N.J. Lawmakers Question if Governor’s Inner Circle Took Sexual Assault Complaint Seriously

By Nate Schweber and Nick Corasaniti

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Jan. 18, 2019

Matthew Platkin, the chief counsel to Gov. Phil Murphy, has emerged as a central character in the administration’s handling of a sexual assault accusation against a former top official.

---

TRENTON — The chief counsel to Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey came under withering questioning on Friday from lawmakers who pointedly challenged whether the administration took seriously an accusation of sexual assault against a top Murphy official.

“You thought it was important but you let him stay there for all those months,” asked Assemblywoman Holly T. Schepisi, a Republican, referring to why the state continued to employ the accused, Albert J. Alvarez. “With all due respect, do you believe it was better for him to remain employed? Was it intentional to leave him employed or was it just lack of experience?” she said.

After a pause, the chief counsel, Matthew Platkin, replied, “It was not intentional.”

Read more
Add your reaction Share

TSA sends reinforcements to Newark Airport as officers miss work over shutdown

Posted Jan 18, 2019

Facing a busy travel weekend and an increase in officers calling out of work, the Transportation Security Administration confirmed Friday it sent staff from around the country to help boost its ranks at Newark Airport.

The TSA said 6.4 percent of its nationwide staff missed work Thursday compared to a 3.8 percent rate at the same time last year. Many officers - who are laboring without pay from the partial federal government shutdown - reported they “are not able to report to work due to financial limitations," according to an agency statement.

Members of the TSA’s National Deployment Force, which is often used in major events or natural disasters to help the local workforce, were sent to Newark Airport, according to a spokesman. TSA officers in the force are available to travel to areas outside of their home base.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

In New Jersey, the Minimum Wage Is Set to Rise to $15 an Hour

By Nick Corasaniti

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Jan. 17, 2019

A new bill in New Jersey proposes increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour this July 1. Then it would increase gradually until it reaches $15 in 2024.

---

Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey and legislative leaders agreed on Thursday to a deal that would raise the minimum wage to $15, making New Jersey the fourth state in the country to commit to significantly raising incomes to that level and reflecting a growing national movement to address economic inequality.

The agreement, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2024, would place New Jersey among the most progressive states on the wage issue, joining California, New York and Massachusetts, and comes amid a growing commitment to help lower-income workers whose wages have remained stagnant even as corporate profits have experienced robust growth.

Leading national Democrats have made the fight for $15 — a $15 minimum wage across the country — central to their platforms, and Democrats in the House of Representatives recently introduced a bill that would raise the national minimum wage to $15, far higher than the federal hourly rate of $7.25.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

MURPHY CALLS FOR RETURNING RIGHT TO VOTE TO FELONS ON PROBATION OR PAROLE

COLLEEN O'DEA | JANUARY 17, 2019

NJ Spotlight

Gov. Phil Murphy wasn’t shy about patting himself and lawmakers on the back in his State of the State speech for making it easier both to register to vote and to cast a ballot. But he also wants to increase the number of registered voters by re-enfranchising felons on probation or parole, a controversial initiative.

This marked Murphy’s first public support for the concerted effort, launched last year by a number of progressive advocacy groups and legislators, to undo a 175-year-old law that strips the right to vote from those convicted of serious crimes until they have completed their entire sentence. But the governor stopped short of fully embracing legislation — embodied in S-2100 and A-3456 — that would return the right to vote to those who are incarcerated.

“Let’s open the doors to our democracy even wider,” Murphy said toward the end of his speech to a joint session of the Legislature on Tuesday. “Let’s restore voting rights for individuals on probation or parole, so we can further their reentry into society. And we further their reentry into society by allowing them to exercise the most sacred right offered by our society — the right to vote.”

Read more
Add your reaction Share

DEMOCRATS TEPID, REPUBLICANS PREDICTABLE AS MURPHY’S SPEECH DRAWS FAINT PRAISE

JOHN MOONEY | JANUARY 16, 2019

NJ Spotlight

Senate President Steve Sweeney said Gov. Phil Murphy was entitled to a victory lap.

---

Year One of Gov. Phil Murphy’s time in office was marked by a list of promises, but also a fractious relationship with legislative leaders from his own party that may have prevented the governor from notching more wins.

Judging from the reaction to his first State of the State address yesterday, Year Two may be starting out much the same for Murphy.

Democratic leaders yesterday initially tried to sidestep the press following the governor’s hour-long address, announcing beforehand that they would only be putting out a written statement.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Catholic Church settles for $400K in five sex abuse lawsuits against N.J. priest, attorney says

Posted Jan 14, 2019

Five alleged victims who say they were sexually abused by a New Jersey priest settled their lawsuits against the Catholic Church for a total of $400,000 -- and a sixth cases against him is still in court, an attorney said.

The Rev. Michael “Mitch” Walters was accused of molesting both boys and girls at St. Cassian Church and school in Montclair and St. John Nepomucene Parish in Guttenberg in the 1980s and 1990s. He denied the accusations and was removed from ministry in 2016.

Five lawsuits against Walters were settled in July after the cases went to mediation, said Mitchell Garabedian, the Boston-based attorney for the alleged victims. Garabedian, who was portrayed by Stanley Tucci in the 2015 film “Spotlight,” is known for representing victims in cases against the Catholic Church.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

HAS MURPHY MADE GOOD ON HIS PROMISES? TAKING STOCK AT THE 1-YEAR MARK

COLLEEN O'DEA | JANUARY 15, 2019

NJ Spotlight

Gov. Phil Murphy is getting a passing grade or better for his first year in office from some organizations and special-interest groups, but NJ Spotlight’s review of his major promises found mixed results.

Murphy, who delivers his first State of the State address to the Legislature today on the eve of the one-year anniversary of his taking office, has taken steps toward accomplishing nearly all 22 concrete promises made in his inaugural speech. He has also taken some action on close to 40 percent of another 75 specific pledges made during his gubernatorial campaign.

But he has also learned that being arguably the most powerful governor in the nation does not give him the ability to fully enact his agenda, even when his party controls both houses of the Legislature. To date, he has been unable to fulfill several of his major inaugural promises such as a $15 minimum wage, legalized recreational marijuana, and a millionaires tax — not for want of trying. The stumbling block: pushback from, most notably, Sen. President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex).

Read more
Add your reaction Share

SURVEY FINDS PERSISTENT BULLYING OF LGBTQ STUDENTS IN NJ HIGH SCHOOLS

COLLEEN O'DEA | JANUARY 14, 2019

NJ Spotlight

 

Gay, bisexual and transgender students in New Jersey high schools continue to face bullying, harassment, discrimination and even physical violence eight years after the enactment of a tough anti-bullying law, a new survey of LGBTQ students found.

Results of the 2017 online survey of students’ experiences in secondary schools by the organization GLSEN, whose goal is to improve the education system for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students — and for students who are questioning their sexual identity — indicate New Jersey’s LGBTQ students faced slightly less prejudice and harassment than those elsewhere in the nation. Still, a large majority face bullying or harassment and attend schools without an inclusive curriculum or policies supportive of transgender or gender-nonconforming students.

“I am very disappointed and disheartened by these statistics,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Bergen, a prime sponsor of the anti-bullying law that requires schools to protect against and try to prevent the harassment, intimidation or bullying (HIB) of students for any reason. “The numbers are alarming.”

Read more
Add your reaction Share

February SNAP Benefits to be Issued Early

SNAP recipients in New Jersey will be receiving their February benefits early because of the continued federal government shutdown.
---

TRENTON, NJ—SNAP recipients in New Jersey will be receiving their February benefits early because of the continued federal government shutdown.

The New Jersey Department of Human Services announced today that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients who received a SNAP benefit in January and were scheduled to receive the benefit again in February will receive them on Jan. 19 on their Families First Card.

“Due to President Trump’s shutdown, numerous federal programs that provide critical services to residents of New Jersey could be severely impacted,” said Governor Phil Murphy in a statement. “If the shutdown continues past February, 730,000 SNAP recipients will be affected. New Jersey’s top priority is to stand with our residents, and we urge the federal government to end this shutdown immediately.”

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Trump’s wall makes hostages of us all | Editorial

Posted Jan 10, 2019

It helps to remember that the border wall, which the president has used as his justification to shut down the federal government, was never meant to be anything other than a memory trick for an undisciplined mind.

President Trump’s earliest political advisors invented the concept of a border wall as a “mnemonic device” back in 2014, just to keep candidate Trump from wandering into a thicket of disassociated ramblings that nobody could understand, especially when he launched a stream-of-consciousness oration about his real estate accomplishments.

One advisor, Sam Nunberg, told the New York Times Saturday that he and Roger Stone meant the wall to be used only as a tool to remind Trump to talk tough about immigration.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9    148  149  Next →