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NJ Spotlight Daily News

February 17, 2015

Explainer: Legislators in Two States Push to Reform the NY-NJ Port Authority
Meir Rinde | Transportation, Explainer
Working on parallel paths and with identical bills, lawmakers struggle to bring transparency and accountability to the agency that gave Bridgegate to the world
Expert Panel Details Challenges of Adapting to Climate Change in New Jersey
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
NJ Spotlight roundtable brings together panelists from range of disciplines to analyze how state must adapt to global warming
Opinion: New Jersey Needs to Do the Right Thing -- Raise Taxes
Mark Weber | Opinion
The state is facing a well-documented array of fiscal problems -- and there’s only one way out

February 13, 2015

Senate, Assembly Taking Separate Paths to Making College More Affordable
Tara Nurin | Education
Lower chamber hammers out package of bills, while upper house creates a commission to study the ‘college affordability crisis’
Sweeney Pilot Aims to Save Money, Improve Public-Employee Healthcare
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Program could shift emphasis onto better health rather than paying for services
Commuting Trends in NJ Show Tilt Toward Taking Public Transit
Colleen O'Dea | Transportation, Maps, Map of the Week
Most still drive alone to work, but younger residents are more likely to ride bikes, take trains or buses, or even walk – and 4 percent of us telecommute
Slightly Lower Power Prices for Most Utility Customers; PSE&G Rates Could Jump 2%
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Cheap natural gas helps hold down cost of electricity, but pricey transmission projects could mean higher bills for all customers
It’s Crunch Time for Deciding on PARCC Test Opt-Outs and Implementation Delays
John Mooney | Education
As grassroots opposition to new testing grows, NJ lawmakers worry about possible loss of federal funds
Op-Ed: Dollars Don’t Make Sense -- Time to Improve Charter School Funding
Gloria Bonilla-Santiago | Opinion
Inequitable funding for charter schools almost guarantees inequitable treatment for some of New Jersey’s most vulnerable students

February 12, 2015

Debunking Chris Christie’s Claims About Common Core State Standards
John Mooney | Education
The federal government never insisted that states sign on for the Common Core and never tied it to any promise of funding
Mega-Merger Could Put $62M in Pockets of Atlantic City Electric Customers
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
BPU approves Exelon-Pepco merger, leaving PSE&G as only state utility still headquartered in New Jersey
Poll: Should Gov. Christie Be So Busy With International Trade Policy?
While Christie is talking global trade, back home he’s vetoing a slate of ‘Buy American’ bills
Opinion: Rescuing New Jersey Communities From the Brink of Oblivion
Roland V. Anglin | Opinion
‘Networked governance,’ links public leadership, innovative thinking, and community-based expertise to reduce poverty
Jeb Bush Releases 250,000 Emails, Distancing Himself from Chris Christie
Despite promising transparency, NJ governor battling in court to keep state documents secret

February 11, 2015

Chris Christie’s About-Face on Common Core Standards Turns Debate Upside-Down
John Mooney | Education
Governor tells a GOP audience in Iowa that he has ‘grave doubts’ about academic standards and student testing he previously endorsed
Bill Aims to End Insurance Company Management of Behavioral Healthcare
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Advocates for change say providers know best, while insurers call criticism misplaced
High-Pressure Pipeline Would Traverse Three Counties in Fast-Growing South Jersey
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
New Jersey Natural Gas looks to boost reliability, resilience in counties hit hard by Hurricane Sandy
ACA Health Insurance Sign-Ups Pushed as Enrollment Deadline Looms
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
As economic benefits to NJ become apparent, local efforts intensify, especially those targeting Latino residents
The International Christie: Assessing the Governor’s Views on Foreign Trade
Joe Tyrrell | Politics
The governor has made several high-profile trips to discuss overseas trade, while vetoing ‘buy American’ bills back home
Profile: Why 12 Million People Want to Know What Gary Szatkowski Has to Say
Scott Gurian | Profiles
The top meteorologist in the New Jersey area keeps more than his eye on the sky for four states
Reading, ‘riting and Revenues: More NJ Districts Selling School-Bus Ads
NJTV | Education
Supporters say it’s a way to raise money for cash-strapped budgets without raising taxes, but others question whether it’s a good idea

February 10, 2015

Toughest Part of Open-Space Preservation: Dividing Up State Funding
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Bill would allocate money across the environmental community, but amounts are smaller than most recipients are accustomed to receiving
Superintendent Salary Cap Back in Limelight -- As Clock Counts Down
John Mooney | Education
As limits on top school administrators' pay near expiration in 2016, stalled Senate bill draws new attention as it's voted out of committee
Nurses Urge State to Increase Mandated Staffing Levels at Hospitals
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Unions say it would improve patient safety, but hospital managers say they must have flexibility to assign staff to according to circumstances
PennEast Contends Pipeline Project Means 12K Jobs, $1.6B in Economic Benefits
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Critics are unimpressed with study's numbers, dismissing report as marketing spin
Explainer: How the State Holds Superintendent Pay to $175,000 Per Year
John Mooney | Education, Explainer
Are salary caps driving the best school chiefs out of state? The numbers say that might be a mistaken impression
Transportation Trust Fund Advocates Take Fight to State Legislature
NJTV News | Transportation
Supporters urge Senate Transportation Committee to renew key source of money needed to repair state’s crumbling roads and bridges
Fatal Attraction: Suicide Attempts Soar on George Washington Bridge
WNYC/NJPR | Social
New, higher safety fences are being installed – but the project is scheduled to take eight years

February 9, 2015

Legislators, School Districts Scramble to Put PARCC Policies in Place
John Mooney | Education
With the opt-out option growing in popularity across the state, educators and lawmakers rush to accommodate families who just say ‘no’
Power Auction Could Mean Lower Electricity Prices for Ratepayers in New Jersey
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Cheap natural gas only one factor in possible price drop; outstanding actions against one utility and parent-company merger could also help
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