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Katz on Christie The New Hampshire Strategy: Christie's Road To The White House
MANCHESTER, NH -- Undeterred by low poll numbers, Gov. Chris Christie has a two-word strategy he thinks will send him to the White House: New Hampshire . . .
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In The Spotlight

Senate President Stephen Sweeney has come up with an ambitious plan to pay down New Jersey’s more than $40 billion in public-employee pension debt. It centers on convincing the federal government to create a new loan program that would help not only New Jersey, but also dozens of other states that are struggling with huge unfunded pension liabilities. Read more
NJ Spotlight Daily News

July 30, 2015

Man With a Plan: Sweeney Looks to Federal Loans to Pay Down Pension Debt
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Senate president makes clear $50 billion in federal funds would be borrowed -- not a handout or bailout
More Than 25% of Sandy Victims Still Experience Mental-Health Aftereffects
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare, Sandy
Report by state cites need for continued screening and underscores lessons learned for handling future disasters
Opinion: Half a Century After Its Inception, What Can Medicaid Teach Us?
Joel C. Cantor, Jeffrey Brenner and Natassia M. Rozario | Opinion
What Medicaid is beginning to discover, much of the world has already learned: Health is complex and encompasses more than just medicine
Power-Grid Operator PJM Hands Off High-Speed Transmission Project
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
PSE&G will handle one of three components to add resilience to power grid, upgrade Salem substation
Poll: Does Candidate Christie Have a Clue When It Comes to Marijuana?
Polling
The governor warns pot-friendly states: There will be no more good times when I’m president
State Removes 19 Schools from Watch List for Student Achievement Gaps
John Mooney | Education
Districts told efforts to improve have led to removal from ‘focus school’ designation
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July 29, 2015

Environmentalists Head Back to Court to Be Heard in ExxonMobil Case
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Five ‘green’ groups ask appellate panel to let them intervene in controversial legal action, stay decision until appeal is decided
Bill Would Let NJ Start-Ups, Entrepreneurs Seek Financial Backers Online
John Reitmeyer | Budget
‘Crowdfunding’ to generate capital billed as one way to reinvigorate state’s sluggish economy
Program Encourages Young Blacks, Hispanics to Pursue Careers in Healthcare
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
SMART exposes minority students to doctors, with goal of inspiring them to pursue medical careers
Community-Based Flood Insurance: Would It Work in New Jersey?
Jon Hurdle | Sandy
One potential fatal flaw: Homeowners at low risk could end up subsidizing neighbors in high-risk zones
Profile: Faith -- and Respect for the Natural World -- Motivate Episcopal Pastor
Tom Johnson | Profiles
Rev. Fletcher Harper heads up GreenFaith, an interfaith group committed to environmental leadership
Op-Ed: Half-Truths Mask Reality of Charter Accountability
Nicole Cole | Opinion
New Jersey charter schools face extensive review and oversight requirements that far surpass anything traditional public schools must meet

July 28, 2015

Bill Would Designate Some Classroom Standouts as ‘Teacher Leaders’
John Mooney | Education
Educators, policy makers surveyed by NJ Spotlight offer views on how proposed position should be defined
Pension Trustees Take New Tack, Ask Court to Require State to Pay ‘Unpaid Debt’
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Filing doesn’t challenge recent NJ Supreme Court ruling that Christie could legally withhold payments to state workers’ retirement fund
Christie Vetoed Funds for Towns Hurt By Shortfall in Meadowlands Payments
Lilo H. Stainton | More Issues
Line-item veto represents another bump in road for complex law that combines former NJ Meadowlands Commission with NJ Sports and Exposition Authority
Fine Print: Funding Projects to Restore Areas Around NJ Damaged By Pollution
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Garden State still lacks an effective mechanism to prevent money meant for environmental reparations from going to the general fund
Explainer: The How and Why of NJ’s Ban on Investments in Firms with Ties to Iran
John Reitmeyer | Explainer
Boycott became law in 2008 in response to threatening anti-Israel rhetoric by nation’s then-leader, restarting of country’s nuclear program
Bill Would Allow ‘Medical Parole’ for Inmates with Incapacitating Illnesses
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Legislation’s sponsor estimates program could save state $5 million to $9 million annually
Opinion: Are NJ's High-School Diplomas Worth the Paper They’re Printed On?
Laura Waters | Opinion
Are we being over-optimistic when it comes to how well NJ’s middle-class students are being prepared for college?
They Love Him at Town Hall Meetings, But Not When The Pollsters Call
Matt Katz | Katz on Christie
They loved his jokes, even the old ones. They said they believe he does what his campaign slogan says -- “telling it like it is . . .”

July 27, 2015

Telling It Like It Is: Christie Didn’t Close $11B Budget Gap When He Took Office
John Reitmeyer | Politics
Governor likes to regale voters with stories of how he plugged a huge hole in the state’s structural deficit, but NJ Spotlight analysis reveals he’s only trimmed $500 million
State On Target for Meeting Goals of Energy Master Plan, According to BPU
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Agency identifies emerging issues -- like lengthy power outages in wake of severe storms -- that need to be addressed
NJ Home-Health Agencies Rank High in First-Time Federal Ratings
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
While consumers get valuable help in making healthcare choices, industry representatives say other criteria should be taken into account
Senate Democrats Craft Nonbinding Resolution for PARCC Testing Opt-Outs
John Mooney | Education
Low-key request simply asks that students and families who choose not to take PARCC exams not be punished for decision
The List: How Do New Jersey Children Fare in National Well-Being Rankings?
Colleen O'Dea | The List
NJ ranks eighth-best overall in national kids' well-being ratings, but ranks near bottom for number of children living in families struggling to pay for housing
Op-Ed: Charting the Path to Local Control for Newark’s Public Schools
Theresa Luhm | Opinion
QSAC maps out a clear and expeditious approach for moving Newark’s state-controlled schools back under home rule

July 24, 2015

Hospital Payments to Towns Discussed as Alternative to Property Taxes
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Tax-court decision has healthcare industry, state legislators talking about potential compromises
Irked by Christie’s Campaign Spending, Lawmakers Move to Limit Use of State Funds
John Reitmeyer | Politics
Committee votes out bill preventing sitting governors from putting anything but official duties on state’s tab
State Agency Pursues Probe into Utilities’ Responses to Severe Storm
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Late-June macroburst knocked out power to more than 400,000 customers, disrupting communications and impeding restoration efforts
Business Groups, Worker Advocates At Odds Over Local ‘Wage-Theft’ Laws
Hank Kalet | More Issues
Ordinances in five towns threaten loss of licenses; businesses say rules could backfire, resulting in loss of jobs and hurting economy
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