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In The Spotlight

SUMMER READING 2019: Regular readers of NJ Spotlight know that late August is our time for kicking back and taking advantage of the lull in the news cycle. To tide you over during our summer hiatus, starting Monday we will be posting excerpts from books by New Jersey authors or with Garden State hooks. We’ll be back tanned and ready on September 3.
NJ Spotlight Daily News

August 15, 2019

NJ’s Efforts to Restrict Guns Greatly Hampered by Inaction Elsewhere
Ron Marsico | More Issues
New Jersey is at the forefront of efforts to enact and enforce stricter gun laws, but resistance in other states and at the federal level is major impediment
Law Eases Burden of NJ Towns Facing Big Refunds for Successful Tax Appeals
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Garden State municipalities will now have up to three years to refund local commercial property owners for tax judgments over $100,000
NJ Fights Federal Rule that Would Deny Benefits to Some Legal Immigrants
Michael Aron | NJTV News | Immigration
State attorney general joins lawsuit that challenges the ‘public charge’ rule, which would bar people from getting green cards if they use food stamps, Medicaid, or federal housing vouchers
AtlantiCare Hospital System Expands Medical Education Program
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Community-focused clinical training at new South Jersey regional campus of the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
New Contract to Raise Newark Teacher Salaries, End Performance Pay
Patrick Wall | Chalkbeat | Education
Pay-for-performance provisions, hailed as groundbreaking when introduced in 2012, are being eliminated
Profile: Economic Sustainability is the Key for This NJ State Planner
Colleen O'Dea | Profiles
Donna Rendeiro spent a decade working in different government agencies. She is now executive director of the state Office of Planning Advocacy and secretary of the State Planning Commission
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August 14, 2019

Estimate Revised Up Of New Shore Homes Imperiled By Sea-level Rise, Storm Surge
Jon Hurdle | Energy & Environment
New Jersey has more recently built homes at risk in a 10-year flood than any other state
NJ Challenges Weaker Rule on Emissions from Coal-Fired Power Plants
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
A new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency would let coal units slide on pollution controls. New Jersey is among 22 state challenging the rule as unlawful
Plug Pension Hole By Curbing Traditional Plan? It May Not Be Best Strategy
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Closing their so-called defined benefit plans to new workers has not worked out well in four states that tried it
On Streets Of Newark, Worry About Lead In Tap Water
Brenda Flanagan | NJTV News | Healthcare
In wake of some elevated lead readings in homes with filtered water, officials are planning a much broader survey
NJIT Developing Data-Analytics Tool to Track Drug Distribution and Use
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
DrugTracker will scour social media posts, text messages and geospatial data for mention of drug activity, allowing aid organizations to respond more quickly to hot spots
The List: The Hottest Months in NJ Since Records Began
Colleen O'Dea | The List
If you’ve been around since the year 2000, you have lived through most of the hottest months on record in New Jersey
Op-Ed: If NJ Should Divest from Guns, Why Not from Fossil Fuels?
Tina Weishaus | Opinion
It’s puzzling that governor and Senate president have not come out in favor of taking New Jersey pension-plan funds out of fossil fuels, which threaten our very existence

August 13, 2019

More NJ Residents Will Qualify for Help to Pay Their Gas, Electric Bills
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
The Board of Public Utilities will add up to 5,700 low-income households to its Universal Service Fund program, raising the income eligibility limit to 185 percent of the federal poverty level
Newark Addresses Elevated Levels of Lead in Drinking Water
Brenda Flanagan | NJTV News | Energy & Environment
At EPA’s urging, city gives out bottled water to residents after tests at three homes turned up high lead levels in two of them
Horizon Agreement Sparks Concerns for Some Healthcare Providers
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
If approved by the state, American Specialty Health Network would oversee Horizon’s acupuncture, chiropractic services, physical therapy and occupational therapy claims
Explainer: How Short-Term Rental Tax Was Revised to Give Homeowners Relief
John Reitmeyer | Explainer
New Jersey’s year-old tax on short-term property rentals has been revamped, mostly to assuage concerns about its negative effects of summer rentals at the Shore
Claim that NJ Could Save $2 Billion Annually on Road Work
Leah Mishkin | NJTV News | Transportation
New Jersey spends more maintaining and building its roads than any other state in the region, according to the Garden State Initiative
Op-Ed: NJ Needs to Break Gridlock on Autonomous-Car Legislation
Avi Kelin | Opinion
‘Other states are passing us in research and development and our state’s autonomous-car movement is stalling. We need to do more.’

August 12, 2019

Murphy Hopeful of Deal on Tax Breaks Even as Veto and Override Are in Mix
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Governor wants major reform of controversial tax-incentive programs; lawmakers want to renew them, unchanged, pending an overhaul
Critics Warn Fed Proposal Could Hinder States from Protecting Waterways
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
As Environmental Protection Agency moves to streamline the Clean Water Act, New Jersey activists wonder about effects on PennEast pipeline
Interactive Map: Cost of Education in Each School District, 2017-2018
Colleen O'Dea | Maps, Map of the Week
Typical NJ public school district spent almost $16,000 per pupil. Total cost of educating each child was 40 percent higher when spending on busing, pensions, benefits, other costs are considered
New Measure Aims to Strengthen Patient Access to Palliative Care in NJ
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
The law is also designed to improve access to hospice care; program expected to be in effect within three months
Latino Pastors, Officials Call for Action on Gun-Control Measures
Brenda Flanagan | NJTV News | More Issues
Members of coalition representing 325 pastors, ministers and 32,000 parishioners in New Jersey say many in Latino community are afraid following mass shootings

August 9, 2019

Show of Force by Critics of Draft Energy Master Plan, Frustration Grows
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Climate-change activists fault Murphy administration’s draft plan for not imposing immediate moratorium on fossil-fuel projects
Governor Endorses Removing Gun Investments from Public Pension Funds
John Reitmeyer | Politics
Murphy offers no timetable, noting that Treasury officials are ‘going through some technical issues’ to determine how to achieve divestment
Distribution And Use Of Naloxone Rise in NJ And Across Nation
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Various data sources make it clear that easy access to the overdose antidote is critical in preventing opioid deaths
Algal Blooms Fed By Chemical Runoff And Climate Change, Study Says
Jon Hurdle | Energy & Environment
Data compilation shows rising levels of unhealthy toxins in lakes and rivers around the country
Back From Summer Vacation, Murphy Immediately Faces The Heat
Brenda Flanagan | NJTV News | Politics
Governor hails signal from senate president that recreational marijuana bill might get a hearing after all
Two Modest Steps Toward Developing Murphy’s Cutting-Edge Economy in NJ
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Governor enacts laws to establish ‘innovation districts’ and task force to study use of blockchain technology in government
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