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Members of the Rutgers University faculty, who say they are “fed up” over stagnant wages and the slow pace of contract talks, have threatened to strike. Read more

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EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Usually when someone steals holiday decorations off your lawn, it’s a damn blessing. That means there’s much less worthless crap to drag back into the shed year after year. But local police have a different take on things, considering this a “crime” and worthy of an “investigation.” Critical police resources are being used to deal with at least 20 incidents of Christmas lawn theft in recent weeks, NJ 101.5 reports, as someone has taken a particular liking to those awful inflatables polluting a lawn near you. Thefts are all over Egg Harbor, with a particular focus in the areas of West Jersey and Reega avenues, according to the master crime map. Not only are inflatables being lifted, but these sick, twisted criminal masterminds are also making off with the extension cords, adding many more counts to the mounting charges. Police need your help, folks. If you know anything — about any topic at all — email or call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234. And, remember, all calls and emails will be held in the strictest of confidence until the perpetrators are brought to justice.
NJ Spotlight Daily News

December 13, 2018

Decrying It as ‘Policing for Profit,’ Critics Want Reform of NJ’s Civil Asset Forfeiture
Carly Sitrin | Social
Cash, cars, boats, guns, big stuff, small stuff: Detractors say it’s all fair game for law enforcement in New Jersey even if the owners are never charged with a crime
Scramble for Funds as More Money Allotted to Preserve Open Space, Farmland in NJ
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Interest groups are jockeying over how $155 million will be divided, with some concerned the Blue Acres program, which buys up flood-prone properties, might lose out
New Jersey’s Drinking Water: NJ Spotlight Roundtable
NJ Spotlight | Podcasts, Roundtables
New Jersey has led efforts to keep PFAS, a class of toxic chemicals, out of our drinking water. Experts at an NJ Spotlight Roundtable discussed the emergence of substitutes that may be just as hazardous to human health
Could Advisory Board Help NJ Avoid Last-Minute Budget Shortfalls?
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Lawmakers are hoping to implement consensus forecasting to keep state on even financial keel, but governor would still be only one who could certify state revenues
Challenge for NJ Cities: Gentrify Without Driving Out Less-Affluent Residents
Colleen O'Dea | Housing, Planning
Newly minted report advises local and state officials on how to attract new residents and businesses without decimating older communities
Op-Ed: Constitutional Amendment to Alter Redistricting Rules a Setback
Ingrid W. Reed | Opinion
Approving this hastily written, poorly thought out amendment will add to widespread voter cynicism and distrust of elected representatives
Expungement Debate Threatens to Delay Marijuana Legalization
NJTV News Online | Social
The bill to legalize recreational marijuana in New Jersey does not go far enough for some people, especially in expunging the criminal convictions of small-time dealers
Warehouse Workers Rally for Better Conditions
NJTV News Online | More Issues
A new report says workers in warehouses face constant pressure to meet the demands of faster delivery in unsafe environments
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December 12, 2018

Opposition Lines Up as NJ Dems Keep Going with Vexed Redistricting Measure
Colleen O'Dea | Politics
A controversial proposal by Democratic leaders to change how legislative districts are drawn has alarmed Republicans and good-government groups alike. But the Democrats are pressing on this week
Warnings that Trump Change to Clean Water Act Would Be Bad for NJ Rivers
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Proposal would revise Obama rule that extended protections to small streams, wetlands and intermittent waterways
South Jersey Lawmaker Seeks to Stem Gun Violence with ER Programs
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Trying to break a cycle where nearly half of hospital trauma admissions in U.S. involve repeat victims of violence
Money and Mail-In Ballots — Final Numbers Tell the Story of NJ’s Midterm Elections
Colleen O'Dea | Politics, Elections 2018
November’s elections didn’t just give Democrats almost a clean sweep of the state’s congressional delegation. They broke records for spending and for the number of ballots cast by mail
Murphy, Top Dems to Talk Tomorrow on New $15 Minimum Wage Proposal
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Gov. Phil Murphy and Democratic leaders remain divided over key issues, including the number of workers who’d have to wait longer for the increase
Op-Ed: Improving End-of-Life Care Should Be a Priority for New Jersey
Michael Maron | Opinion
Helping patients who are coming toward the end of their lives is one of the state’s most important healthcare issue

December 11, 2018

Revised Draft of NJ Transit Reform Bill on Track, Ready for Murphy to Green-Light
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
Updated measure addresses issues raised by administration’s in-depth audit of agency, seats commuters on governing board, mandates public hearings before fare hikes can be made, adds ‘customer advocate’
State Monitor Identifies Major Leadership, Planning Problems at Newark Hospital
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Troubling findings on operations, finances, quality of care at state’s only public acute-care facility
NJ Efforts to Roll Out Zero-Emission Vehicles Taking Back Seat to Other Initiatives?
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Advocates argue that electrifying transportation sector would save money for drivers and other consumers, but Rate Counsel wants to put on the brakes, citing steep subsidies
Judge Grants First Eminent Domain Case to PennEast in Pennsylvania
Jon Hurdle | Energy & Environment
Company says ruling will allow it to complete surveys. New Jersey landowners await ruling from different judge
Interactive Map: Internet and Computer Access Across NJ Reflects a Digital Divide
Colleen O'Dea | Maps, Map of the Week
Smartphones, laptops, desktop computers, internet connections — poorer New Jerseyans are less likely to have them than better-off residents
Op-Ed: The Time Has Come for The Garden State to Stand Up for Farmworkers
Craig Garcia and Manuel Guzman | Opinion
Farmworkers don’t have a seat at the table; witness their proposed exclusion from a $15 minimum wage
This New Jersey Immigrant's Struggle to Attend College
WNYC News | Immigration
Last May, New Jersey gave undocumented immigrants access to state financial aid for college. Although some like Gloria Rodriguez are benefiting, the law has had a bumpy roll-out

December 10, 2018

Murphy Officials Undo Christie’s Septic-Tank Density Rule for Highlands
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Activists, who had strongly resisted former governor’s easing of environmental standards, welcome move but wonder about provision for further evaluation
Could Doulas Help to Reduce Racial Disparities in NJ’s Maternity Care?
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Recalling their own experiences, lawmakers get personal, underlining the significant differences in how women of different racial backgrounds can experience childbirth in New Jersey
No 401(k)? NJ Lawmakers Try to Give Private-Sector Workers Another Way to Save
John Reitmeyer | Budget
For people working in companies that don’t offer retirement accounts, legislators want to set up a pathway to building a nest egg
New Chemical Substitutes Threaten to Undermine NJ’s Cutting-Edge Rules on PFAS
Jon Hurdle | Energy & Environment
Manufacturers have responded to increasing regulation by introducing chemical alternatives that have not been fully vetted, scientists tell NJ Spotlight roundtable
Op-Ed: Governor, Lawmakers Should Prioritize Spending on Infrastructure
Mark Longo | Opinion
There would be a big economic payoff from investing in energy systems, power generation, water infrastructure

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
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