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New Jersey’s medical examiner system investigates thousands of deaths annually, but it’s severely outmoded and it’s in for a big overhaul. Reforms are already under way. Read more
NJ Spotlight Daily News

July 18, 2018

Municipal Courts too Quick to Levy Fines and Need Major Reforms — Report
Colleen O'Dea | More Issues
New Jersey’s 515 municipal courts collected over $400 million last year. New report concludes system is due for an overhaul that prioritizes impartial justice over making money
NJ, Other States File Suit to Quash Federal Curbing of SALT Deduction
John Reitmeyer | Politics
GOP’s overhaul of tax policies last year dealt harsh blow to New Jersey, other states by placing $10,000 limit on key tax write-off. New lawsuit says cap violates the Constitution
It Was Once a Superfund Site, Now It’s a Solar Farm
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Transformation of former landfill in South Brunswick emblematic of governor’s plan to greatly increase renewable energy in NJ. But, can more developers be enticed to invest in solar?
West Nile Virus Has Come Early to NJ This Year — Take Precautions, Officials Warn
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Transmitted by infected mosquitoes, WNV has already been found in 13 counties but no cases of human infection
Op-Ed: Governor Must Ensure Climate Program Protects NJ’s Most Vulnerable
Rev. Fletcher Harper | Opinion
‘Imploring’ Murphy to set strong cap on New Jersey’s carbon pollution, as state rejoins Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
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July 17, 2018

Can ‘Opportunity Zones’ Help Revitalize NJ’s Distressed Towns and Cities?
John Reitmeyer | Politics
New federal program bets investors will be willing to put their money in designated zones in return for significant tax breaks down the line
Court Upholds Fine for Unlicensed Transportation of Solid Waste
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Dirt hauler delivered solid waste to Old Bridge development instead of supplying ‘clean fill.’ The waste contained a known carcinogen
State Gives Medicaid Patients More Help to Quit Smoking
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Medicaid members now qualify for smoking cessation medications like nicotine gum, lozenges, skin patches without prior approval
NJ Wine Growers Say Road Signage Prohibitions Are Keeping Them Hidden
Carly Sitrin | More Issues
Quality and quantity of Garden State wine on the upswing, but producers lament rules that limit their use of signs
Op-Ed: Separating Families — Wrong at the Border and Wrong in New Jersey
Jazmyne McNeese | Opinion
NJ punishes children of parents in prison, but pending legislation would help mitigate the damage
NJ’s Congressional Delegation Shocked at Trump’s Remarks
NJTV News | Politics
‘Disturbing,’ ‘shameful,’ and ‘wrong’ among the adjectives senior politicians used to describe president’s performance alongside Putin

July 16, 2018

See How Much Your School District Is Gaining, or Losing, in ‘Redistributed’ Aid
John Mooney | Education
There’s been a net increase of $350M in funding. Some districts are winners, but others are losers. Who wins, who loses?
Tackling Teen Suicides in NJ — and the Online Connection
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Lawmakers propose studying effects of electronic devices, online communication on schoolchildren. In related move, they want kids to be assessed for symptoms of depression
JCP&L Wants Approval for $400M Upgrades to Its Grid
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Utility, criticized by governor for poor performance during winter storms, says it needs rate increase to carry out thousands of improvements. Advocates fear consumers will pay more
How to Repair NJ Transit — Start with the Top Brass
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
Money isn’t enough. New report suggests governing board of beleaguered transportation agency needs significant reform
Budget Breakdown: How Will New Spending Plan Affect Public Pensions?
NJ Spotlight Staff | Budget
In first of a series of reports on NJTV News about the state budget, NJ Spotlight’s John Reitmeyer examines implications for public pension system
Op-Ed: Time for NJ’s Health Insurers to Help Counter Trump Sabotage of ACA
Andrew Sprung | Opinion
Governor and legislators have done their bit to try to hold down cost of premiums. When will insurance industry step up?
Last Week Was Bad for Republicans in South Jersey
WNYC News | Politics
Seth Grossman, GOP candidate in 2nd congressional district, accused of promulgating racist material

July 13, 2018

Murphy Administration Hopes to Save on Cost of Public-Worker Benefits
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Renewed focus in Trenton on price tag of health insurance, as troubled pension system also expected to come in for more scrutiny
Big ‘Ecological Impact’ to Follow Removal of Warren County Dam
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Multimillion-dollar project to clear away Columbia Lake Dam gears up. Will shad and other species come back to restored habitat?
Healthcare Transportation ‘Disrupters’ Make Big Drive in New Jersey
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
New high-tech services pledge to construct easier ways for patients to get to and from medical appointments
State Urged to Do More to Battle Air Pollution
Colleen O'Dea | Energy & Environment
New Jerseyans are breathing more than their fill of dirty air, according to a new report. Surprisingly, it found the most bad-air days in 2016 were logged in bucolic Warren County
NJ Renews Funding for McGreevey’s Prisoner Re-Entry Program
Carly Sitrin | Social
Former governor celebrates fresh grants, including one that helps people get jobs in construction

July 12, 2018

Go/No-Go for Power Plant on One of NJ’s Most Pristine Waterways
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
DEP gives exemption to proposed development in Highlands, but also deems project inconsistent with water-quality regulations
PARCC Is on the Way Out, But Not Everyone Is Happy to See It Go
John Mooney | Education
State board presented proposal to cut PARCC graduation requirements to just two tests, but some educators speak in favor of unpopular evaluation
Lawmakers Hope to Reduce Drug Abuse, OD Deaths in Schools
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Can starting drug education in seventh grade and stockpiling naloxone in high schools help turn tide in battle against substance abuse?
Republicans Want to Wrest Control of Affordable Housing from NJ Courts
Colleen O'Dea | Housing
Judges have overseen agreements that could lead to construction of tens of thousands of homes. Their ‘micromanaging’ of process is a problem for GOP leader
Senate Inaction Leaves Empty Seats on Critical State Investment Council
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Panel deals with $78.6 billion public pension system, but governor’s eight nominees have yet to get a hearing
Op-Ed: Governor Is Great, Not Weak, for Compromising on the Budget
Doug Johnston | Opinion
Murphy is already better at his job than many who held the position before him. Media ‘malarkey’ does him a disservice

July 11, 2018

Murphy Begins to Wind Down PARCC Testing in NJ Schools
John Mooney | Education
Governor announces cuts in controversial program. But, having once promised to scrap it, he concedes it will take a while to replace it
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