What Gurbir Grewal Learned as the Nation’s First Sikh Attorney General

Gurbir S. Grewal, New Jersey’s attorney general for more than three years, is expected to start Monday as the director of the enforcement division at the Securities and Exchange Commission.Credit...
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Gurbir S. Grewal did not seek out the powerful role at the Securities and Exchange Commission that he is planning to start on Monday.

Officials at the S.E.C. approached Mr. Grewal, New Jersey’s longest-serving attorney general in decades, to run a key enforcement division for the nation’s top securities regulator after its former director resigned days after taking the job.

Born to Indian immigrants in Jersey City, N.J., Mr. Grewal will remain rooted in the Garden State, commuting between Washington and Bergen County, where his wife, a doctor, and their three daughters will continue to live.

Last Friday, he posted an emotional, 10-minute video farewell that touched on what he saw as notable victories even as he sounded a familiar theme: the need to restore and enhance trust in government and in the criminal justice system, particularly among communities of color.

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N.J. will now require civics courses to be taught in middle school under new law

Posted Jul 23, 2021

New Jersey will soon fill what officials say is a critical gap in its education system: a lack of civics lessons in middle school.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday signed a bipartisan bill into law that requires all middle school students in the state take at least one course in civics, the study of the rights and duties of citizens, or United States government, beginning in the 2022-23 school year.

Officials said New Jersey was one of only a few states that didn’t require specifics civics courses in middle school. They are currently mandated only in elementary and high school.

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As eviction moratorium nears end, N.J. to begin settlement conferences for renters, landlords

Posted Jul 24, 2021

The first mandatory settlement conferences in more than 56,000 pending landlord-tenant cases will begin next week, nearly a year-and-a-half since a statewide eviction moratorium began amid the coronavirus pandemic.

If the landlord does not appear at the settlement conference, the case will be dismissed. If the tenant does not appear and the landlord establishes entitlement to relief, the court will enter a default judgment.

If no settlement is reached after both parties attend the settlement conference, a trial will be set for a date after Aug. 31. Even as cases begin to be heard, residential evictions will still not occur until the eviction moratorium ends — which could be Dec. 31.

But that date still hangs in the balance, pending a bill that was passed by the state Legislature and has yet to be signed by Gov. Phil Murphy. The bill (S3691) would move up the end date of the moratorium to Aug. 31 for renters if their annual household income is above 80% of their county’s median income. Those who make less than that would remain under the moratorium until Dec. 31.

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Kim Guadagno, Christie’s Lt. Governor, leaves the Republican Party

By David WildsteinJuly 22 2021

New Jersey Globe

Former New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. 

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Former New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who was elected twice on a ticket with Gov. Chris Christie, has left the Republican Party and is now an unaffiliated voter, the New Jersey Globe has confirmed.

The two-term statewide officeholder filed paperwork to change her party affiliation on Monday.

Guadagno has bolted her party to protest the leadership of the Monmouth County Republican chairman, Shaun Golden.

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Laundry workers essential in pandemic but shut out from benefits

MONSY ALVARADO, SOCIAL JUSTICE WRITER | JULY 23, 2021

NJ Spotlight News

A laundromat worker

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The days at the laundromat in Edison were long and busy for Gaudencia Ramirez.

During an eight-hour shift, Ramirez said she would wash about 200 pounds of laundry, clean bathrooms, sweep floors and attend to the needs of customers. When she picked up an overnight shift with no overtime pay, Ramirez sometimes had to contend with unruly customers who were drunk and belligerent.

When Ramirez, who emigrated from Mexico 29 years ago, lost her job two years ago, she said she was not given notice or a severance package after 11 years at the same laundromat.

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When it Comes to Talking about LGBT Curriculum, Ciattarelli hasn’t had Enough

By Fred Snowflack | July 21, 2021

Insider NJ

Phil Murphy says he’s heard enough, but Jack Ciattarelli isn’t done talking yet about LGBT curriculum in New Jersey schools.

The Republican gubernatorial candidate said on a radio program today that he wants Murphy to publicly answer some questions.

Should kindergarten students be taught gender identity?

Should “the most explicit sex acts” be taught in middle school?

Ciattarelli first waded into a version of the “culture wars” last month when he expressed unease with how gender identity and “sodomy” is taught in school. He vowed to “roll back” LGBT curriculum requirements.

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Atlantic City votes to close state’s largest needle exchange program, drawing outrage

Posted Jul 21, 2021

The Atlantic City council voted Wednesday to shut down New Jersey’s largest needle exchange program, despite a strong outpouring of advocates and supporters who have argued the program is vital to the public health of the casino town.

After a two-and-a-half hour discussion and hearing from nearly 50 people opposed to the closure, the city council voted 7-2 to close Oasis, a harm reduction center run by the South Jersey Aids Alliance (SJAA) that provides services to 1,200 clients by providing clean syringes, testing services and recovery support.

The decision went against city health director Dr. Wilson Washington’s recommendation of keeping the needle exchange open while an alternative plan is figured out, according to Anthony Swan, the city’s business administrator.

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The Child Tax Credit is monumental. Now make it permanent | Editorial

Posted Jul 21, 2021

The federal government launched its greatest anti-poverty program in half a century last week, by expanding the Child Tax Credit to deliver monthly payments to more than 39 million families with children across the U.S.

It is an epic event. Our child poverty rate dwarfs virtually every other wealthy nation, with 1 in 7 children living in poverty and 12.5 million kids food insecure, pre-pandemic. But the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan and validated what every reputable study has shown: Alleviating child poverty is far less expensive than doing nothing, and this is an investment that will be paid back in torrents.

So monthly checks of $300 per child under age 6 and $250 per child under 18 began to go out Thursday – to single parents making up to $75,000, or couples making up to $150,000 -- and they will continue through the end of the tax year. The payments will cut child poverty by 40 percent in 2021, and the impact will hit home: More than 80 percent of New Jersey’s children will benefit from this expansion in some way.

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Ciattarelli to New Jersey’s GOP base: ‘Give me a little wiggle room’ on wedge issues

07/21/2021

Politico

Jack Ciattarelli

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New Jersey‘s Republican gubernatorial nominee is using a novel approach to appeal to the state's Democrat-leaning electorate without angering the GOP base — and he’s letting the base in on it.

“I'm never gonna disrespect the base, but you guys got to give me a little wiggle room” Jack Ciattarelli told a conservative crowd at a gun range in historically Republican Hunterdon County late last month, according to video footage obtained by POLITICO. “Give me a little wiggle room to spend time going to places Republicans typically don't go. And give me a little wiggle room on how to talk about issues. Because the goal is to win.”

Ciattarelli, a former state lawmaker who developed a reputation as a moderate, said he told an audience the same thing in even-redder Ocean County — the most pro-Trump county in the state.

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U.S. Life Expectancy Fell By 1.5 Years In 2020, The Biggest Drop Since WWII

July 21, 2021

NPR

A fence alongside Greenwood Cemetery, in Brooklyn, N.Y., is covered with memorial art for people who died of COVID-19. Pandemic deaths caused the biggest drop in life expectancy in decades.

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Life expectancy in the United States declined by a year and a half in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says the coronavirus is largely to blame.

COVID-19 contributed to 74% of the decline in life expectancy from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77.3 years in 2020, according to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

It was the largest one-year decline since World War II, when life expectancy dropped by 2.9 years between 1942 and 1943. Hispanic and Black communities saw the biggest declines.

For African Americans, life expectancy dropped by 2.9 years from 74.7 years in 2019 to 71.8 in 2020.

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