If you value Planned Parenthood like 65 percent of NJ, stay clear of these candidates | Editorial

Posted Nov. 2, 2018

New Jerseyans already know what happens when we defund Planned Parenthood, which is on almost every congressional Republican's list of Things To Do, regardless of the appalling consequences.

We had a governor who pulled the plug on family planning funding for eight years. In the end, Chris Christie's elimination of $55 million resulted in the closure of six facilities and 33,000 fewer patients receiving medical care statewide.

Result: Sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia and syphilis, jumped 35 percent between 2009 and 2015.

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SENATE RACE HAS BEEN ONE FOR THE AGES: NASTY, NOISOME, NEGATIVE

OLLEEN O'DEA | NOVEMBER 2, 2018

NJ Spotlight

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez campaigning among friendly faces this week

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Next Tuesday will end what ranks among the nastiest campaigns in New Jersey history, with a self-funding millionaire launching an incessant barrage of negative ads — including one deemed false by several fact checkers — against the incumbent U.S. Senator, who has done his best to fire back on a more limited budget.

Sen. Bob Menendez continues to hold a 5-point lead over Republican challenger Bob Hugin, the former pharmaceuticals CEO, in the two most recent polls and has never trailed in any independent polls, though the margin in internal polls was reportedly even closer. Democratic party notables have stepped up their efforts in his behalf. The Senate Majority PAC, the Senate Democrats’ top political action committee, recently put another $2.8 million into anti-Hugin ads, for a total $5.8 million. Gov. Phil Murphy spent Sunday campaigning with Menendez and the state’s senior senator also has been traveling with the more popular junior Sen. Cory Booker, another Democrat.

Campaigning on Tuesday at an electronics manufacturing company in Rockaway, Hugin said the race is close and he can win with the right turnout. On Saturday he told Fox and Friends on Fox News that he has seen polls where he is ahead.

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Democrats in an All-Hands-on-Deck Scramble to Save Menendez in New Jersey

By Nick Corasaniti and Jonathan Martin

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Oct. 31, 2018

From left, Senator Cory Booker, Gov. Philip D. Murphy and Senator Bob Menendez discuss Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in Union Beach, N.J. Mr. Booker and Mr. Murphy are helping to prop up Mr. Menendez’s re-election efforts.

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UNION BEACH, N.J. — It was a rare convergence of New Jersey’s governor and its two senators for an official event meant to be about policy, not politics.

But as Gov. Philip D. Murphy announced new programs to help homeowners recover from Hurricane Sandy, there was little doubt why the state’s top Democrats had convened so soon before Election Day.

“I don’t know where we would be without Senator Bob Menendez,” Mr. Murphy said. He was followed by Senator Cory Booker, who offered his own lofty praise: “When I look to the future of this state, we need Bob Menendez.”

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In Echo of Flint, Mich., Water Crisis Now Hits Newark

By Liz Leyden

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Oct. 30, 2018

Shana Gilbert and her daughter, Malaysa Ingram, received water filters at Paradise Baptist Church in Newark this month. The filters were distributed free because of elevated lead levels in the city’s water.

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NEWARK — For nearly a year and a half, top officials in Newark denied that their water system had a widespread lead problem, despite ample evidence that the city was facing a public health crisis that had echoes of the one in Flint, Mich.

Even as the risk persisted in the spring, the officials in Newark, New Jersey’s most populous city, took few precautionary measures, instead declaring on their website, “NEWARK’S WATER IS ABSOLUTELY SAFE TO DRINK.”

But this month, facing results from a new study, the officials abruptly changed course, beginning an urgent giveaway of 40,000 water filters across the city of 285,000 people, targeting tens of thousands of residences.

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NJ OFFICIALS PUSH TO GROW ACA ENROLLMENT AND THWART TRUMP EFFORTS TO GUT LAW

LILO H. STAINTON | OCTOBER 31, 2018

NJ Spotlight

Gov. Phil Murphy (with Sen. Bob Menendez in background) at yesterday's announcement of big state push to increase enrollments in ACA.

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The state will invest more than $800,000 in a campaign to expand insurance coverage among low-income residents as part of New Jersey’s first administration-led push to educate the public about their options under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Gov. Phil Murphy joined a quartet of cabinet members and congressional representatives in Trenton on Tuesday to unveil the public outreach effort connected to the ACA’s annual enrollment period, which begins November 1, Thursday, and runs through December 15.

The initiative involves a new promotional website, GetCoveredNJ.gov, with links to existing state and federal enrollment portals, outreach through state agencies, and a grassroots campaign with nonprofit partners to connect residents with coverage and, if possible, subsidies. It reflects a sharp departure from the past — former Gov. Chris Christie declined to embrace the ACA, the 2014 law also known as Obamacare, and left most outreach efforts to federal agencies and community groups.

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Heard the One About the Disabled Muslim Comic From Jersey?

By Cara Buckley

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Oct. 29, 2018

The comic Maysoon Zayid, at home with her cat, says she wants to be “the image of the American you don’t think is American.

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CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. — The stand-up comedian Maysoon Zayid likes to joke that if there were a competition called the Oppression Olympics, she would win gold.

“I’m Palestinian, Muslim, I’m a woman of color, I’m disabled,” Zayid, who has cerebral palsy, tells audiences, before pausing a beat to hang her head, her long dark hair curtaining her face, “and I live in New Jersey.”

The joke lands laughs whether Zayid tells it in red states or blue, and puts people exactly where Zayid wants them: disarmed, charmed and eager for more. She told it near the beginning of her 2014 TED Talk, which drew nearly 15 million views, became the most-watched TED Talk that year and changed Zayid’s life. She now has a development deal with ABC to create a semiautobiographical sitcom called “Can-Can,” starring her.

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IN WAKE OF PITTSBURGH, JERSEY CITY KILLINGS MURPHY CALLS FOR TIGHTER GUN LAWS

JOHN REITMEYER | OCTOBER 30, 2018

NJ Spotlight

Gov. Phil Murphy announces support for new gun-safety measures in Trenton, flanked by Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (far left); Pamela Johnson, executive director of Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition; and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

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Gov. Phil Murphy and state lawmakers are launching another effort to tighten New Jersey’s already strict gun laws, announcing yesterday in the wake of the nation’s latest mass shooting that they will work to enact a new package of gun reforms within the next 90 days.

Among the latest anti-violence goals outlined at a news conference in Trenton yesterday, are proposals to update state law related to buying ammunition and to add a new crime for those who make “straw purchases” of guns for people already banned from owning a firearm.

The governor and Democratic legislative leaders will also look to increase funding for community-based gun-violence prevention initiatives and to update state law related to “smart guns,” which use new technology in an effort to ensure a firearm can only be discharged by its owner.

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Republican leader tells the truth: He'll gut Social Security and Medicare | Editorial

Posted October 29, 2018

Mitch McConnell, whose contempt for the middle class is so profound that it gives kleptocracy a bad name, has offered up another issue for voters to ponder over the next week: If the Republicans hold on to both houses of Congress, he suggested last week, the preferred GOP fix for the massive deficit created by their tax plan is to take a meat axe to Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid.

Maybe he didn't plan to say that out loud, but hardly anyone was surprised when he did.

In December, amid broad bipartisan tittering, the Senate Majority Leader asserted that the tax cut - which mostly benefited corporations and the richest Americans - would actually shrink the deficit.

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African-Americans rally for social policy agenda after overwhelming Murphy support

Ryan P. Haygood, president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, called on Gov. Phil Murphy to support a social policy agenda after African-Americans supported his election.
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NEWARK, NJ - A largely African-American crowd in a packed church basement in Newark voiced impatience and exasperation with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, calling on him to commit to a proposed social policy agenda after they overwhelmingly committed themselves to his election. 

"Governor Phil Murphy got 94 percent of the black vote, and when you get 94 percent of a demographic's vote, you have to have specific plans to address the challenges that they face," said Ryan P. Haygood, president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, before an overflow audience at Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church on Saturday, noting the importance of the black ballot in Murphy's 2017 election win. 

Haygood's reference to the 94 percent near-unanimous black political support for Gov. Phil Murphy underscores three critical policy concerns he and other African-Americans feel the progressive Democrat has yet to address since taking office in January: changing New Jersey's youth justice system, restoring the right to vote to people with criminal convictions, and closing the racial wealth gap.

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'Major' deficiencies found at University Hospital following death of baby, state says

Posted October 25, 2018

A state inspection has uncovered "major infection control deficiencies" at University Hospital in Newark following the death of a premature baby, the state Department of Health said Thursday.

The state said its inspection of the hospital revealed issues with "hand hygiene, personal protective equipment and cleanliness" and that it has created a "Directed Plan of Correction" for New Jersey's only public hospital, following an investigation that showed that the Department of Health's "recommended practices had not been implemented."

The premature baby that was in the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit contracted the Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria, and was transferred to another unnamed facility, where the child died in late September, "prior to the Department's notification of problems in the NICU," the department stated.

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