Declining Enrollment of Asian and Hispanic Children in State Medicaid Program

LILO H. STAINTON | OCTOBER 29, 2019 

NJ Spotlight

Family Care — New Jersey’s Medicaid program — has lost nearly 50,000 youngsters in the past year and a half alone, according to a new study.

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The number of children enrolled in New Jersey Family Care — the state’s Medicaid program — is now at a five-year low, having lost nearly 50,000 youngsters in the past year and a half alone, according to a new study. But all racial groups have not fared the same.

The number of Asian and Hispanic kids in New Jersey without health insurance increased between 2017 and 2018, a situation that is particularly concerning since these two racial groups already make up more than half the uninsured children statewide, New Jersey Policy Perspective said in the study released Monday.

During that same period, the number of African American and white children without coverage fell by even greater numbers, the left-leaning research group found after analyzing new census data.

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N.J. judges get schooled on rape, domestic violence cases after comments landed some in hot water

Posted Oct 28, 2019

Superior Court judges across the state left their courtrooms Monday to take part in a training instituted after several judges were slammed for comments they made regarding sexual assaults.

The judiciary announced the training Friday, describing it as a “mandatory full-day educational conference focusing on the areas of gender violence and bias.”

The announcement made no mention of the judges’ comments that precipitated the training. The Judiciary on Monday did not disclose the training’s exact location, citing security concerns.

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Murphy made a mess of the PARCC. Will he help clean it up? | Editorial

Posted Oct 28, 2019

The PARCC was the only objective measure that told us the truth about whether kids were really learning what they needed to.

The test uncovered achievement gaps inside of districts, huge disparities between black and white students in Montclair and South Orange-Maplewood that civil rights advocates are now challenging. The ACT or SAT won’t tell you that.

It was also a check on grade inflation. Kids can graduate with passing grades and still be unable to pass a 9th grade level test. They land in deep water in college.

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A highway could have connected routes 280 and 78. Neighborhood fight stopped it.

Updated Oct 27, 2019

Junius Williams still has the map of Route 75, a proposed six-lane highway that never happened in Newark nearly 50 years ago.

“We stopped that highway," said Williams, Newark’s city history. “That was my favorite campaign."

At the time, Williams was director of the Newark Area Planning Association (NAPA), a grassroots organization that raised hell in 1968 to fight against the transportation project to connect Route 280 and Route 78.

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New hope for oversight at Essex County jail | Editorial

Posted Oct 27, 2019

Essex County’s powerful executive, Joe DiVincenzo, has just agreed to bring on a panel of outside experts to oversee his jail in Newark, after an outcry over inhumane conditions and alleged abuses.

His lockup is one of the biggest in the nation with a multi-million-dollar contract to hold immigrants for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Now, he says he’s placing it on the cutting edge of incarceration reform.

It’s great to see the county executive take steps to invest in oversight, along with other local officials. That this was in reaction to intense public pressure does not make it any less valuable.

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State Medicaid Extends Family Planning Benefits to More People of Low Income

LILO H. STAINTON | OCTOBER 28, 2019

NJ Spotlight

First Lady Tammy Murphy said Plan First is part of an effort to “ensure healthier mothers, babies, and families.”

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Hundreds of thousands of men and women who earn up to $2,134 a month are now eligible for a suite of family planning services — including birth control, pregnancy tests and sterilization surgery — thanks to New Jersey’s new Medicaid expansion.

The state Department of Human Services rolled out the Plan First benefit earlier this month to help individuals who earn too much for the traditional Medicaid program to access certain family planning services, without paying out of pocket. It does not provide full health insurance benefits and does not currently include abortion coverage, DHS said.

The expansion is based on legislation Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed in February 2018 as one of his first official acts in Trenton — the same day he restored state funding for family planning services that Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, had discontinued. But the Medicaid expansion concept actually dates to the end of the tenure of former Gov. Jon S. Corzine, another Democrat, although it was also defunded by Christie soon after the latter took office.

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Democrats just made it harder for Booker to qualify for December presidential debate

Updated Oct 25, 2019

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Cory Booker has yet to get more than 3 percent support in most polls of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. But he will have to poll at least 4 percent in four different surveys over the next two months if he is to reach the stage for the party’s December debate.

The Democratic National Committee said Friday that candidates wishing to qualify for the Dec. 19 debate at the University of California, Los Angeles must receive at least 4 percent in at least four polls conducted nationally or in the early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

Candidates can also qualify by polling at least 6 percent in two surveys in the early states.

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Newark police delayed access to reports, videos in cop’s fatal shooting of driver, federal monitor says

Updated Oct 25, 2019

The federal monitor overseeing the Newark Police Department was repeatedly denied reports and video of the police chase that ended when an officer fatally shot a driver in January.

The media received body camera footage of Officer Jovanny Crespo shooting at the vehicle before the city or police department gave it to Peter Harvey, a former New Jersey attorney general who was appointed in 2016 to oversee sweeping reforms at the department.

Harvey outlined the denials in his ninth quarterly report that is part of Newark’s consent decree, an agreement the city entered into after a U.S. Department of Justice review found a pattern of unconstitutional practices within the police department. Each report examines progress the police division has made in reforms.

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After 15 Years, Dream Mall Finally Becomes a Reality

By Michael Corkery and 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Oct. 25, 2019

The American Dream mall will open Friday on a former swamp in the Meadowlands, though there will be no retailers until next year.

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It has taken 15 years, three owners, two names and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of taxpayer incentives, but a giant mall built on a former swamp in the Meadowlands — and less than 10 miles away from the shopping haven of Manhattan — is finally opening on Friday.

Sort of.

The $5 billion development, formerly known as Xanadu and now called American Dream, will eventually feature roughly 3 million square feet of stores, water slides, a caviar bar and an indoor ski slope that promises man-made snow even in the height of a New Jersey summer. It is an attempt to lure crowds to a spot not easily accessible by public transportation and which most people know primarily from visits for National Football League games or concerts at MetLife Stadium.

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N.J. judge who jailed woman for 23 days for disrespecting him could face 2-month suspension

Posted Oct 24, 2019

A Newark Municipal Court judge is facing a possible suspension after he sent a woman to jail for 23 days following her appearance in front of him for a landlord-tenant dispute because he believed she didn’t respect his authority.

The judge also told the woman she had a “mental condition.”

Linda Lacey spent Christmas and New Year’s in a cell during her three-plus weeks in jail — a period which the judge who put here there, Marvin C. Adames, acknowledged in court was “longer than [she] probably should have” been incarcerated.

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