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Governor’s First State of the State
One year after coming into office, Gov. Phil Murphy gave his first State of the State address in Trenton on Tuesday. As well as listing his accomplishments, the governor laid out his goals for the coming year. If you missed it, you can watch it here.

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HOWELL - Nerd Alert! One of New Jersey’s last large comic book and music stores is about to close. “The Record Store,” a Route 9 landmark since 1988, originally sold only vinyl LPs and cassette tapes (remember them?). Owner Jeff Lega introduced a huge line of comic books in the ‘90s when his music sales took a nosedive. Lega tells Jersey Shore Online he no longer gets a big bang out of his business and is fed up with a comic book industry that “uses gimmicks” to boost sales. So, he’s selling off everything before February 3, including the enormous cassette tape sign on his store’s roof. Hurry in, to make your final mix tape.
NJ Spotlight Daily News

January 16, 2019

State of the State: Murphy Doubles Down on Push to Fix Economic Incentive Program
John Reitmeyer | Budget
During a rebuttal news conference, GOP lawmakers push back on the governor’s anti-Christie theme
In Answer to Governor, Fellow Democrats Hold Back But Republicans Don’t
John Mooney | Politics
Nevertheless, members of governor’s party signal resistance to his critical evaluation of the state’s tax-incentive programs for business
Governor Stresses Unsafe Lead Levels in NJ Water but Offers No Quick Fixes
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Murphy says it’s time to do something about New Jersey’s aging water infrastructure but calls it a national problem that ‘requires a national solution’
Report: College Aid for Prisoners Pays Dividends for All Down the Line
Colleen O'Dea | Social
Advocates say study shows federal law keeping Pell Grants from the incarcerated should be overturned
Op-Ed: Why Do NJ Democrats Give Tacit Support to Trump’s Immigration Tactics?
Audrey Levitin | Opinion
By their silence on county jail contracts with ICE for the detention of immigrants, politicians at every level are enabling questionable policies
Watch Gov. Phil Murphy’s First State of the State
NJ Spotlight | Politics
Gov. Murphy gave his first State of the State address on Tuesday, January 15. Reiterating his commitment to key campaign promises, the governor listed his accomplishments and laid out his goals for the coming year.
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January 15, 2019

Has Murphy Made Good on His Promises? Taking Stock at the 1-Year Mark
Colleen O'Dea | Politics
The governor hasn’t realized several of his top priorities. Some observers blame inexperience or his desire to be liked, but one lays the fault squarely at the door of Sweeney and Coughlin
Murphy’s first State of State Address Comes at Pivotal Time for NJ and for Him
John Reitmeyer | Politics
Hopes were high among progressives when governor came into office, but tension between him and fellow Democrats has impeded his agenda
Horizon Distributes Millions From 2018 Federal Tax Refund … as Planned
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Families, businesses, community-based initiatives benefit, but details are scarce
NJ Settles with Fiat Chrysler over Software that Cheated on Emission Tests
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
New Jersey is part of a multistate settlement of a case involving attempts to evade diesel emission controls. An engineering company is also paying for its involvement
Groups Push Progressive Agenda at the State House
NJTV News Online | Politics
On the eve of Gov. Phil Murphy’s State of the State address, activists signal impatience with lack of movement on their priorities
Government Shutdown Is Affecting Food Inspections
NJTV News Online | More Issues
U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer asks for state and county health officials to fill the gap caused by furlough of many FDA inspectors

January 14, 2019

No Resumption Yet of Full Service on Raritan Valley, Atlantic City Lines
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
Services have been greatly disrupted for safety work, but that work met a key end-of-year deadline. So, what’s the holdup?
New Funding for Expansion of Pediatric Mental Health Programs in New Jersey
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Aim is to improve diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and substance abuse issues among children and adolescents
Survey Finds Persistent Bullying of LGBTQ Students in NJ High Schools
Colleen O'Dea | Social
‘The numbers are alarming,’ says Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, who was a prime sponsor of anti-bullying legislation. She’s working on a new measure
Elizabethtown Gas Names Christie McMullen to Leadership Role
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Company appoints industry veteran to top position as it looks to spend $500 million on a major gas-main replacement program
Op-Ed: Governor, Legislators Need to Fix Deeply Flawed Tax-Incentive Programs
Analilia Mejia | Opinion
New audit shows that companies gamed the system, and no one stopped them. New Jersey taxpayers should be furious

January 11, 2019

NJ House Democrats Plot Out Multifront Defense of Obamacare
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone emerges as leader in battle with GOP over fate of ACA, now imperiled by ruling of federal judge in Texas
Focus In Murphy Hiring Probe Turns To Gaps in State Rules
John Reitmeyer | Politics
During a long day of testimony about how staffer’s rape allegation was handled, legislative select committee explores whether rules and policies are strong enough to prevent a bad situation from recurring
Opinion: Federal Aid to New Jersey is Negative — But Not Because of the Shutdown
Richard F. Keevey | Opinion
The Garden State perennially pays significantly more to the federal government in taxes than it gets back and that’s not about to change anytime soon
Murphy Releases More Funding For Pre-K Programs Across State
Carly Sitrin | Education
Thirty-three needy districts that previously had received no pre-K funding from Trenton, will benefit. Advocates praise governor’s move, but say much more needs to be done
Full Steam Ahead for Clean Energy as NJ, Other States Adopt New Policies
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
New Jersey under Gov. Phil Murphy has aggressive goals for renewable sources of energy, but initiatives aren’t expected to deliver immediately

January 10, 2019

Audit Raises Red Flags over Control of NJ’s Massive Tax-Incentive Programs
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Troubling questions about oversight and value to taxpayers of multibillion-dollar awards that are supposed to incentivize job creation and retention
NJ Has Weak System of State Support for Black and Latino College Students — Report
Carly Sitrin | Education
Higher education in NJ is hobbled by inequities that leave many minority students ill-equipped for college and the job market, authors contend
Murphy-Sweeney Feud Could Lead to Laws Shining More Light on Dark Money
Colleen O'Dea | Politics
As issue-advocacy group tied to Murphy goes back on promise to disclose donors, Sweeney fast-tracks legislation that has been sidelined for years
NJ Lags Nation for Disabled Residents in Community Settings
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
State officials reply to findings of new report saying positive change is already in progress
PSEG Sells Defunct Coal Plants in Jersey City and Hamilton for Redevelopment
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Developer plans to repurpose the sites as state-of-the-art industrial parks serving growing warehouse-distribution business in region
Op-Ed: It’s Time to Stop Ignoring the Needs of NJ’s Business Community
Tom Bracken | Opinion
The governor wants a fairer economy in New Jersey but companies are bearing the heaviest burden of delivering it. Taxes and mandates have made the state unaffordable and uncompetitive
Newark Council Approves Zoning Change Despite Gentrification Fears
NJTV News Online | Planning
New rule is approved unanimously. Residents worry it will significantly alter life in the Ironbound

January 9, 2019

Murphy Officials Testify It Wasn’t Their Job to Follow Up On Brennan Allegation
John Reitmeyer | Politics
‘Nobody seems to have responsibility for anything,’ said committee co-chairwoman Loretta Weinberg on a day when lawmakers seemed frustrated with the lack of answers
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