridgegate is already known to the public, having been disclosed by journalists, Gov. Chris Christie’s lawyers and the witnesses themselves ...
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In The Spotlight

New Jersey's public employee pensions are not "exorbitant," as Gov. Chris Christie has proclaimed, at least not compared with other plans across the country, asserts a new report by a progressive policy organization. The report released this week by New Jersey Policy Perspective does not compare average payments to retirees. It instead compares three other indicators -- cost-of-living increases, the "multiplier" that calculates pensions per year of service, and employee contributions. Read more
NJ Spotlight Daily News

December 18, 2014

Elusive 'Substantial Damage' Letter a Stumbling Block for Some Sandy Survivors
Scott Gurian | Sandy
Two years after the storm, some homeowners still face consequences of problems from early in the recovery
Schools Development Agency's Chief Cites Gains, Acknowledges Challenges
John Mooney | Education
While a number of projects are in the works, funding for Abbott districts is running low – and is virtually depleted for non-Abbott school projects
New Study Contradicts Christie’s Claim That Pension Payouts Are Excessive
Colleen O'Dea | Politics
Using different criteria, report finds New Jersey’s health and retirements benefits for public employees are less generous than plans in most other states
Lawmakers, Consumer Advocates Push State to Resolve JCP&L Rate Case
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
If decision goes against state’s second-largest utility, customers could see their bills cut by one-third
Poll: Should Chris Christie Worry That Jeb Bush is Weighing Presidential Bid?
How will NJ governor’s tough-talking Jersey persona play against Bush’s dynastic demeanor?
More Public Scrutiny May Await Facilities Housing Poorer NJ Residents
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Bill would require state to post health and safety inspection reports on boarding homes, homeless shelters
Christie Administration Announces Spending Plan for Next Batch of Sandy Aid
Scott Gurian | Sandy
Focus remains on funding unmet needs of homeowners and renters
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December 17, 2014

State DEP Clashes with Federal EPA Over Greenhouse-Gas Emissions
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Agency argues that proposed rules for power-plant pollution are ‘needlessly complex, impossible to implement’
Rutgers Professor Uses Games to Study How People Behave During Outbreaks
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
World of Warcraft online incident in 2005 provided lessons that resonate with Ebola response
Report Shows Continued Decline in Harassment, Bullying in NJ Schools
John Mooney | Education
Three years into tough new law, educators seem to have gotten a handle on how to deal with aggressors while helping victims
Profile: He’s the Point Man for the New Jersey State Chamber Of Commerce
Tom Johnson | Profiles
Two-decade veteran of Trenton’s state government scene lobbies lawmakers and agencies on behalf of business community
Op-Ed: Charter Schools are Best Way to Bring Equity to Education in NJ
Rick Pressler | Opinion
No other options offer students in poorer urban districts such access to high-quality learning and such a chance to succeed
Report on Statewide Red-Light Camera Initiative Has Critics Seeing Red
WNYC/NJPR | Transportation
Opponents argue that small sampling size casts doubt on sizable reductions in accidents and traffic violations

December 16, 2014

Superior Court Judge Rules Against Rural Districts in School-Funding Suit
John Mooney | Education
Setback in Bacon v. NJDOE only temporary, plaintiff's lawyers say, but decision frees state to focus on upcoming school budget
Is It Time to Question the Fiscal Wisdom of the Atlantic City Bailout?
Meir Rinde | Politics
With gaming industry in crisis, should the state reassess the return on investment it's likely to see on the millions it's funneling into New Jersey's gambling hub?
Much-Debated Water-Infrastructure Bill Passed -- with Little Fanfare
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Proponents argue that speeding sale of municipal water-supply and treatment facilities to private owners is best way to make costly repairs, upgrades
Explainer: How New Jersey Generates Enough Power to Keep the Lights on
Tom Johnson | Explainer
Right now, it's mostly nuclear and natural-gas production, but renewables are expected to play a greater role in the future
Opinion: For U.S. Attorney’s Bridgegate Report, Timing of Release May Be Everything
Carl Golden | Opinion
With ‘State of State’ address, budget, and possible bid for GOP nomination looming, Christie has to wonder what’s in the report and when it will hit
Lawmakers Lobby Obama to Resist Calls to Shut Down Longtime NJ Military Base
NJTV | Politics
Menendez cites ‘strategic importance’ of facility as president addresses troops at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

December 15, 2014

Court Hears Arguments in Bacon v. NJDOE, Rural Equivalent of Abbott Ruling
John Mooney | Education
Underfunding rural school districts cost them preschool programs, and much more, suit asserts
Coordinated-Care Models Begin to Catch Attention of State Policy-Makers
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
UnitedHealthcare draws on Camden experience, while statewide collaborative could affect Medicaid funding, transportation
PSEG Chief: Energy Efficiency Benefits Consumers, Utilities, Environment, Jobs
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
At most recent NJ Spotlight Roundtable, Izzo’s keynote outlines multiple benefits to cutting power consumption
The List: Top 10 Communities in NJ Where Grandparents are Also Primary Caregivers
Colleen O'Dea | The List
In some New Jersey families, for a variety of reasons, grandparents are both living with and raising their grandchildren
Opinion: A Christmas Wish List for New Jersey -- From a Land-Use Perspective
Chris Sturm | Opinion
Addressing some long-term issues, as well as some recent ones, can help ensure that the Garden State has a happy holiday and a brighter new year
Texas Firm Wants to Ship Canadian Crude Via Freight Trains to New Jersey Facility
WNYC/NJPR | Energy & Environment
Oil would be transported by rail through heavily populated suburbs to Perth Amboy
Expert Warns NJ Must Move Quickly to Repair, Upgrade Its Aging Water Systems
NJTV | Energy & Environment
Crumbling infrastructure poses threat to state’s entire economy, says Rutgers researcher professor

December 12, 2014

Persistent Computer Woes Threaten Food, Health Aid to Low-Income Families
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Government stands to lose on terminated $118M contract to coordinate applicant information
At Senate Confirmation Hearing, Hespe Takes Some Tough Questions
John Mooney | Education
Topics acting commissioner tackles: Abbott v. Burke, salary caps, state-takeover districts, school choice and, inevitably, Cami Anderson
Bill Would Speed Up Sales, Leases of Water, Sewage Facilities to Private Buyers
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Legislation sparks heated debate in Assembly committee, divides expected allies into opponents
Federal Budget Cuts Hurt Low-Income Residents Who Need Housing Vouchers
Colleen O'Dea | Maps, Map of the Week
Spending reductions worsen squeeze for those who need help to pay New Jersey’s high rents
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