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NJ Spotlight Daily News

February 3, 2016

State Goes Public with Results of First-Year PARCC Exam Scores
John Mooney and Colleen O'Dea | Education
As expected, the numbers show widespread falling off from earlier state tests; opt-out numbers are inconclusive
DEP Says ‘No Way’ to Rejoining RGGI; Dispute May Head to Court -- Again
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Legislature could force state agency to rescind rules that violate previously approved laws concerning greenhouse gases
Slight Hike in Tax Revenue Adds Up to Projected Surplus for State Coffers
John Reitmeyer | Budget
But slight budget cushion forecast for first six months of fiscal year may not be enough to justify dropping state’s estate tax
Profile: He’s a Self-Proclaimed ‘Policy Geek’ Who Advocates for Utilities
Tom Johnson | Profiles
Run the numbers, and Andrew Hendry works with 15 utilities that provide service to some 8 million accounts
Op-Ed: Time to Shed Some Light on Corporate-Backed Charters
John M. Abeigon | Opinion
Financial openness is just the beginning. Corporate-sponsored charter schools need to authenticate their undocumented successes

February 2, 2016

Add $10M to Budget to Fight Lead Poisoning in NJ’s Kids, Advocates Urge
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
More children with high blood-lead levels have been found in some of state’s older cities than in Flint, MI
Last Word on Bullying: Anti-Bullying Task Force Delivers Final Report
John Mooney | Education
Voluminous document includes numerous suggestions on how to improve implementation, calls for clearer definitions, more funding
New Jersey Postpartum Screening Policy Offers Roadmap for Other States
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Access to care after diagnosis still prompts concerns for women in NJ and in other states
While Governor Touts Gun Rights, Firearms Industry Has Little Impact on NJ Economy
John Reitmeyer | Politics
As candidate Christie makes it key issue in NH, report shows home state ranks near bottom nationwide in ‘gun industry dependency’
Proposed Natural-Gas Power Plant Runs Out of Gas in Face of Strong Opposition
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Genesis Power drops plan for Amwell Energy Center, which proved unpopular with locals and would have been built on a tract of open land in Hillsborough
Explainer: Tough Anti-Bullying Law Guides Schools in Dealing with Harassment
John Mooney | Explainer
Legislation enacted after Rutgers student’s suicide later spurred probe of violent hazing involving Sayerville football team
Opinion: On Governing New Jersey -- It’s Time to Reform New Jersey’s Death Taxes
Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff and Charles Steindel | Opinion
The state’s death-tax structure is double trouble for residents, comprising the estate tax and the lesser-known transfer inheritance tax

February 1, 2016

Who’s the Governor of New Jersey When the Governor’s Out-of-Town?
John Reitmeyer | Politics
Guadagno’s frequent pinch-hitting role turns spotlight on second-in-command job created by a voters a decade ago
The List: New Jersey Schools with the Highest Percentage of Kids Living in Poverty
Colleen O'Dea | The List
Poor children grow up to be impoverished adults. Along the way they’re more likely to be sick, score low on standardized tests, experience violence, and ultimately drop out
How Will Christie’s New State School Standards Play in Iowa, New Jersey?
John Mooney | Education
Public has chance to be heard on new regulations, before state board votes, moves to implement
Power Auctions in Offing, Residential Prices Expected to Remain Flat
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
But large industrial users have ability to contain prices by playing competing suppliers against one another
Op-Ed: Ending Unfunded Mandates, a Partial Victory for NJ’s Property Taxpayers
Joseph Tempesta Jr. | Opinion
As we search for new ways to cut property taxes, spare a thought for the state-mandate state-pay constitutional amendment

January 29, 2016

Democrats Look to Close Corporate-Tax Loophole Used to Shield Profits
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Combined reporting requirement would prevent big firms from shifting income to states with lower tax rates
The Feedback Loop: Public Comments and Questions About Special-Ed Ombudsman
John Mooney | Education
NJ Spotlight readers, advocates, and lawmakers go public on this new position created by a law signed this month by Gov. Christie
Two ‘Green’ Groups File Suit Against BPU Over Approval of Pipeline in Pinelands
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Action is latest flare-up in longstanding battle over converting B.L. England power plant from coal to natural gas
Interactive Map: Counting the Counties with Top Spending in 2015 Elections
Colleen O'Dea | Maps, Map of the Week
An at-a-glance assessment of which political party spent the most and where they spent it
Scapegoating Newark’s Parents and Charter Schools is Not the Answer
Muhammed Akil | Opinion
Decades of mismanagement and sub-par education spurred state takeover and community’s push for alternative education options

January 28, 2016

Another Natural-Gas Pipeline for New Jersey, Courtesy of State BPU
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Agency says one pipeline serves 85 percent of people in target area. Environmentalists say resiliency is a ruse and development will follow
Why is NJ’s Poverty Rate So High? And What Can Be Done to Lower It?
Meir Rinde | More Issues, Politics, Social
Legislative hearings address ineffective state programs and millions of residents who can’t, or barely, make ends meet
NJ Pension Officials, Citing Better Returns, Defend Alternative Investments
John Reitmeyer | Budget
But they agree to address concerns about millions in fees paid to private fund managers
Pros, Cons, and Regulatory Policies for Tiered Health Insurance Networks
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Symposium examines issues behind controversial Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage plan
Poll: The Growing Problem of Poverty in New Jersey -- Can It Be Cured?
NJ Spotlight staff | Polling
A new anti-poverty initiative has just gotten underway. Can it really do anything to change the lives of the poor?
Job Moves and Changes in Duties Bring Deputy Commissioner Back to DOE
John Mooney | Education
Hespe says changes to organizational chart will streamline how department functions, allow better use of data, personnel
Why Are Some Young Sex Offenders Held Indefinitely in NJ Facility?
George Steptoe and Antoine Goldet/The Marshall Project | More Issues, Social
Jhon Sanchez served time for sex offenses committed when he was 13. But he’s still not free.

January 27, 2016

State Intervention -- Not Bankruptcy -- in Cards for Cash-Strapped Atlantic City
John Reitmeyer | More Issues, Politics
Christie, Sweeney, and Mayor Guardian seal deal, look to extend city revenue beyond just gambling
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