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Katz on Christie Asked for Documents, Christie Gives a Piece of His Mind
Faced with new accusations that he's not providing all the Bridgegate-related documents he has promised to release, Gov. Chris Christie went on a 3 1/2-minute rant today . . .
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In The Spotlight

A coalition of environmental groups with bipartisan support from legislators this week kicked off an effort to convince voters to back a ballot question that would provide a stable source of funding for open space. The proposal, to be voted on this November, would dedicate at least $71 million yearly out of the existing corporate business revenues to preserve undeveloped land, farmland and historic structures, and to protect flood-prone areas. Read more
NJ Spotlight Daily News

September 18, 2014

Analysis: Facing Budget Problems, Christie Plays Tax Amnesty Card
Mark J. Magyar | Budget, Politics
Corzine’s 2009 tax amnesty generated a record $725 million windfall, but it would take a concerted campaign to match that success
Bills Targeting Overdoses from Heroin and Opioids Go Far Beyond ‘Just Say No’
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Legislative package would require behavioral-health insurance coverage, mandate participation in prescription-tracking program
Bipartisan Coalition Wants Open-Space Question on November Ballot
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Voters have consistently backed preservation programs -- but will NJ’s economic woes change their minds?
Newark’s Local School Board Flexes Newfound Fiscal Muscles
John Mooney | Education
Board wants to sign off on Superintendent Anderson’s contract for outside evaluation team
New Jersey Still Stuck in Economic Morass; Poverty Rate Keeps Climbing
Colleen O'Dea | Social, Maps
Nearly 1 million residents live in dire economic straits in one of the nation's wealthiest states
Poll: With Overdoses Soaring, What Should New Jersey Do?
Healthcare, Polling
Can a new package of bills save lives or could it actually impede effective healthcare?
Op-Ed: Time for BPU to Move Ahead With JCP&L Rate Case
Evelyn Liebman | Opinion
Every day the agency doesn’t act is costing seniors and other consumers money that could go to necessities like healthcare
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September 17, 2014

State Wants Sewer Plants to Plan for 500-Year Storms, Extended Outages
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
New regulations hope to avoid disasters that followed Sandy, when crippled facilities dumped billions of gallons of sewage into NJ waterways
Christie Administration, Unions Battling Over Hedge Fund Fees, Contributions
Mark J. Magyar | Politics
Union leader urges Treasury to complete pay-to-play probe, questions investment with firm whose principals donated to RNC
Op-Ed: School District Consolidation Should Be Welcomed in New Jersey
Christine Todd Whitman | Opinion
When it comes to local school districts, small isn’t beautiful -- it’s usually inefficient and expensive
Profile: Weathering the Storm -- Sea Bright and Its Volunteer Mayor
Scott Gurian | Profiles
With her home destroyed by the storm, Dina Long knows firsthand the heartache and hard work involved in recovering from Hurricane Sandy
Coalition Pushes to Replenish State's Transportation Trust Fund
Mark J. Magyar | Transportation
NJ Forward includes gas tax increase as one funding option, urges merger of transportation agencies and more public-private partnerships
Health Advocates Examine Lifelong Health Effects of Childhood Trauma
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
NJTV program premiering tonight explores impact of adverse experiences on kids in urban areas

September 16, 2014

Senate Bill Package Could Fundamentally Change the Power Sector
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Draft legislation could alter utilities’ business model, introduce aggressive goals for solar energy
Controversial Caps On Superintendent Salaries Under Discussion -- Again
John Mooney | Education
Today’s meeting of Joint Committee on the Public Schools will consider next steps when -- or if – pay limits for top administrators expire in 2016
Opinion: Snapshot of Our Schools Offers Worrisome Glimpse of Class of 2027
Mark Weber | Opinion
My kids were well-served by New Jersey’s public education system, but can all parents say the same?
Explainer: Shopping for Cheaper Energy Remains a Chancy Undertaking
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment, Explainer
Unexpected spikes in prices is one reason that the state is looking into ways to better regulate alternative power suppliers
Outdated Doctor Lists Still Make It Hard to Access Mental-Health Services
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Inaccurate contact info and in-network limits remains problems despite new federal laws bolstering behavioral-health coverage

September 15, 2014

‘One Sheriff, One Paycheck’ Campaign Targets Pension/Pay Double-Dipping
Mark J. Magyar | Politics
Retired state police major seeks to turn Mercer sheriff race into referendum on widespread abuse of pension loophole
Court Pulls Plug on NJ’s Plan to Build New Natural-Gas Power Plants
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Three-judge panel rules New Jersey program ventures into territory reserved for federal government
Mortgage Nightmare: One New Jersey Family’s Fight Against Foreclosure
Joe Tyrrell | Social, Housing
Ezekiel Iwarimie wanted a house for his wife and kids, but what he got was a pitched battle to hold onto his home
Teachers Union Heads Get First-Hand Look at NJ School-Reform Hot Spots
John Mooney | Education
Two national leaders visits Camden and Newark districts, tout organized labor’s relevance in local debates over state initiatives
‘Silver Tsunami’ of Older Residents Shapes Debate on Long-Term Care Policy
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Experts at NJ Spotlight conference look at what form services will take – and how they will be funded
Opinion: Sink the ‘Floating Nukes’ With Clean Energy, Efficient Use
R. William Potter | Opinion
Decoupling sales from volume can help utilities embrace energy efficiency and solar power, while ambitious targets can give them a reason to do so

September 12, 2014

School-Lunch Policy on the Menu as Assembly Panel Gets Back to Work
John Mooney | Education
Legislative committee looks at ways to accommodate kids with vegan or vegetarian diets
New Program Could Help Keep Sewage from Flooding State’s Waterways
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Assembly committee passes bill that would allow certain cities and towns to set up so-called stormwater utilities to help get pollution in check
Conditional Veto Could Gut Affordable-Housing Policies, Advocates Say
Hank Kalet | Politics, Housing
Governor argues that it’s time for Legislature to significantly revise New Jersey’s landmark law
Tighter Regulation Sought for ‘Sober Living’ Homes for Recovering Addicts
Andrew Kitchenman |
Involuntary commitment in some cases also sought by advocates who note that addiction qualifies as mental illness
Interactive Map: Charting the Cost of Hospital Care in New Jersey
Colleen O'Dea | Healthcare, Maps, Map of the Week
Analysis of federal data shows NJ hospital stays are slightly longer than national average, and slightly more expensive
Op-Ed: Let Great Schools Thrive -- Including Nonprofit Public Charters
Neerav Kingsland | Opinion
The goal of a rich educational experience is to prepare students for college, career, and life
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