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Democratic lawmakers are working to give towns in New Jersey more financing authority, specifically permitting them to help developers raise cash through bonds backed by state tax incentives. Opponents say they don’t like the idea of towns taking on new debt obligations in the name of redevelopment. Read more
NJ Spotlight Daily News

February 16, 2018

As Redlining Persists, Camden Area Among Hot Spots in U.S. for Mortgage Denials
Colleen O'Dea | Housing
Investigation finds people continue to be denied loans based on factors such as race, despite legislation supposed to ban the practice
State Democrats Pursue Individual Mandate to Help NJ Insurance Market
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Over some Republican objections, Democratic lawmakers promote workaround for Trump administration’s repeal of key Obamacare regulation
More Train Cars Now, First Step to Ease Overcrowding on NJ Transit
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
Governor announces immediate move to relieve some of the ‘greatest headaches for commuters,’ underlines pledge to make agency one of his administration's priorities
New Incentive for NJ Homeowners, Businesses to Install Solar Panels
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Strong move to encourage greater use of ‘net metering’ as advocates push for state to overhaul energy policies and critics worry about cost to ratepayers
Cautious NJ Lawmakers Propose Decriminalizing Marijuana in Small Amounts
Carly Sitrin | Social
State senators stop well short of governor’s preference to legalize the drug in New Jersey, voice concerns about social-justice implications
Effort Advances to Circumvent Trump Property-Tax Hit, but Questions Remain
John Reitmeyer | Budget
NJ lawmakers push ahead with creative maneuver to stave off new federal limit on tax write-offs. Skeptics still maintain IRS won’t accept the workaround
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February 15, 2018

‘Don’t Raise Our Costs. Please’ — NJ Manufacturers Make Case to Lawmakers
John Reitmeyer | More Issues
Manufacturing has been growing recently in the state, but industry leaders say they’re struggling with high taxes, high costs, a shortage of skilled workers, and they fear a wage hike
Fixing Garden State’s Broken Medical Examiner System
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Raft of changes proposed for structure that critics have slammed as mismanaged, underfunded, overworked, and fragmented
Pipeline Conflict Heats Up: Landowners Vow to Fight PennEast on Eminent Domain
Jon Hurdle | Energy & Environment
After almost 130 New Jersey landowners refuse offers of compensation for right of way on their properties, company files for eminent domain, unleashing a new storm of protest
Would a Tech Upgrade Make New Jersey Government More User-Friendly?
Colleen O'Dea | Politics
Advisers tell governor that state’s technology needs major overhaul and Christie’s IT initiative should be urgently reviewed
Op-Ed: What New Jersey Needs — Doulas Working for Health of Mothers, Babies
Jill Wodnick | Opinion
Doula care has been used widely throughout the United States but has never been fully embraced in the Garden State. Isn’t it about time?
Call for Action to Protect Children in New Jersey from Lead Poisoning
NJTV News | Energy & Environment
Thousands of children in Garden State have shown elevated levels of lead in their blood. Advocates say issue is urgent despite high price tag

February 14, 2018

Closing Loophole in Law Protecting Students Against Sexual Predators
Carly Sitrin | Education
Right now, teachers accused of sexual misconduct can change schools without a report about their behavior following them
After One Year, NJ Evaluates Judicial Reform Program
Colleen O'Dea | Social
Report indicates pretrial population dipped by 20 percent, but advocates call for more data on race of defendants detained, released, and released with conditions
Can Stormwater Utilities Help NJ Reduce Runoff Pollution?
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Lawmakers revive bill looking at new ways of dealing with old problem, stormwater runoff fouling waterways and causing major flooding
Physical Therapists Want to Give Their Patients the Dry Needle — Again
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Legislation would allow PTs to expand their practice to include pain-relief technique currently limited chiefly to acupuncturists
Residents Question Murphy on Live TV: Main Issues Are Taxes, Immigration
John Reitmeyer | Politics
New governor takes questions from New Jerseyans who are preoccupied with high taxes and his immigration policies
Former Pharmaceutical CEO Sets Sights on Senate Seat Held by Menendez
NJTV News | Politics
Bob Hugin reportedly tells GOP leaders he’s willing to spend $20 million of his own money on campaign against weakened Democrat
Op-Ed: New Jersey Needs to Counter Republican Tax Plan with Bold Action
Sheila Reynertson | Opinion
With new federal tax cuts favoring the wealthiest — and giving peanuts to working people in NJ — it’s time to make tax changes of our own

February 13, 2018

No Easy Answers to NJ’s Racial Disparities in Infant, Maternal Health
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Poverty, other social factors pinpointed as reasons why childbirth can be dangerous for many women and babies in New Jersey
Appeals Court Upholds Outstanding $225M Fine Against ExxonMobil
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Plaintiffs argue amount too small but are relieved constitutional amendment ensures environmental fines go to restoring natural resources
Explainer: Why Undocumented Immigrants in NJ Pay Taxes — a Lot of Taxes
Colleen O'Dea | Explainer
According to recent estimates, New Jersey’s undocumented community paid $587 million in state and local taxes in 2014
Opinion: Sweeney Reminds New Governor, NJEA Who's Really in Charge
Carl Golden | Opinion
The president of the senate emerges unscathed from a blitz of negative ads ordered up by the teachers union, makes it clear that he's as much a policymaker as Murphy
Lawmakers Want $166M for Rail, Roads, Bridges on Top of $2B Already Budgeted
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
Gas-tax increase in 2016 was supposed to solve underfunding of infrastructure projects in New Jersey but legislators want supplemental funding — again
Poor Students Still Not Getting Breakfast in Many NJ Schools
Carly Sitrin | Education
Report indicates that New Jersey remains 19th in country for participation in school breakfast program, essentially the position it held in previous school year

February 12, 2018

Making the Public Welcome on New Jersey's Beaches and Waterfronts
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Bill clears committee incorporating public trust doctrine, common-law principle ensuring access to natural resources
Opinion: Two Wrongs Won't Make It Right
Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff | Opinion
Using charities to restore SALT deductions is a gimmick that won't and shouldn't work
State Lawmaker Calls for Nation's First Opioid Warning Labels
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Warnings would highlight the significant potential for addiction and overdose associated with these drugs
Can ESG Help Make NJ's Pension-Fund Investments More Ethical?
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Some states are using ESG factors - environmental, social, and governance - to evaluate investments in companies. Will New Jersey follow suit?

February 9, 2018

Democrats Call for NJ to Reopen Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Safe haven needed for seniors with severe mental illness now living in overcrowded, potentially dangerous facilities
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