Time's Up: Rutgers targets sexual harassment | Editorial

A young woman entering college may have a good understanding of mutual consent, but she is undoubtedly familiar with power plays.

She knows grades are the measure of academic success, and if a faculty member uses that as an incentive or threat during a sexual advance, the student may not immediately run to the faculty advisor or department chair to consult their university handbook. It could take years for her to even admit it, if she can at all.

At Rutgers University, if it takes more than two years to issue a complaint, that student could be out of luck. The school typically didn't investigate older sexual harassment allegations, just to stay consistent with New Jersey's civil statute of limitations.

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PARCC PEACE BREAKS OUT: COMPROMISE IS REACHED ON HIGH SCHOOL TESTING

 | OCTOBER 4, 2018

NJ Spotlight

State Board of Education president Arcelio Aponte, left, and Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet at yesterday board’s meeting

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The Murphy administration and the State Board of Education reached a compromise on the future of high school testing in New Jersey that will mean a couple of fewer tests going forward and more flexibility on what counts toward graduation.

Whether that settles the debate is yet to be seen, not to mention that a court case over the state’s graduation requirements still looms.

Breaking what looked like a rare standoff between the board and the education commissioner, state board president Arcelio Aponte and Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet announced at yesterday board’s meeting that they had reached a compromise that appeared to appease both sides.

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MURPHY PLEDGES NEW TAX CREDITS, OTHER PROGRAMS FOR HOUSING, COMMUNITIES

 | OCTOBER 3, 2018

NJ Spotlight

 

A day after unveiling an ambitious economic development plan, Gov. Phil Murphy and members of his administration gave some details on several new programs that would provide tax credits to help revitalize communities and build much-needed housing.

Speaking in Atlantic City yesterday to several hundred attendees at the annual Governor’s Conference on Housing and Economic Development, Murphy stressed the importance of ensuring that actions to improve the state’s economy include building homes affordable to New Jerseyans.

“Economic development cannot be skewed to mean only that which benefits shareholders,” Murphy said. “We can have strong economic growth and safe, affordable housing options for families. We can have strong and diverse communities.”

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Trump's cruel attack on legal immigrants | Editorial

The Trump administration is preparing a new rule that would punish legal immigrants who use health and nutrition programs like Medicaid or food stamps. It would make it harder for them to get green cards or citizenship, if they have used any of a long list of safety net programs, even temporarily.
 
We've heard legitimate concerns about people coming over here with no means to support themselves and becoming a burden on the American taxpayer. We can't throw our doors open to everyone who gets cancer in China or Mexico. But consider the impact on the ground. Three things are appalling about this, even for a fiscal conservative who favors restricting immigration. 
 
First, this rule applies to legal immigrants. Those who are here illegally are already banned from virtually all federal anti-poverty programs. That's right - despite Trump's rhetoric about people "sneaking into the country," this is about denying care to someone who comes here legitimately for work, plays by all the rules, and then gets sick or falls on hard times.

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IT JUST BECAME EASIER TO CLEAN A CRIMINAL RECORD IN THE GARDEN STATE

 | OCTOBER 1, 2018

NJ Spotlight

 

It just got easier for many New Jerseyans to wipe clean their past criminal records.

Today, changes in the state’s expungement law became effective that give people the ability to apply to have certain past criminal charges or a juvenile conviction removed from their records sooner. They also allow multiple offenses to be cleared at one time. Former Gov. Chris Christie signed the reforms into law at the end of last year.

“Given the fact that the court currently processes some 10,000 expungement applications a year, I think it’s safe to say that the new changes will open the door for thousands more applications each year,” said Akil Roper, vice president and chief counsel for re-entry at Legal Services of New Jersey, who cheered the changes.

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IS THERE ANYTHING MORE TO NEW JERSEY’S U.S. SENATE RACE THAN NEGATIVE ADS?

 | SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

NJ Spotlight

To the typical New Jersey resident, this year’s U.S. Senate race boils down to a choice between the crooked Bob or the greedy Bob.

With less than six weeks before the election, there has been virtually no discussion of any substantive issues in the race between Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez and Republican nominee and former pharmaceuticals executive Bob Hugin. Instead, the public is being treated to a nearly incessant loop of negative ads, some paid for by the candidates and others by third-party groups highly critical of one Bob or the other.

Neither candidate has given people much reason to vote for him, rather than against his opponent, thus far. If the campaign continues in this vein, that might not happen until October 24, when they are scheduled to debate on NJTV. It’s the only debate to which they have agreed so far.

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NJ Transit May Request Extension for Positive Train Control

By Christian Hetrick • 

New Jersey Transit is at risk of missing a federal deadline to install a mandatory safety system on its tracks and may ask for a two-year extension to complete the work, the head of the agency told state lawmakers on Monday.

The railroad must install Positive Train Control—a system designed to prevent collisions and high-speed derailments—by Dec. 31 or potentially face hefty federal fines. During a hearing before the Assembly Budget Committee, NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett said the agency is behind in its work and may ask the federal government for permission to finish the job by the end of 2020.

“We are making that evaluation, but if we are going to go that way, we will have to move fairly quick on that,” Corbett told reporters after the hearing.

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Newark's leading the way and other N.J. cities should follow, Murphy says

Gov. Phil Murphy came to Newark on Monday and reeled off a few phrases that could easily be new slogans for New Jersey's most populous city. 

He called it "a city clearly on the rise" and "a model for urban revitalization." 

That, Murphy explained, is largely because Newark has been bolstered by what he calls "the innovation economy" -- in which technology companies, especially startups, move in to an area and help reinvigorate it.

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GOP WANTS TO YANK GATEWAY FUNDS OUT OF TRUMP’S SIGNED 2019 BUDGET

JOHN REITMEYER | APRIL 30, 2018

NJ Spotlight

Amtrak train exiting the north tube of the outmoded Hudson River Tunnel from New York into New Jersey

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Just weeks after celebrating a significant appropriation for the Gateway transportation program and its trans-Hudson rail tunnel, New Jersey’s congressional delegation is back on high alert thanks to a new push by some Republicans to cancel the infrastructure spending.

The threat to the Gateway funding comes from a group of 27 GOP representatives that is encouraging the use of a parliamentary procedure known as “rescission” to remove an estimated $541 million that was just allocated for the infrastructure project in a more than $1 trillion federal spending bill signed into law by President Donald Trump late last month

While it’s far from certain the rescission gambit will work, members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation are taking it seriously, forming a bipartisan front to defend the approved Gateway spending. Part of their response involves highlighting how many of the representatives who signed an official rescission letter hail from states that, unlike New Jersey, receive more funding from the federal government than their residents typically pay in taxes. Some of the representatives’ own states also just a received a significant amount of aid from the federal government — with the support of New Jersey’s delegation — after recent natural disasters.

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Newark and Camden just got $400k each to clean up dirty land

What do a meat processing site, an abandoned gas station and two abandoned industrial sites have in common? They're all getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grant money dedicated to cleaning them up.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Wednesday that four New Jersey brownfield sites, two in Newark and two in Camden, were each being awarded $200,000 in federal grants to help cover cleanup costs.

Going forward, the cities will be primarily responsible for cleaning up the sites while the EPA will hold an oversight role.

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