With 130-Mile Coast, New Jersey Marks a First in Climate Change Fight

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THE NEW YORK TIMES

Jan. 27, 2020

A study released in November by Rutgers University found that the sea level in New Jersey was rising more than two times faster than the global average. Credit...

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New Jersey will become the first state to require that builders take into account the impact of climate change, including rising sea levels, in order to win government approval for projects, Gov. Philip D. Murphy announced on Monday.

The move by Mr. Murphy, a Democrat, is part of a widening effort by states to use regulations to address worsening climate conditions and to aggressively counteract the Trump administration’s push to roll back environmental regulations.

“This is not abstract for us,” Mr. Murphy said in an interview. “This is real. The dangers are there.”

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Ex-official admits pocketing thousands in wide-ranging fed investigation of N.J. town

Posted Jan 27, 2020

A New Jersey man faces up to 20 years in prison after admitting to his role in a wide-ranging scheme involving the misuse of public funds at a public library and recreation center in Essex County, according to court documents.

Franklyn Ore, 51, a former member of the Orange Board of Education, pleaded guilty Jan. 13 to two counts in a federal information charging him with fraud, misapplying funds and conspiracy, according to court documents.

Ore’s plea stems from a wide-ranging federal corruption investigation that began with FBI raids of the Orange library and City Hall in 2016 and 2017. More than a dozen people were named in federal search warrants and subpoenas, including Ore, other vendors, and at least two members of Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren’s administration.

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Before Trump Rally in N.J., Justice Dept. Joins Local Immigration Case

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THE NEW YORK TIMES

Jan. 26, 2020

President Trump with Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who just became a Republican.Credit...

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On the eve of a visit by President Trump to New Jersey for a campaign rally, his administration has unexpectedly intervened on behalf of local officials in the state in a heated immigration dispute.

The Justice Department on Friday joined a lawsuit that seeks to overturn a state directive that has been in effect for nearly a year that limits how much local law enforcement can cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

The move comes amid the Trump administration’s escalating efforts against so-called sanctuary policies around the country, but experts said the timing could suggest it has as much to do with politics as with immigration.

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Between math and phys ed, he’s on the board of ed, making rules for his peers

Posted Jan 26, 2020

All kids have a lane in which they’ll flourish at some point. Sports wasn’t it for Jamie Serruto, a senior at Millburn High School, who comes from an athletic family known in the township.

His uncles and father wrestled; his sister was a three-sport athlete; two aunts played field hockey; two brothers play college baseball now and one of them was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds.

Serruto, who tried youth baseball and football, had other thoughts when he saw his siblings compete.

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This is a horrible injustice. Will the AG finally set these men free? | Editorial

Posted Jan 26, 2020

To find someone guilty of a crime in America, the standard of proof is supposed to be “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

We especially shouldn’t be locking people away for life on the basis of flimsy evidence, dooming the innocent to a place where no one hears their cries.

So why are two New Jersey men each serving life sentences for a double-murder on the shaky account of a sole eyewitness – a woman high on crack cocaine?

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New Jersey Bars Police From Using Clearview Facial Recognition App

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THE NEW YORK TIMES

Jan. 24, 2020

New Jersey’s attorney general, Gurbir S. Grewal, told state prosecutors that police officers should stop using Clearview AI’s facial recognition app.Credit...

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New Jersey police officers are now barred from using a facial recognition app made by a start-up that has licensed its groundbreaking technology to hundreds of law enforcement agencies around the country.

Gurbir S. Grewal, New Jersey’s attorney general, told state prosecutors in all 21 counties on Friday that police officers should stop using the Clearview AI app.

The New York Times reported last week that Clearview had amassed a database of more than three billion photos across the web — including sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Venmo. The vast database powers an app that can match people to their online photos and link back to the sites the images came from.

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Trump Repeals Key Elements of Clean Water Act

TOM JOHNSON | JANUARY 24, 2020

NJ Spotlight 

EPA’s action ignores recommendations of president’s own Science Advisory Board on intermittent streams and wetlands.

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The Trump administration yesterday finalized repeal of key provisions of the Clean Water Act, stripping away protections for many intermittent streams and wetlands in a step that could impair drinking water and increase flooding, according to critics.

The action, a long-sought priority of President Trump, aims to instill more certainty into what waterways are covered by the federal law, a provision adopted by the Obama administration that opponents called a classic case of regulatory overreach.

“EPA and the Army are providing much needed regulatory certainty and predictability for American farmers, landowners and businesses to accelerate critical infrastructure projects,’’ said Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

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New Jersey just eliminated fines for youth in the juvenile system. And that’s a good thing. | Opinion

Posted Jan 22, 2020

By Katrina L. Goodjoint

We have seen families in New Jersey taking on debt because of mounting court fees, and we have heard of others considering criminal activities because they lack the money or the job opportunities that would allow them to pay their fees, Katrina Goodjoint says. The historic passage of Senate Bill 48 represents a new chapter in New Jersey’s criminal justice reform as it eliminates fines as a penalty for youth in the juvenile justice system.

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Recently, I spoke with a New Jersey resident who at age 38 still has outstanding juvenile fines from when he was young as 14. Out of desperation, he has asked the court if he can serve jail time in exchange for debt forgiveness. The court has repeatedly denied this request. Without his consent, his state tax refunds have been taken from him two years in a row and put towards this debt leaving him with less money to pay bills and support his loved ones. Unfortunately, this is not a unique story; but thankfully, the state has just passed historic legislation that will end these punitive fines for youth going forward.

Juvenile courts across the country — originally created to rehabilitate youth — regularly impose significant fines on youth. At Juvenile Law Center, we have been advocating against these punitive sanctions on young people, whom we believe should be presumed unable to pay any fines.

Until this bill’s passage, New Jersey had some of the most punitive fines in the country. We have seen families in New Jersey taking on debt because of mounting court fees, and we have heard of others considering criminal activities like drug sales because they lack the money or the job opportunities that would allow them to pay their fees. Unpaid debt can cause youth to incur extended probation, placement in a facility, civil judgment on their record, an inability to expunge their records, and even driver’s license suspensions.

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Decades-old cases of sexual abuse brings new charges against Newark Archdiocese

Posted Jan 22, 2020

Two new lawsuits detailing allegations of sexual abuse dating back 40 years or more by a now-deceased Catholic priest have been filed against the Archdiocese of Newark by men who say they were victimized as children.

The charges are the latest since a two-year window opened on Dec. 1, under a new law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy that vastly expanded the amount of time that victims of sexual assault may bring a lawsuit. The law not only targets the individuals who committed the sexual assault, but churches, athletic organizations, schools and community organizations for whom they worked.

In a press conference in Newark on Wednesday morning, attorneys for the two who filed complaints against the archdiocese said both chose to come forward publicly and wanted their stories to be told.

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Biden lands another big N.J. endorsement

Posted Jan 21, 2020

A second New Jersey congressman has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden now that U.S. Sen. Cory Booker has ended his White House run.

Rep. Donald Payne Jr., D-10th Dist., one of two African-American representatives from New Jersey, endorsed Biden on Tuesday.

He follows Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-7th Dist., who announced his support for Biden on Jan. 14, . Malinowski was an assistant secretary of state under President Barack Obama when Biden was vice president.

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