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NJ Spotlight Daily News

June 23, 2016

Poll: Time for Compromise On Transportation Fund, Gas Tax?
With only days left to get things done, what do you think is the best way to steer clear of this crisis in the making?
Op-Ed: Is ‘Tax Fairness’ Unfair to Everyone Who Rides NJ’s Roads?
Cathleen Lewis | Opinion
After years of neglect, it’s time for NJ to face its ‘transportation funding crisis’

June 22, 2016

Gov. Christie’s School-Funding Plan: Bold or Botched -- or Both?
John Mooney | Education
All students getting the same would be fine in the leafy suburbs, but poorer districts would end up hemorrhaging money -- and teachers
Tuning and Tweaking Legislation Targeting the Transportation Trust Fund
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
A few subtle changes in the original bipartisan plan would put a cap on how much the gas tax could increase and give retirees a more generous break on their taxable income
Some Customers in a ‘RAGE’ Over JCP&L’s Proposed New Transmission Line
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Utility argues 10-mile-long high-voltage line increases resiliency, but members of Residents Against Giant Electricity aren’t buying it
Pinklining: Predatory Lenders Zero in on Minority Women
Joe Tyrrell | Housing
Playing by the rules is far from enough, as one NJ woman sadly discovered
Hackensack, Meridian Merger Yields NJ's 2nd Largest Hospital System
Carly Sitrin | Healthcare
New Hackensack Meridian Health System includes 13 hospitals, extends from Bergen to Ocean counties

June 21, 2016

Is Lakewood on the Verge of a Meltdown?
Meir Rinde | Education, Social
The former resort town is struggling with city-size problems: overstressed infrastructure, underfinanced schools, and growing social tensions
Checking in on the South Hunterdon School Consolidation
John Mooney | Education
The regionalization is running smoothly, but required more work than anybody involved ever imagined
State Names New ‘Cyberczar’ to Help Protect Its Networks Against Hackers
John Reitmeyer | Politics
As NJ becomes increasingly reliant on computer networks, it grows correspondingly more vulnerable to expensive, intrusive cyber attacks
Explainer: Separating Rubbish from Reality for NJ’s Recycling
Meir Rinde | Explainer
Politics and economics combine to make it hard to keep waste out of the environment
Giving Communities an Affordable Way to Finance Renewable Energy
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Easy access to funds is part of the key, along with a special assessment on improved buildings, such as churches, schools, and factories
Op-Ed: Legalizing Marijuana -- A Matter of Civil Rights
Udi Ofer | Opinion
There were almost 25,000 arrests for marijuana in 2014, but New Jersey's black residents are three times more likely than their white counterparts to be busted

June 20, 2016

Christie’s Reasons for Kicking Back Open-Space Bill Under Scrutiny
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Governor claimed measure must also fund Blue Acres, but the DEP says that program has $120 million in its coffers
List: New Jersey’s 10 Trauma Centers -- Always Ready When Needed
Lilo H. Stainton | The List
Medical staff at trauma centers eat and sleep onsite when they’re on shift
Battle Lines Being Drawn over Competing Plans for Transportation Trust Fund
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
Some conservatives argue Sarlo-Oroho gas-tax hike untenable. Some liberals worry tax cuts will mean less for safety-net programs. The TTF goes broke in less than two weeks
Op-Ed: Striving for Student Success, Not Just Proficiency
Emil Carafa | Opinion
According to one assessment, PARCC is a better predictor of college success than other tests that are supposed to do the same thing

June 17, 2016

Legislature’s Revoking of DEP Water Rule One Vote Away From Reality
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
If Senate passes resolution, state agency’s ‘flood-hazard rule’ will be rescinded using rarely invoked constitutional tool
Unlike Interim Attorneys General, Christie’s New Pick Must Be Vetted by Senate
John Reitmeyer | Politics
Christopher Porrino, a known quantity to legislative leaders, could be on fast track to confirmation
NJ Legislators Target Administration’s Efforts to Relax Gun Control Laws
Carly Sitrin | Politics
Democrats push to restrict access to handguns, vow to keep guns out of hands of those convicted of domestic abuse
Veterans, Lawmakers Argue Case to Use Medical Marijuana to Treat PTSD
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
According to advocates, pot can often do more to relieve the debilitating symptoms of PTSD than conventional medical treatment
Opinion: Taking Stock of New Jersey Health Insurance Coverage Under Obamacare
Joel Cantor | Opinion
Overall grade: B+, a respectable showing for the notoriously complex Affordable Care Act, but raising that rating is going to be difficult
Interactive Map: NJ's Hungriest Counties, Tracking the Food Deserts
Colleen O'Dea | Maps, Map of the Week
The state continues to shrug off the effects of the recent recession, but hunger remains all too real in the lives of too many residents

June 16, 2016

Prisoners of Fear: NJ’s Undocumented Immigrants
Hank Kalet | Social
Recent roundups and immigration police activity have locals afraid to leave their houses to shop, work, or take kids to school
State Program Helps Defray Costs of Electric-Vehicle Charging Stations
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
More charging stations should mean more alternative-fuel vehicles on the road, a key to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in Garden State
Sweeney Confirms Democrats Will Present Their Own Budget Bill to Christie
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Line-item veto means governor gets the last word on funding for women’s healthcare and other Democratic priorities
Opponents Ask Feds to Force PennEast to Prove Pipeline Is Really Needed
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
A group opposing the pipeline has filed a complaint with FERC arguing New Jersey doesn’t need the natural gas that PennEast would deliver
Operators of Outpatient Facilities Want NJ to Consolidate Oversight
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Different agencies oversee different types of surgery centers, confusing patients and making growth difficult
Poll: Would the Garden State Be Greener If We Legalized Grass?
NJ Spotlight Staff | Polling
There are strong economic reasons to legalize marijuana, but is it a matter of more than money?
Opinion: Taking the Local Road to Restoring the TTF
Michael J. Darcy and John G. Donnadio | Opinion
The bipartisan plan to restore the TTF isn’t a gift, it’s a return to funding levels that have been cut year after year
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