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NJ Spotlight Daily News

June 27, 2018

The Opioid Epidemic in New Jersey — an NJ Spotlight Roundtable
NJ Spotlight | Roundtables
As the Garden State continues to stem the tide of opioid deaths, funding must be found for new initiatives and emerging evidence-based protocols
Op-Ed: The Garden State’s Illusive 180-Day School Year
Marc Gaswirth | Opinion
New Jersey statute mandates students attend school for 180 days each year, but everything from fire drills to teacher conferences can whittle that figure down

June 26, 2018

Murphy Won’t Rule Out Line-Item Veto, but Keeps Talking with Legislators
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Murphy and Democratic leaders try to bridge budget gap in closed-door talks and try to sway public opinion in competing press conferences
Staving Off Diversions of Lead-Abatement Funds — Constitutionally
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Committee clears bill that would dedicate portion of sales-tax revenue to stripping lead-based paint from New Jersey homes, most common source of lead exposure for kids
Education Legislation: It’s Not Just About School Funding
John Mooney | Education
Bills advancing in the State House address a variety of issues, from recess, seatbelts, and sexual abuse to helping private schools meet payroll for STEM teachers
NJ Thinks Very Small, Hoping to Make Big Difference in Affordable Housing
Colleen O'Dea | Housing
Can ‘tiny homes’ establish a firm enough foundation in the Garden State, giving the homeless and the poor a way to put a roof over their head?
Changes in State Funding Might Give Hospitals Extra Money — and Take Some Away
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Proposals, which have raced through the Legislature, envision new county-based taxes on procedures and acute care
Poll: Who’s Winning the Budget Battle for NJ’s Hearts and Minds?
Polling
Gov. Phil Murphy and state legislators have mounted an all-out messaging war about their spending plans. Is it just a media blitz or is one side edging closer to victory?
Op-Ed: Balancing Budgets Without Political Consequences
Sheila Reynertson | Opinion
Long-term, short-term, midterm — determining which spending plans can take New Jersey comfortably and safely into the future

June 25, 2018

The List: The Graying of New Jersey Keeps Pace with Aging of America
Colleen O'Dea | The List
With its median age of 35.2 years, Hudson County — with its millennial magnets of Jersey City and Hoboken — is positively spry compared with Cape May County’s 49.4
Explainer: Why Gov. Murphy and Lawmakers Can’t Agree on a New State Budget
John Reitmeyer | Budget
But despite all the buster and ballyhoo, there’s still room for compromise — and still time to end the impasse before a government shutdown becomes imminent
Prevention, Risk Reduction Focus of First NJ Spotlight Opioid Roundtable
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare, Roundtables
State officials, medical professionals agree New Jersey has made a good start by trimming opioid prescriptions, but much more work remains
BPU Blocks JCP&L Plans for High-Voltage Power Line in Monmouth County
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
State agency agrees with activists, administrative law court, and rate counsel — sees no need for proposed $111 million power conduit that would run close to schools and homes
Op-Ed: Bring NJ’s Independent Schools into Budget Discussions
Eugene J. Cornacchia | Opinion
Although the state’s independent colleges and universities offer diversity of community and opportunity, they may go unrecognized during broader budget discussions
In New Jersey, A Crisis of Legal Help for Unaccompanied Minors
WNYC News | Immigration
When immigrant families are split up at the border, their children are often sent as far away as New Jersey

June 22, 2018

Interactive Map: Where Opioids Are Exacting the Highest Death Toll in NJ
Colleen O'Dea | Maps, Map of the Week
Prescriptions are way down but that hasn’t halted the accelerating number of fatalities. The one bright spot is Ocean County, which has seen big decline in deaths related to the drugs
Push Comes to Shove: Legislature Sends Its 2019 Spending Bill to Murphy
John Reitmeyer | Budget
High rhetoric and low expectations as budget deal goes south. Next up: governor’s veto and government shutdown?
Opinion: Front-Row Seats for the Trenton Power Struggle
Carl Golden | Opinion
It’s not about any of the issues that Murphy and Sweeney have made their own, it’s about who calls the shots, the governor or the Legislature — and the conflict is only going to get uglier
NJ Lawmakers OK 5-Cent Fee on Plastic/Paper Carryout Bags
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
If Murphy signs on, law could reduce clutter in landfills and landscapes, but it won’t deliver money to lead-abatement programs — as originally intended
Fine Print: School-funding changes easily pass Senate and Assembly
John Mooney | Education
But how long will they survive in budget battle with Murphy?
Animal, Mineral, Vegetable, Microbe: Parsing NJ’s Potential State Symbols
Carly Sitrin | Politics
Will the Pine Barrens tree frog, horseshoe crab, Tom Edison, franklinite, and Streptomyces griseus — among others — join the bog turtle as official symbols of the Garden State?
Scientists Help ID New Cancer-Causing Agent in Tobacco Smoke
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Organic compounds known as ‘aldehydes’ are primary source of damage to DNA and also suppress its ability to repair that damage

June 21, 2018

Lawmakers Look to Divert Funds Before State Has Money in Hand
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
A proposed 5-cent fee on single-use plastic bags could bring in $23M for lead abatement, but the funds are being diverted — even before the new legislation is law
Murphy to Undo Contentious Christie Makeover of Mental Health, Addiction Services
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Governor expected to shift most DMHAS programs back to the Department of Human Services
For Murphy, Changes to Funding Formula Depend on Revenues to Fund Them
John Mooney | Education
Governor calls revised school-funding scheme a ‘nice-looking half a loaf,’ but suggests everything depends on lawmakers giving him the revenue he’s asked for
Feds Release Long-Awaited Report on Health Risks of Chemical Family
Jon Hurdle | Energy & Environment
New health standards on 14 chemicals in the PFAS family raise concerns about current EPA limits — or the lack of them
Uncorking the Cap: Law Would Make It Easier for NJ Drinkers to Buy Wine
Colleen O'Dea | More Issues
Coalition of wineries, consumers and retailers cheer plan to get rid of current cap on amount of wine that can be shipped but liquor store alliance opposes the change
Money Drains as Lawmakers Slow to Approve Refinancing of NJ’s Transportation Debt
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Governor gave go-ahead, but legislators haven’t acted. Officials estimate state has missed out on $1 million in savings in days
Op-Ed: Reducing Disposable Bags Means Both Paper and Plastic
Rocco D’Antonio | Opinion
Plastic bags may have a worse reputation, but their paper equivalents are at least just as bad for the environment

June 20, 2018

NJ Stands with Children, Protests Splitting Up Immigrant Families at Border
Colleen O'Dea | Immigration
Murphy signs EO to stop state funds from being used for forced separations, commits $2.1 million to legal help for indigent immigrants
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