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NJ Spotlight Daily News

August 12, 2015

Letting Drug Court Participants Use Methadone Reflects Changing Approach
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Christie’s signing of law reflects growing understanding of effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment of addiction
Profile: Looking Out for Interests of State’s Businesses, Large and Small
John Reitmeyer | Profiles
NJBIA president cites patience, perseverance and passion as key to success in pushing for business-friendly state policies
Bramnick Believes Pension Reform Can Galvanize Voters to Favor GOP in November
John Reitmeyer | Budget, Politics
Leader of Assembly Republicans frames public-employee pensions and health benefits as war between special interests and average taxpayers

August 11, 2015

Reluctance by NJ, NY to Help Finance Hudson River Tunnel Bodes Ill for Commuters
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
Lawmakers in Trenton told passing the buck on Gateway project means rail-transit woes will only get worse
With Bankruptcy Filing, Saint Michael’s Opens Up New Front in Battle Over Sale
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Hospital CEO points to lengthy state review while state argues it must act in best interests of community
Superior Court Judge Orders Christie to Release His ‘Valuable Asset’ Media List
Mark Lagerkvist/New Jersey Watchdog | Politics
Governor’s office argues that turning over list to New Jersey Watchdog would give it an unfair advantage over competitors
Explainer: Drug Court Offers Substance Abusers Treatment Over Jail Time
Lilo H. Stainton | Explainer
Nonviolent criminals given a way to clean up and learn life skills -- at one-fourth the cost of incarceration for a year
Bill Could Mean More Money to Small Businesses, Residents with Solar Panels
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Christie signs law that increases cap on net metering, letting New Jersey residents earn more for electricity their solar panels produce
Bills Add ASL to Accepted Languages, Authorize Study of Later-Start H.S. Classes
John Mooney | Education
But Christie conditionally vetoes ‘recovery high schools’ for students with substance-abuse problems
Governor Vetoes Two Proposals to Inject Some Funds into Pension Plans
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Democrats called using unexpected revenues for one-time cash infusion and making quarterly payments that could boost return on state’s investments

August 10, 2015

State Shifts Regional Achievement Center into Camden School District
John Mooney | Education
NJ says the RACs, criticized by NJEA and other concerned parties, serve highest-need schools
Court Allows Christie to Hide $1 Million in AmEx Charges for Travel
Mark Lagerkvist/New Jersey Watchdog | Politics
Superior Court judge rules that making information public about Christie’s food, lodging, and transportation could compromise his security in future
First Public Hearing on State Energy Master Plan Scheduled for Tomorrow
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Making state plan mesh better with Obama proposal to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions likely to be on agenda
NJ Gets Mixed Marks for Initiatives, Policies for Combating Cancer
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Report chides state for being only one in nation that doesn’t spend any of its tobacco-settlement payments on anti-smoking efforts
Did Question About Economy – and Christie’s Reply -- Open Up a Pandora’s Box?
John Reitmeyer | Politics
Observers say governor’s reply on NJ's fiscal picture scored debating points, but exaggerations and distortions may provide future fodder to GOP foes
Opinion: Why are Municipal Water Utilities Not Up for Mergers and Acquisitions?
Daniel J. Van Abs | Opinion
New Jersey is missing opportunities for better management of these crucial governmental entities

August 7, 2015

Debate Grades From Candidates’ Beat Reporters
Matt Katz | Katz on Christie
Three public radio reporters - each of whom has been closely following their local candidate - "grade" the candidates' performances in last night's GOP debate ...
Senate Committee to Train Its Attention on Tunnels, NJ Transit, and Transportation
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
Topping the agenda at Monday’s hearing will be the stalled Gateway tunnel project; long-term planning for NJ Transit also on the docket
Interactive Map: Tracking Christie’s Cash from People, PACs and Super PACs
Colleen O'Dea | Maps, Map of the Week
Governor’s coffers gained more than $14M in first six months of 2015, including millions from New Jersey
Sponsors of Bill to Stop Surprise Out-of-Network Medical Costs Push On
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Legislators involved in effort ask advocates and opponents to submit changes, plan stakeholder meeting at summer’s end
Charter Teachers Typically Follow Traditional Routes to Certification
John Mooney | Education
New staff at charters thus far follow tried-and-true path to fulfilling requirements, administration reports

August 6, 2015

NJ Expands Funding to Help Pediatricians Address Kids’ Mental-Health Issues
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Budget doubles spending on pilot program linking kids’ physicians with psychiatrists and other behavioral-health experts
New Superintendent Promises ‘Trust’ and ‘Healing,’ But Offers Few Specifics
John Mooney | Education
Cerf pledges steps toward local control while vague on ‘One Newark’ and dealing with looming budget gap
Rate Counsel Files With FCC to Block Verizon Switch to Fiber-Optic System
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Division claims telecom giant’s moving subscribers from copper without telling them; subscribers worry about loss of service during outages
Poll: Can Christie Compete in Tonight’s GOP Candidate Debate?
The governor is going be onstage with candidates who dwarf even his outsized personality. Can he cut it?
Administration Holds Student Test Scores to 10% of Teacher Evaluations
John Mooney | Education
Decision not to boost weighting to 20% comes in response to Democratic pressure, concerns about first-year results of PARCC exams
GOP Senator Sponsors Bill to Cut Tax Rate on New Jersey’s Biggest Earners
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Pennacchio argues that lopping taxes by 1 percent would stimulate state’s economy, encourage companies to relocate here
Confident Christie Vows to Bring Some Jersey Attitude to the White House
NJTV News | Politics
Governor tells GOP supporters at Asbury Park event that he expects to win nomination, become president

August 5, 2015

Garden State Hospitals Lead Nation in Penalties for High Readmission Rates
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Federal agency penalizes problematic readmission rates by reducing Medicare reimbursements
Mixed Evaluation Results Complicate Questions About Newark Schools
John Mooney | Education
Status of return to local control to be addressed as new superintendent meets with State Board of Education today
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