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Katz on Christie Chris Christie's New Hampshire Plan
Chris Christie finally brought his famous town hall format to the campaign trail. And the Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran says “it’s about time . . .”
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In The Spotlight

At a "town hall" meeting held Friday in Cedar Grove, Gov. Chris Christie offered some of his most expansive comments on the new PARCC tests and against the "opt-out" movement that has seen as many as 50,000 students sit out the exams. Christie continued to hedge on the PARCC tests and the associated Common Core standards, but he came out firmly in favor of having students take the tests to officials could measure the effectiveness. Read more
NJ Spotlight Daily News

April 24, 2015

Over 200 Sites in New Jersey on EPA’s List of Major Environmental Violations
Colleen O'Dea | Energy & Environment, Maps, Map of the Week
Up-to-date info difficult to glean because federal agency’s database and state’s computer system aren’t compatible
Christie Lashes Out at Dems for Filing Brief to Join Pension-Reform Litigation
John Reitmeyer | Budget, Politics
Sweeney, Prieto petition state Supreme Court to be 'heard' on behalf of unions
Fine Print: Reading Between the Line Items in State DEP's Proposed Budget
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
A modest bump in spending should allow agency to hold onto staff in coming fiscal year
Christie Still Straddles Fence on Online Tests, Common Core Standards
John Mooney | Education
Cites value of standardized tests as measure of school quality, but takes wait-and-see approach on PARCC
Task Force Delivers Strong Defense of How New Jersey Chooses Its Judges
Colleen O'Dea | Politics
Group concludes that New Jersey's system for judge selection is best among '46 various permutations' that were evaluated
Camden School Chief Offers Rebuttal to Critics of Charter-School Takeover
NJTV News | Education
In response to NJEA legal challenge, superintendent says ‘change is hard’ but schools in question are ‘in need’ of revitalization
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April 23, 2015

Keeping Track of Christie's Trips, Treks, and Travels
Colleen O'Dea |
Stockton President Resigns Over Purchase of Bankrupt Showboat Casino
Tara Nurin | Education
Saatkamp took risky gamble on Atlantic City and ‘Island Campus’ and looks to have lost
Legislators Bemoan 20-Year Delay in Adopting Water-Supply Master Plan
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Today’s outdated plan leaves state vulnerable to water shortages, doesn’t accurately account for pollution, and underestimates demand
Little Things Are Often What Really Count in State Budget Line Items
John Mooney | Budget, Education
Language changes tucked into appropriations act drastically hike what some districts will have to pay toward charter school costs
Six Flags Wants to Clear 90-Acre Forest to Build Massive Solar Farm
Kirk Moore | Energy & Environment
Opponents argue that amusement park’s outdoor parking lot would do just as well, but company cites concerns about customer safety
NJ Spends More on Medicaid But Rate of Growth Ranks Among Nation’s Lowest
John Reitmeyer | Budget, Healthcare
Increase of just 2 percent over FY 2000 credited to 2012 federal waiver and emphasis on managed care
Poll: Can the Public Afford to Travel Using Public Transportation?
Polling
Is a fare hike on NJ Transit buses and trains really the best way to close a $60 million budget gap?
High Levels of Lead in Blood Called Yet Another Legacy of Hurricane Sandy
NJTV News | Sandy
Demolition of older storm-damaged buildings with lead paint unleashes airborne dust

April 22, 2015

Are Insurance Adjusters Lowballing Estimates for Hurricane Sandy Damages?
Scott Gurian | Sandy
For storm victims fighting their flood-insurance companies, tampered engineering reports may be just the tip of the iceberg
NJEA Ditches Christie Pension Deal, Will Focus Instead on Looming Court Clash
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Poll reveals that majority of NJ voters want governor to honor obligation to public employees even if it means higher taxes
Education Spending Climbs Slightly in Christie’s Proposed Spending Plan
John Mooney | Education
But most districts would see no aid hike as state once again fails to ‘fully fund’ school-spending formula
PSEG Chief Counsels Bigger Investments in Developing Alternative Energy
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
But taking funds from conventional sources of income could threaten utility’s bottom line, grid reliability
Profile: In Storm-Ravaged Sea Bright, Artist’s Knitting Group is Tie That Binds
Scott Gurian | Profiles, Sandy
Artist helps beautify battered town and relieve stress in a community still struggling to recover from Sandy
Opinion: Steering Clear of the 2 Percent Trap for Water Utilities
Daniel J. Van Abs | Opinion
Property taxes may be capped, but water utilities must wrestle with far more complex variables day to day and year to year
Christie Brother’s Link to Accounting Firm Raises Ethics Questions
Politics
But expert on conflicts of interest says connection isn’t necessarily a problem, unless ‘quid pro quo’ is established
Christie Stakes Out Foreign-Policy Stance During D.C. Forum on Trade Issues
Politics
NJ governor offers views on North American neighbors, immigration and relations with Cuba

April 21, 2015

Why New Jersey Transit Defends Latest Round of Fare Hikes as Necessary
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
Dwindling state subsidy, budget shortfall, sizable loan repayment add up to more expensive tickets to ride rails and buses
Advisory Council Thirsty for Look at Draft Water-Supply Master Plan
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Council hasn’t seen plan for two years, needs to evaluate revisions, effect of population growth on available water supply
Christie Budget Doesn’t Fund Permanent Fix for Social-Services Computers
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare, Social
It’s still unclear when state will have system to efficiently handle applications for food stamps and Medicaid
Despite Some Successes, Christie Still Struggles to Stabilize NJ’s Economy
John Reitmeyer | Politics
A stubborn unemployment rate and frustratingly slow recovery of jobs lost during recession mar New Jersey’s attempt at economic turnaround
State Teachers Union Challenges Legality of Camden Charter Takeover
John Mooney | Education
Complaint alleges plans to convert five schools are attempt to circumvent state’s Urban Hope Act
Explainer: Navigating the Complex Web of Federal, State Disclosure Laws
Colleen O'Dea | Explainer
Understanding the charges against U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez means understanding the finer points of the laws he allegedly broke
Just 16 School Districts Hold Budget Votes Today Around New Jersey
John Mooney | Education
Law enacted three years ago allowed switch to November – and no vote at all with 2 percent tax cap

April 20, 2015

Moving Cargo at NJ Ports Will Take Much More Than Container Ships
Meir Rinde | Transportation
Creating jobs at Port Elizabeth/Port Newark is partly a matter of streamlined hiring processes -- and very much a matter of infrastructure
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