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After years of billions of dollars in sweeteners being lavished on big companies by former Gov. Chris Christie and the Legislature, the Murphy administration is changing focus and putting out the welcome mat for small businesses. Read more

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STATEWIDE — Cash is no longer king in today’s whip-out-your-plastic world. To ensure greenbacks don’t disappear, a growing number of state lawmakers want to stop brick-and-mortar stores from going completely cashless. Credit-only businesses “marginalize people who are older, poorer, younger or haven’t established credit,” says sponsor Assemblyman Paul Moriarty. The Assembly already approved his bill 71-4. A Senate vote is coming soon. If this becomes law, New Jersey would be only the second state behind Massachusetts — and the first in 40 years — to ban cashless retailers. Violators would face fines up to $20,000. And, no, regulators won’t just accept Apple Pay.
NJ Spotlight Daily News

December 7, 2018

NJ Businesses Mixed on 2019; $15 Minimum Wage A Concern as Bill Is Unveiled
John Reitmeyer | Budget
As a key lawmaker releases a new wage bill, companies report that business in New Jersey is going well but they say not well enough for a much higher mandatory wage
‘Fed Up’ Rutgers Faculty Protest Slow Contract Talks, Threaten to Strike
Carly Sitrin | Education
Hundreds of faculty union members picketed meeting of university’s board of governors, frustrated with stagnant wages and months of fruitless bargaining
NJ Sues Polluters of Low-Income Communities, Wants ‘Environmental Justice’
Jon Hurdle | Energy & Environment
AG Grewal charges companies with discharging waste water containing nickel and chrome, illegally dumping thousands of tons of contaminated material, and failing to clean up hazardous leaks
CEO To Step Down from Embattled Public Hospital in Newark
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
The board of University Hospital had earlier this year awarded a new contract to CEO John Kastanis, under which he was making $900K
Murphy Urged to Expand Participation in Wind-Power Initiative
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Business and environmental groups say it would be a costly mistake to allow the same companies that generate power offshore to have a lock on its transmission to the rest of the grid
Op-Ed: Nine Years after Nor’Ida, NJ Still Needs Flood Insurance Reform
Steve Ellis | Opinion
Recent storms prove it is not only homes near coastal areas and rivers that are threatened by flooding
Newark Forms Commission to Fight Gentrification
WNYC News | Planning
Mayor Ras Baraka wants to make sure that poor and working-class residents are not displaced as the city tries to attract a middle class
A South Jersey Farm Town with a Hidden History
WNYC News | Social
Japanese-Americans from around the country travel to Seabrook, a place that welcomed their forebears who were interned during World War II
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December 6, 2018

Governor Promises Things Will Be Much Better at NJ Transit in 2019
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
Murphy says 2018 was spent ‘reversing years of negligence’ as he announces initiatives to improve the ‘customer experience’
Dems’ Decision to Push Ahead with Redistricting Bill Has Blue Base Fighting Mad
Colleen O'Dea | Politics
Proposed constitutional amendment would change the way legislative districts are redrawn, giving ‘party bosses’ power to appoint members of redistricting committee
Enviros Turn Up Heat on Governor to Stop Fossil Fuel Developments in New Jersey
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Dozens of groups, critical of Murphy for not reversing Christie policies, join campaign calling for moratorium on new power plants and pipelines
Garden State Lawmakers Want to Bring Clinical Drug Trials Home
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Bill calls for working group to help bridge gaps between pharmaceutical companies, research institutions, and healthcare providers
Op-Ed: Let’s Help Charter Schools Continue to Thrive
Harold Lee | Opinion
As the Department of Education carries out a review of New Jersey’s charter schools, it should note the tremendous public support for them. It’s time for officials to match that support
Murphy Maintains Timeline for When He Learned About Brennan Rape Case
NJTV News Online | Politics
At press conference, governor pledges he will cooperate with legislative investigation
All-Around Opposition in NJ to Seismic Testing for Offshore Oil and Gas
NJTV News Online | Energy & Environment
While New Jersey is not the immediate target, there’s concern that Trump approval of controversial process could open the door to offshore drilling in the region

December 5, 2018

‘Terrified’ Staffer: Murphy’s Team Did Not Take Allegation of Rape Seriously Enough
John Reitmeyer | Politics
Testifying before a special legislative committee in Trenton, Katie Brennan says she went public only after having been paid little attention by members of the administration
Why Are Unknown Number of Sexual-Assault Exam Kits Going Untested in NJ?
Colleen O'Dea | Social
Up to 1,500 kits are collected in New Jersey every year. Fears of a testing backlog due to lack of manpower or funding appear to be unfounded but lawmakers want to make sure
NJ Begins Strategic Planning for Murphy’s Offshore-Wind Goals
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Plan is in the works but hopes of quick results probably are optimistic given the time it will take to build a supply chain and infrastructure
State, National, Enrollment in ACA Marketplace Down Over Last Year
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
As Trump targets Obamacare, fewer New Jerseyans are signing up for health insurance on the federal marketplace despite price cuts and push by Trenton to bolster enrollments. In other states, it’s worse
Educators to Trenton: Go Back to School on School Monitoring System
Carly Sitrin | Education
State DOE officials get an earful on the administrative burden imposed by a system designed to provide oversight and accountability in public schools

December 4, 2018

Campaign Ramps Up to Let Undocumented Immigrants Drive Legally in NJ
Hank Kalet | Immigration
With a supportive governor in office, new focus on legislation that went nowhere for years. No Republican enthusiasm evident
Senate Hearing Highlights Challenges of Infection Control in Hospital Facilities
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Representatives of locations affected by viral and bacterial outbreaks are no-shows. Sen. Richard Codey suggests seeking subpoena power to force their attendance
Take a Deep Breath, Is New Jersey Poised to Cut Back on CO2 Pollution?
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Lawmakers consider bill that would clamp down on short-term pollutants like methane, but could charge state DEP to restrict CO2 pollution, most of which stems from transportation sector
Move to Improve Work on NJ’s Transportation Infrastructure
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
Bipartisan effort aims to make operation of state Transportation Trust Fund more efficient, cut delays in planning and bidding
Assembly Bills Reflect State’s Slow Recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Colleen O'Dea | Politics
Legislation would help homeowners defrauded by contractors or plagued by black mold; survey impacts on tourism; break out storm-related costs to government; and plan for next natural disaster
Murphy on Looming ACA Enrollment Deadline: Get Out and Get Coverage
NJTV News Online | Healthcare
Speaking at library in Elizabeth, governor also fields questions about sexual assault investigation, Honeywell’s decision to move execs to North Carolina

December 3, 2018

Making Housing the Priority for Homeless People in NJ — over Treatment or Sobriety
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
The ‘housing first’ model of treating homeless people in a ‘humanistic and holistic way’ is gaining ground in the Garden State as elsewhere in the country
Small Businesses Get the Love from NJ After Years of Tax Breaks for the Big Guys
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Murphy administration changes state’s economic-development focus. A new loan program, other supports on offer after years of billions of dollars in sweeteners for big companies
Pumping Up State Spending on Open Space, Land Preservation, Parks
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Extra funding to help acquire open space and to deal with ‘massive backlogs’ in park maintenance after logjam between Christie administration and legislators
Judge Rules DOJ Can’t Force Local Law Enforcement to Help ICE
Colleen O'Dea | Immigration
Decision clears way for New Jersey to receive blocked funds. NJ had joined lawsuit saying that conditions sought by Department of Justice were unconstitutional
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