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Summer Reading 2015

Trying to deliver the best news and analysis on politics and policy in the Garden State takes a lot of energy, which is why we schedule two weeks in August when we can recharge and relax. But while we’re on summer hiatus, we want to make sure we’re still giving our readers something to think about, so NJ Spotlight is continuing its annual summer reading series. Each day we’ll feature an excerpt from a recent book -- from nonfiction to novels to poetry -- in which New Jersey plays a significant part. Enjoy. We’ll be back, rested and ready, on August 31. Read more
Katz on Christie Christie Sent Government Emails From Private Account
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has criticized Hillary Clinton in recent days over her use of private email to do State Department business. But the only email he provided to the Legislature last year ...
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NJ Spotlight Daily News

August 26, 2015

Trump Is Gone From Atlantic City But Not Forgotten
Matt Katz | Katz on Christie
No single figure has been more associated with Atlantic City casinos than Donald Trump, now the Republican presidential frontrunner
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August 14, 2015

Cuomo’s ‘New York Attitude’ on Gateway Tunnel: Let New Jersey Pay for It
Meir Rinde | Transportation
No longer tightlipped on the subject, NY governor remains tightfisted, even though Gateway would bring hundreds of thousands of workers into Manhattan daily
BPU Wants to Hire Outside Expert to Help Breathe Some Life into Offshore Wind
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Consultant would concentrate on developing financing mechanism based on tariffs on utility customers
Interactive Map: New Jersey's Thirsty -- Water Use on Rise in Garden State
Colleen O'Dea | Maps, Map of the Week
Between 2000 and 2010 the total amount of water used by homes, businesses, and the state’s two nuclear plants surged by 40 billion gallons a year
Lawmakers Fix Funding Shortage, Transfer $4.5M to Six Towns in Meadowlands
John Reitmeyer | More Issues
Residents faced higher property tax bills after Christie line-item veto deleted payments meant to cover loss of shared hotel-tax revenue
Newest Panel Formed by Christie Joins Parade of Education Task Forces
John Mooney | Education
Latest committee looks into benefits, drawbacks of starting high-school classes later in the morning
Bill Seeks to Inform NJ Consumers About Dangers of Removing Lead Paint
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Retailers argue that signs in stores are not an effective way to inform the public about potential health threats
Op-Ed: New Generation Can Help Replant the Seeds of Democracy
Lawrence E. McCullough | Opinion
As older voters become more and more disinterested and disengaged, we need to help younger citizens discover the joys of democracy

August 13, 2015

Christie's 'No Taxes' Pledge Has Implications in New Jersey
Matt Katz | Katz on Christie
Gov. Chris Christie signed a pledge this week with a conservative group to never raise taxes -- and he slammed fellow GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush for not doing the same thing . . .
NJ Sierra Club Calls on Federal EPA to Block DEP’s New Water Rules
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Environmental group fears that pending changes will lead to more pollution and increased flooding in state’s streams
Candidate Christie Continues His Shift to the Right, Taking Anti-Tax Pledge
John Reitmeyer | Budget, Politics
But Gov. Christie may soon face dilemma as gas-tax hike may be only way to replenish New Jersey’s shaky Transportation Trust Fund
Strength in Numbers: Can Transportation Alliance Get Gateway Project Going?
Meir Rinde | Transportation
U.S. Sen. Schumer calls for Gateway Development Corp.; former ARC project director envisions coalition of transit agencies
Solitary Confinement in New Jersey’s Prisons: Cruel and Usual Punishment
Hank Kalet | Social
Isolating inmates can lead to PTSD and paranoia; new legislation could reduce the use of ‘close custody’ and put outside oversight in place
Relative Calm Marks Year Two of ‘One Newark,’ But Opposition Remains
John Mooney | Education
Earlier start and more staff seem to help, although Mayor Baraka still calls for end of ‘dysfunctional’ enrollment system
Poll: What’s the Best Way to Get Going on Gateway Project?
The proposed rail tunnel would be a lifesaver for commuters and cargo, but who’s going to pay for it?
Community Health Centers -- Crucial to Medicaid Growth, Harbingers of Change
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Fast-growing health centers add more services for women, look to take on mental-health issues

August 12, 2015

Critics of Energy Master Plan Make Opinions Heard at Public Hearing
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
BPU argues plan is delivering on its promise, but speakers fault state for relying too much on natural gas, too little on renewable energy
Lesniak Will Keep Pushing for ‘Recovery High Schools’ Despite Christie Veto
John Mooney | Education
Senator, long passionate about high schools for kids with substance-abuse problems, will explore other models
Letting Drug Court Participants Use Methadone Reflects Changing Approach
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Christie’s signing of law reflects growing understanding of effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment of addiction
Profile: Looking Out for Interests of State’s Businesses, Large and Small
John Reitmeyer | Profiles
NJBIA president cites patience, perseverance and passion as key to success in pushing for business-friendly state policies
Bramnick Believes Pension Reform Can Galvanize Voters to Favor GOP in November
John Reitmeyer | Budget, Politics
Leader of Assembly Republicans frames public-employee pensions and health benefits as war between special interests and average taxpayers

August 11, 2015

Reluctance by NJ, NY to Help Finance Hudson River Tunnel Bodes Ill for Commuters
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
Lawmakers in Trenton told passing the buck on Gateway project means rail-transit woes will only get worse
With Bankruptcy Filing, Saint Michael’s Opens Up New Front in Battle Over Sale
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Hospital CEO points to lengthy state review while state argues it must act in best interests of community
Superior Court Judge Orders Christie to Release His ‘Valuable Asset’ Media List
Mark Lagerkvist/New Jersey Watchdog | Politics
Governor’s office argues that turning over list to New Jersey Watchdog would give it an unfair advantage over competitors
Explainer: Drug Court Offers Substance Abusers Treatment Over Jail Time
Lilo H. Stainton | Explainer
Nonviolent criminals given a way to clean up and learn life skills -- at one-fourth the cost of incarceration for a year
Bill Could Mean More Money to Small Businesses, Residents with Solar Panels
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Christie signs law that increases cap on net metering, letting New Jersey residents earn more for electricity their solar panels produce
Bills Add ASL to Accepted Languages, Authorize Study of Later-Start H.S. Classes
John Mooney | Education
But Christie conditionally vetoes ‘recovery high schools’ for students with substance-abuse problems
Governor Vetoes Two Proposals to Inject Some Funds into Pension Plans
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Democrats called using unexpected revenues for one-time cash infusion and making quarterly payments that could boost return on state’s investments

August 10, 2015

State Shifts Regional Achievement Center into Camden School District
John Mooney | Education
NJ says the RACs, criticized by NJEA and other concerned parties, serve highest-need schools
Court Allows Christie to Hide $1 Million in AmEx Charges for Travel
Mark Lagerkvist/New Jersey Watchdog | Politics
Superior Court judge rules that making information public about Christie’s food, lodging, and transportation could compromise his security in future
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