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Transgender students' use of bathrooms and locker rooms has become an increasingly prominent issue, with a number of school districts adopting policies that make it clear that students may use facilities corresponding to their gender identity. Yet even in New Jersey, one of the most progressive states on this matter, assurances that districts will abide by state anti-discrimination statutes sometimes come only after community battles and criticism from conservative organizations. Read more
NJ Spotlight Daily News

May 3, 2016

State’s 3,000 Public Schools to Begin Testing for Lead in Water
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Gov. Chris Christie’s directive puts start date for testing this coming September
Eliminating Hurry-Up-and-Wait Licensing for New Jersey’s Home Health Aides
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Making home healthcare workers wait months for a license only encourages them to leave a field where they’re badly needed, a lose-lose situation
With Clock Ticking, Atlantic City Avoids Default -- But How Much Time Did It Buy?
John Reitmeyer |
City officials say there’s enough cash to get through the month; Christie and Sweeney continue to press for complete takeover
Christie Sinks Wind Turbines Off Jersey Shore for Second Time
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Governor vetoes Fishermen’s Energy pilot offshore wind farm, arguing BPU’s ‘authority’ is at stake
Explainer: Safeguarding Water in Four States for 15 Million People
Jon Hurdle | Energy & Environment, Explainer
Under stewardship of Delaware River Basin Commission, the river and its tributaries have made a strong comeback -- as annual shad run shows
Opinion: Learning to Live with Our Addiction to Hazardous Sites by Water
Daniel J. Van Abs | Opinion
We have enough information to do a far better job of planning for the inevitable disaster, but we focus on tactics rather than strategies
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May 2, 2016

More Septic Systems for the Highlands Courtesy of New DEP Proposal?
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
State agency claims new water-quality data allows for loosening of current rules; opponents argue data is flawed
The List: Best Cocktail Bars in New Jersey (Don’t Drive After Reading This)
Tara Nurin | The List
Mixologists across the state are shaking, stirring, and infusing drinks that will amaze and most likely have you lining up for more
Some Good News for NJ Housing Market, But Foreclosures Still a Factor
Joe Tyrrell | Housing
Realtors see increased demand for Shore properties, but Hurricane Sandy and Great Recession may have changed long-term dynamics of market
Helping Low-Income Taxpayers Put Money Aside for that Rainy Day
John Reitmeyer | Politics
Most Americans tend to spend their federal tax returns almost as soon as they arrive, but saving some portion of that money is a smarter -- though tougher -- decision
Op-Ed: After Newark and Flint -- Mandating Clean Water for All School Kids
Donald M. Payne, Jr. | Opinion
No child takes a drink from a water fountain and thinks about whether that water is contaminated. At least, they shouldn’t have to

April 29, 2016

New Jersey: No Plan to Comply with Federal Clean Power Plan
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Proponents of EPA policy say state is risking chance that feds will step in and draft regulations to ensure compliance with law
Could Democrats Cut a Deal on State Tax Deduction for Charitable Contributions?
John Reitmeyer | Budget
They might, as part of a swap on gas-tax hike; meanwhile, Republicans claim charitable deduction would benefit nonprofits -- as well as the wealthy
Medicaid Rate Changes Could Leave Addicts, Mentally Ill Without Consistent Care
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Many programs should see generous boosts in funding, but others -- like day programs for psychiatric outpatients -- could see cuts
Interactive Map: Surveying Administrative Costs per Pupil Across NJ
Colleen O'Dea | Maps, Map of the Week
Administrative costs range from a low of 4 percent of the budget in Avalon to nearly 40 percent for Camden’s Freedom Prep Charter School
Jersey Central Power & Light Seeks to Boost Rates by $142 Million in 2017
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Utility’s typical residential customer would see monthly bills bumped by about $5.60, or 6 percent
A New Model for Innovation, Even in the Smallest School Districts
Adam D. Fried | Opinion
‘Clustering’ to share developers and resources, ‘lab sites’ both to learn and to be free to fail
Another 21 Go Under the Axe at Essex County College
NJTV Online News | Education
Latest round of firings comes just a week after President Gale Gibson was laid off
Christie Announces More Customer Service Training for MVC Employees
NJTV Online News | Politics
Governor helps mom get son a replacement permit, worries about rudeness at agency that conducts 24 million transactions annually

April 28, 2016

NY Lawmaker Crosses Hudson to Urge Christie to Sign Port Authority Bill on His Desk
John Reitmeyer | Politics
Empire State Assemblyman Jim Brennan says New Jersey bill strengthens the one passed by New York Legislature
Water Advocates Issue ‘Workplan’ to Help With Massive System Upgrade
Jon Hurdle | Energy & Environment
Jersey Water Works checklist is meant to be accomplished within the next year, but group estimates full modernization will cost $40 billion over 20 years
What Will It Take to Repair New Jersey’s Ailing Water Infrastructure?
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Lead is just the most publicized of several serious problems; meanwhile, costs for consumers continue to climb
Baraka and Christie Square off Over $72M Gap in Newark School Budget
NJTV Online News | Education
Mayor places blame on former superintendent Cami Anderson, governor defends investment in charter schools
The Smallest Victims of New Jersey’s Growing Drug Crisis
NJTV Online News | Healthcare
Children in every corner of the state are being neglected or abused because their caregivers are drug addicts

April 27, 2016

Democratic Legislative Leaders Look to Craft Veto-Proof ‘Tax-Fairness’ Plan
John Reitmeyer | Budget, Politics
With Christie unenthusiastic about gas-tax hike and cuts to estate tax, lawmakers hope to make an end-run around the governor -- and his veto
Company Scuttles Plan to Moor Commercial Barges off Liberty State Park
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Public outcry and official condemnation help deep-six plan to develop mooring within hailing distance of most popular park in state system
U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of NJ Cop, Citing First Amendment Rights
Colleen O'Dea | Politics
In decade-old case, Paterson police officer was demoted for picking up a sign for opponent of incumbent mayor
Opinion: Sweeney versus Prieto, A Growing Divide in Democratic Party?
Carl Golden | Opinion
Positioning Sweeney as close as possible to Christie helps demonstrate how far he has drifted from his Democratic base
New Initiatives Hope to Block Path from Prescription to Addiction
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Trans-Hudson deal gives New York State access to New Jersey’s prescription-monitoring program, legislation would let opioid prescriptions be partially filled
Profile: She Redefines Poverty to Include Working People Who Can’t Get By
Colleen O'Dea | Profiles
Stephanie Hoopes melds data, compassion, and a respect for human dignity in a new methodology that reveals the hidden face of poverty -- beyond the official statistics
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