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New Jersey has never achieved the federal health-quality standard for ozone in the nearly four-decade history of the Clean Air Act. The EPA’s recent decision to freeze a rule that curbs ozone-forming pollution from cars, trucks, and businesses means the state can’t crack down on those sources of ozone in the atmosphere. Read more
NJ Spotlight Daily News

June 22, 2017

Christie Keeps Pushing to Siphon Cash from Horizon to Fund Drug Treatments
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
State’s largest health insurer claims $15 million DHS sanction is ‘retaliation’ for refusing to go along with governor’s demand for $300 million from its reserves
U.S. Appellate Court Upholds PJM Rules to Meet Peak Demand for Power
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Environmentalists, others fear new regulations from operator of the power grid will cause prices to spike when demand is highest
Increasing Fiscal Transparency by Tracking, Reporting on Unspent Funds
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Bipartisan effort would keep tabs on money allocated to programs and endeavors that is sometimes left to languish in various state accounts
Profile: Former Corporate Employee Whose New Job Is Turning Around Kids’ Lives
Colleen O'Dea | Profiles
Retha Onitiri doesn’t believe in setting her goals too low; she just wants to remake the state’s system of juvenile incarceration
Poll: School Aid, School Aid — Is there a Way out of the Funding Maze?
The Democrats have unveiled their new plan. Should Christie go for it or walk away?
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June 21, 2017

Sweeney, NJEA Square off in Ugly Brawl About School Funding
John Mooney | Education
Never good friends, the Senate president and the state teachers union punch and counterpunch over $125 million school-aid plan
NJ Representatives Lead Bipartisan Push to Preserve Income-Tax Deduction
John Reitmeyer | Politics
In letter to Trump administration, Lance, Pascrell, and other members of Congress lobby in favor of policy that lets taxpayers deduct state and local taxes from federal returns
Garden State Seeks to Regulate Hospital Protocols for Sepsis
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Despite sharing of diagnostic data and best practices, sepsis mortality rates are on the rise in New Jersey
Supreme Court Rules OPRA Applies to Email, Other Electronic Data
Colleen O'Dea | Politics
In strongly worded reversal of lower court decision, top court says information stored electronically by state agencies qualifies as ‘government records’
Op-Ed: Fixing NJ’s Behavioral Health Issues Isn’t as Easy as Extra Beds
Don McDaniel | Opinion
Just adding more beds — while a step in the right direction — won’t solve the problem: patients need improved access to behavioral health and providers need payment reform
Christie Says ‘We’ll Have to See’ About Sweeney-Prieto School-Funding Deal
NJTV News Online | Education
Governor says aspects of Democrats’ deal are ‘encouraging’ while others are ‘discouraging and unfair’
Westwood Voters Want Real Help, Not Quick Fixes | Politics
The party affiliation of New Jersey’s next governor does not much matter to many voters in Westwood. What matters is whether the officerholder has real solutions for the state’s problems

June 20, 2017

Sweeney, Prieto to Christie: School Funding First, then We’ll Do the Budget
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Legislative leaders want governor to agree to school-aid formula independent of budget, so Christie can’t line-item veto changes he doesn’t like in the spending plan
From Tragic Death, a Law to Safeguard People with Developmental Disabilities
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
‘Komninos Law’ protects individuals at residential facilities and day programs, requires families and guardians to be notified within an hour of any problems
State Takes Steps to Tap into $72.2M Volkswagen Settlement
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Money would be used to deploy charging infrastructure for electric cars, relieve air pollution from transportation sector
Opinion: Sweeney-Prieto School Aid Plan Could Defuse Campaign Issue
Carl Golden | Opinion
Compromise could be seen as settling the matter for at least a year, but right now it’s still up to Christie to say ‘yea’ or ‘nay’
Trump's FBI Pick Billed Taxpayers $2.1M, as Christie's Bridgegate Lawyer
Matt Katz | Politics
Tab included airfare and legal expenses after the Bridgegate trial ended
A Small Town that Wants More Attention from Trenton
Newsworks | Politics
Mayor says his town, like other small towns in New Jersey, is ‘out of sight, out of mind’ while the focus of State House politicians is on big cities

June 19, 2017

NJ’s Top Two Utilities Could Do More to Help Customers Cut Energy Use, Costs
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
National scorecard of 51 largest utilities ranks PSE&G, JCP&L near bottom when it comes to saving consumers money with energy efficiency
NJ Lawmakers, Advocates Push to Spend More to Curb Smoking
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
State officials indicate they’re already investing in anti-smoking efforts, as smoking rates decline
Mission Impossible? Bramnick, Prieto Want to Make NJ Politics More Polite
John Reitmeyer | Politics
Assembly leaders shake hands on a proposal to take some of the anger and insults out of the Garden State’s brand of hardball politics
Voting Block: New Jersey Neighbors Dare to Talk Politics
WNYC News | Politics
Conversations across the political divide are increasingly difficult, which makes them all-the-more essential
Female Boxing Champion Empowers Young Women to Talk About Fears
NJTV News Online | Social
Mia St. John opens up about her struggles with drugs, alcoholism, and mental illness to demonstrate that problems are not weaknesses

June 16, 2017

Interactive Map: Charting the Ups and Downs of Dems’ School-Aid Plan
John Mooney | Education, Maps, Map of the Week
For critics it’s not just a matter of winners and losers; NJEA dismisses strategy as ‘sick scheme’ for proposing school budget cuts so late in the day
NJ Treasurer Pitches Plan to Use Lottery to Help Prop Up Public-Worker Pensions
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Some lawmakers appear receptive to idea; others want Wall Street to vet the scheme, while union skepticism makes itself heard
DHS Official Defends Medicaid Payment Reform; Mental Health Providers Worried
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Meeting at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital is told transition to new system going well, but providers remain concerned
$500 Million Slotted for Sewage-Treatment, Drinking-Water Systems
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Funds to be distributed by Environmental Infrastructure Trust, well-regarded financier for clean-water projects for several decades
Poll: Have You Got a Favorite Candidate for Governor?
Common wisdom holds that it’s a long way to November, but that doesn’t stop people from starting to sort out the candidates
Majority in NJ Support State Funds for Family Planning Clinics
NJTV News Online | Politics
Protesters rallied in Trenton yesterday to show their support for Planned Parenthood and against governor’s latest expected denial of funds to clinics

June 15, 2017

Sweeney, Prieto Agreement Adds $125M to School-Funding Formula
John Mooney | Education
Embattled Democratic leaders shake hands on a deal, but will Christie and the rest of the Legislature buy into their vision?
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