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President Donald Trump’s recently released budget summary devoted very little ink to transportation. But the little it said on the subject raised alarms in New Jersey, since it called for a freeze of funds for projects in the federal New Starts grant program unless they already have agreements in place for full funding. Local politicians and transportation advocates say that would put in jeopardy the Gateway trans-Hudson tunnel as well as the expansion of NJ Transit’s Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line. Read more
NJ Spotlight Daily News

March 29, 2017

Trump Scraps EPA Regulations Limiting Air Pollution from Fossil Fuels
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
New president declares end to war on coal, likely driving up greenhouse-gas emissions and potentially endangering coastal states like New Jersey
No More Secret Deals Between Whistleblowers and Government
John Reitmeyer | Politics
The Christie administration spent millions of dollars and kept key documents confidential in the Barlyn whistleblower case. Lawmakers want to end such deals
Bridgegate: Where Are They Now?
Matt Katz | Politics
Yes, several face prison time, but others have landed comfortably in the Trump administration
The Keys to Getting Ahead of Hep-C: Prevention, Screening, Treatment
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
An estimated 150,000 NJ residents are infected with hep-C, most without knowing it; at present, their lives could be in danger
Profile: Keeping Tabs on Money, Politics, and Ethics in New Jersey Elections
Colleen O'Dea | Profiles
As executive director of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, Jeffrey Brindle has his work cut out for him — and he loves it
Pinelands Pipeline Project Headed Back to Appellate Court
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Pinelands Preservation Alliance argues that 22-mile conduit violates its Comprehensive Management Plan
NJ Spotlight, NJTV to Host Two Gubernatorial Primary Debates
NJ Spotlight Staff | Politics
New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission picks partnership, also names Stockton University to host two other debates
Op-Ed: NJ Police and Fire Pension Bill — From the Frying Pan to the …
Chuck Reed | Opinion
The public-employee unions have a point: The New Jersey retirement system has been a disaster. Unfortunately, what they don’t have is a viable solution
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March 28, 2017

NJ Adds 1,500 Beds to Community Programs for Mentally Ill Residents
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
State Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision succeeds in moving adults with mental disabilities from state hospitals to ‘least-restrictive’ facilities
NJ High Court Rules State Not Liable for Raritan Bay Superfund Site
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
In divided decision, dissenting justice dismisses finding as ‘interpretative acrobatics’
Moody’s Downgrades NJ Credit Rating Fourth Time While Christie in Office
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Rating agency identifies New Jersey’s chronically underfunded public pension system as one of main reasons for latest lowering of state’s grade
Water Companies Act on Chemical Concerns as Rulemaking Process Drags on
Jon Hurdle | Energy & Environment
Some private purveyors have already deployed the requisite filtering technology and are passing costs on to customers
Op-Ed: Why U.S. Supreme Court Must Stand up for Retired Americans
Mary Rich | Opinion
Hospitals that masquerade as religiously affiliated institutions do their employees and themselves a grave disservice
Atlantic City Under Christie Administration: a Quick Recap
NewsWorks | Politics
Deep cuts to the public-service sector, two shuttered casinos find buyers, and a credit upgrade — with the proviso that outlook for AC is still negative
On Her Retirement, Sen. Diane Allen Laments Anger in Politics
NJTV News Online | Politics
Burlington County legislator says ire has become endemic in politics, society but legislators can still solve problems

March 27, 2017

$400M Supplemental Transportation Aid OK’d in Time for Pothole Season
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
No specifics yet on what projects will be tackled; $260M to go to roads and bridges, $140M to NJ Transit. Transportation Trust Fund now sitting pretty at $2B
Will NJ Tighten Vehicle-Emission Standards Following California’s Lead?
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Garden State belongs to coalition that has agreed to lower emission standards in step with the Golden State
Will NJ Schools Be Affected by U.S. Top Court Ruling on Special Ed?
John Mooney | Education
State already answers to higher legal standard, but federal ruling should re-emphasize that minimum progress is not enough for special-needs students
Opinion: Welcome to the Brave New World of Stormwater
Daniel J. Van Abs | Opinion
We need to think of stormwater as a resource that supports our streams, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries, not something to be discarded and forgotten
NJ Spotlight Helps Plan for Healthcare Future as GOP Bill Melts Down
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Speakers at NJ Spotlight roundtable — ACA Repeal and Replace: New Jersey’s Response — stress that regardless of fate of Republican bill, state must be prepared for change
Menendez Focuses on Meals on Wheels, Despite Own Legal Worries
NJTV News Online | Politics
U.S. Representative goes door to door to make sure clients eat, and to dramatize what Trump administration’s cuts would mean to New Jeresey
A Video Primer of New Jersey’s Property-Tax Relief Programs
NJTV News Online | Budget
NJ Spotlight’s John Reitmeyer visits the studios of NJTV to talk property-tax relief

March 24, 2017

Police, Firefighters Edge Closer to Control of Own Retirement Fund
John Reitmeyer | Budget
After lawmakers approve removal of PFRS from state pension system, the proposal goes to governor; whether Christie likes the plan or not, it may be veto-proof
Court Tosses Case Against FERC, Helps Ease the Way for PennEast
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Judge rules that environmental group did not demonstrate bias on part of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission when reviewing projects
Alternative Pain Treatments Reduce Suffering Without Addictive Drugs
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
One promising approach combines high-frequency radio waves and cooling technology rather than prescriptions for opioids
Interactive Map: Detailing New Jersey’s National Flood Insurance Payments
Colleen O'Dea | Maps, Map of the Week
New Jerseyans have been hard hit by floods over the past four decades, receiving almost $6 billion in NFIP payments
Opinion: Finding the Right Fit for Charters and Special-Needs Students
Laura Waters | Opinion
Accusations that charters don’t want to deal with special-ed costs and challenges are getting us — and our children — nowhere

March 23, 2017

Christie Wants to Divert Environmental Settlements One More Time
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Language in proposed budget would shunt hundreds of millions of dollars in legal settlements to general fund
Pushing to Keep Trump Budget Cuts from Derailing NJ Mass-Transit Projects
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
Lawmakers, transportation advocates argue that loss of funding would be a blow not just to New Jersey but the entire Northeast corridor
New Jersey Hospital Improvements Save Lives and Dollars
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
ACA initiative in 63 Garden State facilities leads to better results for patients and significant savings overall
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