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ON THE RAILS — If you listen to Gov. Phil Murphy, things are really on an upswing at good ol’ NJ Transit, with new braking technology finally being implemented on locomotives and many bright-eyed, new engineers ready for exciting careers on the commuter lines. If you listen to commuters, it was another disastrous weekend, with at least 40 trains canceled because of a maddening lack of “engineer availability.” If you listen to Murphy, well, there’s some ever-improving “data,” with, um, a “couple of caveats.” If you listen to commuters, there’s a never-ending list of “caveats,” and, oh, by the way, you can shove that data. The hard, sad fact: Even with more rookie engineers graduating from the 20-month program, it’s going to take plenty more before “engineer availability” is no longer considered a viable excuse as you stand among the masses, stranded once again at the train station.
NJ Spotlight Daily News

June 24, 2019

Finally, Major Movement on Governor’s Promises for Offshore Wind
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Approval for a $1.6B wind farm 15 miles off Atlantic City readies state to become significant participant in the sector
Delaware River Sojourn Promotes Conservation, Nurtures Sense of Family
Jon Hurdle | Energy & Environment
A flotilla of kayaks and canoes completes its 25th annual journey as scientists seek more gains in water quality
How Two Unrelated Hospital Measures Have Stalled in Trenton
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
One bill concerns angioplasties, the other the rights of patients transferring to out-of-state facilities. Is a Camden hospital the connection?
No Matter How NJ Budget Negotiations Go, Notable Tax Breaks in Cards
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Programs for senior citizens, the disabled and veterans set to benefit as interests of governor and lawmakers line up on certain issues
Murphy: Legislature’s Budget Is Full of ‘pork and Christmas trees’
Brenda Flanagan | NJTV News | Budget
Governor says staffers are targeting items for his veto pen, but won’t say what his final response to lawmakers’ budget will be
What Colleges and Business Think NJ High School Graduates Need
John Mooney | Education, Roundtables
In NJ Spotlight roundtable, college and business leaders detail what they see as the important skills for those preparing for further studies and careers
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June 21, 2019

With Votes To Spare, Dems Pass $38.7B Budget, No Boost In Millionaires Tax
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Governor has indicated he might take line-item veto pen to a spending plan not to his liking
Compromise Reached to Expand NJ’s Medical Marijuana Law
Lilo H. Stainton and Carly Sitrin | Healthcare
Governor worked with legislative leaders to reach a deal that will eliminate tax, shift oversight and add delivery options
Quick Changes Made to Law on Privatized Cleanups at Toxic Waste Sites
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Decade-old program addressing pollution at contaminated industrial properties is fine-tuned, but some environmentalists have concerns
NJ could need 2,700 miles of sea walls to defend against rising waters
Jon Hurdle | Energy & Environment
New study says building defenses along Jersey Shore would cost billions and suggests the fossil-fuel industry should pay
Lawmakers act to ensure continuation of net neutrality in NJ
Colleen O'Dea | More Issues
Federal agency had rolled back Obama-era rules mandating equal access to internet content as of last June
PATH Announces $1B Capital Plan To Make Service Improvements
Briana Vannozzi | NJTV News | Transportation
Leaders of the busy commuter-rail system want to boost passenger capacity by 10 percent on two key lines
What’s Next for Marijuana in the Garden State?
NJ Spotlight | Roundtables
An NJ Spotlight roundtable on the effort to legalize adult-use marijuana, increase access to medical marijuana and ensure social justice. You can watch a livestream of the discussion

June 20, 2019

Murphy Promises 'Corrective Action' If Not Satisfied with Budget Bill
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Governor prepared to go tit for tat with lawmakers, signals line-item veto may be used to delete some specific spending requests
What’s in Store for Energy Storage, A Key Element of NJ’s Clean-Energy Future?
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Development of systems that capture and store power will be a necessary but long, complicated and expensive undertaking
Murphy Takes Aim at Senate President on Guns and Budget
David Cruz | NJTV News | Politics
Governor calls out Senate President Sweeney on budget issues and for refusing to post all of Murphy’s gun-safety bills
Interactive Map: New Jersey, Flush with Baby Boomers
Colleen O'Dea | Maps, Map of the Week
New census data show increase in older population, influx of young families in Hudson River communities but declining population in farthest suburbs
Putting Faces to Students Aided by Free Tuition at Community Colleges
Carly Sitrin | Education
Governor hopes to expand Community College Opportunity Grants to reach 18,000 students, but budget cuts could shrink program significantly
Hike in HMO Fee Engineered to Boost Funding of Hospital Charity Care
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Measure would raise state tax on what consumers are charged for certain health policies, but companies would be prohibited from passing on extra cost
Booker Sponsors Bill to Gauge Lingering Effects of Segregation
Brenda Flanagan | NJTV News | Politics, The Booker Beat
As Juneteenth 2019 celebration of emancipation passes, Congress remains deeply divided over issue of reparations for African Americans
Op-Ed: Keep State Parks Open in Government Shutdowns — Like Casinos
Eric Stiles | Opinion
State parks and beaches can be held hostage when there’s a budget impasse; lawmakers should ensure they stay open and staffed

June 19, 2019

Murphy Doubles Down On Criticism Of ‘Rigged’ Tax Incentives
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Governor promises to veto legislation providing seven-month extention of scrutinized EDA programs, without ‘meaningful reform’
Governor Won’t Quit on Millionaires Tax, Says All Options Remain on Table
Brenda Flanagan | NJTV News | Budget
Surrounded by union leaders, Murphy lambastes legislative Democrats for resistance to his tax on the wealthy
Opinion: Budget Needs Long-Term Solutions, Not Short-Term Politics
Richard F. Keevey | Opinion
The governor’s proposal for a millionaires tax is at the center of current budget rhetoric when instead New Jersey’s long-range fiscal problems should be the focus
Big Question For Offshore Wind: Who Gets Power To The Customers?
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
As state BPU mulls three wind-farm projects, feds move to gauge industry interest in building a regional transmission system
‘Regional Health Hubs’ Aim to Improve Services for Medicaid Patients
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
NJ healthcare coalitions have had success focusing on complex health and social needs of high-demand Medicaid patients. Now they have a new roadmap for an even more integrated approach
First International Baccalaureate Grads for Paterson School
Carly Sitrin | Education
Forty participants in rigorous program are headed to schools like Columbia, Penn, Lehigh and NJ Institute of Technology
DEP Suspends Review of Meadowlands Power Plant’s Application
Julie Daurio | NJTV News | Energy & Environment
Developer of North Bergen Liberty Generating station goes back to drawing board, considers changing the plant’s technology

June 18, 2019

Lawmakers Go Own Way on Budget, No Millionaires Tax or Other Murphy Priorities
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Democratic lawmakers advanced their own appropriations bill, setting stage for a difficult budget negotiation with Gov. Phil Murphy, a fellow Democrat
Lawsuit Over Greystone Safety, Treatment Raises Questions About Reforms
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Current and former patients, supported by staff, allege hospital administrators and state health officials have allowed dangerous conditions to continue at psychiatric hospital
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