About 20% of N.J. Prisoners Could Be Freed to Avoid Virus

By 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

July 30, 2020

“He did not go there for a death sentence,” said Bernice Ferguson of Camden, N.J., whose son died of the coronavirus in prison custody. Credit...

---

New Jersey lawmakers are expected to approve legislation that could free more than 3,000 prisoners — about 20 percent of the state’s prison population — months before their release dates in response to the extraordinary threat posed by the coronavirus in tightly packed correctional facilities.

Inmates who are within a year of completing their state prison sentences would be eligible to be released up to eight months early based on credits awarded for time served during the pandemic.

The bill, which the American Civil Liberties Union believes to be the first legislative initiative of its kind in the United States, would not permit the release of most sex offenders, but would apply to inmates sentenced for other violent crimes, including murder.

“There are people who were sentenced to long prison terms, but they weren’t sentenced to die in prison,” said Amol Sinha, executive director of the A.C.L.U. of New Jersey, one of the groups urging passage of the legislation.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Teachers hit the streets to protest reopening schools during pandemic. ‘It’s not safe.'

Posted Jul 30, 2020

Heather Sullivan is torn.

The North Plainfield High School English teacher wants to see her students in person again after months out of the classroom.

But at the same time, she’s concerned about the spread of the coronavirus when schools reopen in September, and worries there’s no plan in place to keep educators and students alike protected.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Opinion: What Is It About Being Directed to Wear Faces Masks that So Infuriates Some People?

CARL GOLDEN | JULY 31, 2020

NJ Spotlight

Carl Golden

---

What is it about being directed to wear a face mask when out in public to protect oneself and others from an incurable virus that so infuriates and offends some people they belittle and berate those around them, assault store clerks and generally make fools of themselves for the millions who view their cell-phone-recorded antics on YouTube?

Surely they recognize a pandemic that has ravaged the country, sickened more than 4 million people, killed another 150,000, crashed the economy, shut down businesses many of which will never reopen, closed schools and placed a resumption of classes in significant doubt,  and overloaded hospitals?

Yet, even as public health and medical experts estimate that wearing face masks can reduce the infection spread by 65%, there are those who swagger their way through public spaces unmasked as a sign of their unchallenged individuality, a statement they will not stand by idly while government tells them what to do even if it places lives at risk — theirs and others.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Teachers Are Wary of Returning to Class, and Online Instruction Too

By Dana Goldstein and 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

July 29, 2020

Angela Andrus, who teaches junior high, at a protest in Salt Lake City last week. Utah’s largest teachers' union has called for starting the school year online because of safety concerns.Credit...

---

As the nation heads toward a chaotic back-to-school season, with officials struggling over when to reopen classrooms and how to engage children online, teachers’ unions are playing a powerful role in determining the shape of public education as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage.

Teachers in many districts are fighting for longer school closures, stronger safety requirements and limits on what they are required to do in virtual classrooms, while flooding social media and state capitols with their concerns and threatening to walk off their jobs if key demands are not met.

On Tuesday, the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union raised the stakes dramatically by authorizing its local and state chapters to strike if their districts do not take sufficient precautions — such as requiring masks and updating ventilation systems — before reopening classrooms. Already, teachers’ unions have sued Florida’s governor over that state’s efforts to require schools to offer in-person instruction.

But even as unions exert their influence, they face enormous public and political pressure because of widespread acknowledgment that getting parents back to work requires functioning school systems, and that remote learning failed many children this spring, deepening achievement gaps by race and income.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

The Knucklehead Hall of Fame

By Fred Snowflack | July 29, 2020

Insider NJ

Gov. Phil Murphy

---

The last thing anyone should want to do is invite COVID-19 to their next summer party.

That’s how a concerned Phil Murphy put it at today’s pandemic update briefing. New Jersey’s metrics continue to be good – certainly when compared to many other states – but the road may be getting bumpy.

The governor spoke of far too many house parties with people jammed together with no masks.

These gatherings may be for friends and relatives, but as the governor said, the hosts have just “invited (the) coronavirus into your party.”

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Opinion: We Must Rescue Health Insurance for Small Businesses and Their Workers

JOEL C. CANTORMARGARET KOLLER | JULY 30, 2020

NJ Spotlight

Joel C. Cantor and Margaret Koller

---

New Jersey has successfully “flattened the curve” in the growth of coronavirus cases, but the prospect of a second wave can’t be ignored, and cautious consumers may not return to dining out or shopping locally anytime soon.

Small employers are at the cross-currents of pandemic-driven forces. Many small businesses rely on face-to-face interactions, and few have deep pockets to weather shutdowns and stalled demand. The revenue freefall that businesses have experienced over the last five months makes sustaining payments for health insurance coverage challenging if not impossible. Yet, at a time when we are all vulnerable to a dangerous virus with no vaccine and limited treatment options, the idea of going without health coverage can be terrifying.

To address growing challenges in small group health insurance, the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy convened a virtual expert panel on July 16. Drawing on perspectives from the insurance industry, small business, and public affairs, the forum shed light on the causes of our troubled market and possible solutions. The discussion was informed by analysis and policy recommendations provided in the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute’s recently released white paper on options for the small group market. You can view the entire forum here. What follows is our take on the upshot of this discussion.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

N.J. small businesses reject GOP claim that people won’t work if unemployment payments are extended

Posted Jul 29, 2020

A group of N.J. small business owners said they’d love to rehire the employees they were forced to furlough due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The problem is they have no work to offer them. And, they say, the extra federal unemployment insurance benefits scheduled to run out Friday are essential to keeping their workers above water until they can return to their jobs.

“Everybody who works for me has been anxious to come back to work and glad to come back to work,” said Kelly Conklin, co-founder of Kenilworth-based Foley Waite, a 14-person architectural woodworking firm. “People want to come back to work. This extended benefit is how they’re going to be able to come back to work.”

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Congressman: Our sacred right to vote is under grave threat | Opinion

By Bill Pascrell

Representative Bill Pascrell

---

The passing of my friend Congressman John Lewis has been a terrible blow. His death at this moment crystalizes the imperative of what was perhaps John’s most important life’s work: protecting your right to vote.

Because there is no question that your sacred right is under grave threat.

Almost daily, Donald Trump uses his pulpit to target election officials. He spews conspiracy theories that undermine our elections. And Trump’s false claims that millions of Americans vote illegally targets the legitimacy of our entire democracy.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Trump administration rejects new DACA applications as it works to end program

The Trump administration will reject new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as it seeks new avenues to dismantle parts of the program, the administration announced Tuesday.

The administration will also shorten the window for current DACA recipients, or so-called Dreamers, to renew their status from two years to one year, according to a Tuesday memo from the Department of Homeland Security. The new policy for renewals grants the administration a chance to conduct a “comprehensive review” of the program to assess its legality after a Supreme Court ruling rejecting its efforts to dismantle the program, a senior administration official said Tuesday. The official declined to say how long that review would last, but the period could keep the program in effect beyond the presidential election in November.

The continued rejection of new applications comes despite an order by a federal court in Maryland two weeks ago for the administration to accept them. The official contended on Tuesday that the DHS memo counted as an intervening action that would allow the administration to continue rejecting new applicants in accordance with the court order.

But when asked whether he expected legal challenges to the continued rejection of new applications, the official responded flatly: “Yes, of course.”

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Newark Airport’s Terminal One Will Open in 2021 as Air Travel Moves Toward Uncertain Future

Cotton, O'Toole and Lawrence stand in the center of Terminal One's main concourse, which features a vista overlooking runways and the New Jersey Turnpike.

---

NEWARK, NJ — As an embattled travel and transportation industry confronts steep revenue fallout due to COVID-19, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is approaching a major construction milestone.

The $2.7 billion state-of-the-art Terminal One project at Newark Liberty International Airport will reach 60% completion this fall and open to travelers in late 2021, according to Kevin O’Toole, chairman of the board at the Port Authority. The project has managed to stay within budget and on time despite the public health crisis. 

Once completed, it will replace Newark Airport’s declining Terminal A. The 1 million-square-foot Terminal One construction site, which employs roughly 750 workers, is ready to expand by 50 more sets of hands as crews prepare to install curtain walls and glass, O’Toole said. 

Read more
Add your reaction Share

← Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9    242  243  Next →