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NJ Spotlight Daily News

April 22, 2016

End of Life Planning: The Difficult Conversation Most New Jerseyans Never Have
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare, Social
A growing group of Garden State organizations are dedicated to helping residents have the death they want, away from hospitals and free from costly medical treatments
Christie Poised to Divert Another $20 Million from Open-Space Funding
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Lawmakers, advocates contend diversions are opposed to intent of 2014 amendment that funds preservation of undeveloped land
Interactive Map: How Big a Tax Bite Did the IRS Take Out of New Jersey?
Colleen O'Dea | Maps, Map of the Week
New Jerseyans' total liability in 2013 was $53.9 billion, an average of approximately $16,450 per person or household filing a return
Op-Ed: What I Learned by Living Through a Toxic-Chemical Spill in New Jersey
Trisha Sheehan | Opinion
The EPA is poised to pass new rules about dangerous chemicals and carcinogens, but they don’t do nearly enough to protect our children

April 21, 2016

Zika Virus Not a Current Threat to New Jersey, According to State, CDC
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
All nine cases detected in Garden State originated overseas, but ‘travelers’ disease’ remains a concern in a state where so many people have roots abroad
Hespe’s Headaches: PARCC Glitch, School Funding, Anti-Bullying . . .
John Mooney | Education
Flaky PARCC server throws a pall over commissioner’s State House visit
More than Scenic, Delaware Water Gap Serves as Defense Against Climate Change
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
‘Green groups’ extend recreation area with addition of three tracts of ‘highly resilient’ land
State Supreme Court Ruling on Public Employee Pensions Could Burden System
John Reitmeyer | Budget
If top court decides to restore cost-of-living adjustments for retirees it could mean another $13B to state’s unfunded pension liability
Poll: Does PARCC Glitch Mean It’s Time to Take Another Look at Online Test?
Polling
A server problem KO’d PARCC testing for a day, but does the offline exam indicate a more serious issue?

April 20, 2016

Effects of Christie Not Funding Family-Planning Clinics Still Felt Across NJ
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
In 2011, the governor argued there was no money for women’s healthcare, but advocates and critics are still trying to account for women who may not be getting needed medical attention
Democrats, GOP Disagree Over How Much Cash to Pump into Transportation Fund
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
There’s no deal in the offing, but Democrats are arguing for $2B while Republicans want $1.6B -- the amount of state dollars currently committed to the fund
Fine Print: Annual OLS Quizzing of Christie Administration on Schools
John Mooney | Education
Legislative staff probes charter funding and mysterious 2012 task force
The Chess-Playing Crane Operator Who Heads Up One of NJ’s Key Unions
John Reitmeyer | Profiles
Greg Lalevee isn’t just the business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers, he’s also vice chairman of the Transportation Trust Fund Authority
Op-Ed: Don’t Let Your Children Pay for That Pothole
Robert Briant Jr. and Jack Kocsis Jr. | Opinion
As NJ roads crumble, raising gas tax presents best option to bailing out Transportation Trust Fund

April 19, 2016

How Effective Are the State’s Efforts to Protect Our Kids from Lead?
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Screening programs are in place, but follow-up is sloppy; meanwhile. tens of millions may have been diverted from funds meant for lead abatement
Sen. Beck Backs New Plan to Triple Estate-Tax Threshold to $2.5 Million
John Reitmeyer | Budget, Politics
Raising limit would exempt about 90 percent of those now hit by tax, still preserve some revenue for various programs
Could 10,000 NJ High-School Students Miss Their Graduations?
John Mooney | Education
Lawyers are negotiating to find an alternative to passing PARCC or other testing requirements, but no deal yet
Explainer: What Rutgers New Health System Means to Medical Care in NJ
Tara Nurin | Explainer
Equipped with thousands of doctors, a dozen medical-training schools, and two hospital partnerships, the university is uniting its clinical facilities under the Rutgers Health umbrella
Exelon Merger Goes Through, ACE Customers Should See Credit on Bills
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
With Atlantic City Electric now part of Exelon, new owner promises increased reliability, enhanced electric substations
Op-Ed: NJ’s Emancipation Statute Brings Changes to Child Support
Robert A. Epstein | Opinion
New child-support regulations should help cut down on administrative backlog while reducing litigation between parents

April 18, 2016

Why Is It So Tough to Track Police Shootings in the Garden State?
Hank Kalet | Social
The lack of hard data makes it difficult for law enforcement to do its job, raises mistrust and suspicion in local communities
Challenging Conventional Thinking About New Jersey’s Power Sector
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Former NRG CEO David Crane continues to refine his unique perspective on global warming, solar power, electric vehicles and nuclear energy
Nuclear Power Is the Answer to New Jersey's Clean-Energy Future
Bill Levis | PSEG Power | Energy & Environment, Sponsored Content
If carbon reduction is our goal, we need to acknowledge the role nuclear power plays and promote policies that recognize its large contribution
The List: Top Garden State Lobbying Firms that Collected the Most Fees
Colleen O'Dea | The List
With multiple clients, high-profile lobbyists continue to thrive -- understandably so, with more than $70 million spent on lobbying this past year
A Familiar Story: Property Taxes Climb, Tax Relief Remains Flat
John Reitmeyer | Politics
True transparency would let average New Jerseyans see for themselves that the popular Homestead tax-relief program is not keeping pace with increasing property taxes

April 15, 2016

Consensus and Compromise on Atlantic City Remain Elusive, Some Movement Seen
John Reitmeyer | Politics
Democratic Leaders in Assembly and Senate willing to amend bills; Christie concession on Supreme Court nominee seen as hopeful sign
Interactive Map: Tracking New Jersey’s Sluggish Home Construction Industry
Colleen O'Dea | Maps, Map of the Week
Figures for 2015 show that the number of building permits for residential construction continues a downward trend from 2005
Good News at Gas Pump: Summer Prices Projected to Be Lowest Since 2014
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
But a rise in crude-oil prices or an uptick in consumption could push prices higher
Opinion: Did Guadagno Just Cut the Ribbon on Her Own Campaign?
Carl Golden | Opinion
One of the lieutenant governor’s first challenges, open up space between her and the administration without sounding disloyal

April 14, 2016

Democrats Challenge Christie to Step Up to Plate and Share His Transit Plan
John Reitmeyer | Politics, Transportation
Latest analysis reveals that if Transportation Trust Fund goes broke, projects currently underway could be jeopardized
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