Murphy announces $40 million for undocumented immigrants, others excluded from benefits

Posted May 07, 2021

Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday announced a $40 million fund for undocumented immigrants and other workers excluded from economic aid during the pandemic, as part of a larger $275 million economic relief package.

The news comes after a nearly month-long hunger strike by undocumented immigrants who were desperately seeking financial relief after being excluded from most forms of direct economic aid, including unemployment benefits and stimulus checks, since the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the job market and economy 14 months ago.

Groups representing the workers on Friday called it an important first step but fear it still won’t be enough to help the community.

New Jersey residents who were excluded from relief like unemployment and stimulus benefits will be eligible for the fund regardless of immigration status or whether they file taxes.

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Newark Community Leaders Reach Out to Disabled with Vaccination Clinic

Newark resident Juan Palacios receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up clinic hosted for the disabled community.
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NEWARK, NJ — The city of Newark is taking its first steps to vaccinate nearly 34,000 people with disabilities after community leaders hosted a pop-up clinic for residents with visual, hearing or physical impairments. 

Although officials may have a long way to go before a majority of the city’s disabled residents are fully vaccinated, more than 50 registered residents walked through the doors of Chosen Generation Ministries on Friday morning to receive a Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Among the dozens of people who came in to roll up their sleeves and receive a shot, one resident, Terrence Coleman, said that he is looking forward to traveling this fall. 

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HUD Secretary Visits Newark, Determined to Increase Vaccine Response

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Sec. Marcia Fudge visited Wynona Lipman Gardens on Thursday to attend a mobile pop-up clinic hosted by Saint James Health.

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NEWARK, NJ — Less than a quarter of Newark residents are fully vaccinated, however, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge said the Biden-Harris administration is determined to raise those numbers.

Joined by local health professionals and area officials, Fudge visited Wynona Lipman Gardens on Thursday to attend a mobile pop-up clinic hosted by Saint James Health. Aimed to increase accessibility to the city’s most underserved communities, pop-up clinics have been one of the city’s most consistent methods to provide access rather than relying on larger vaccination sites

As of May 6, more than 100 million U.S. citizens have been fully vaccinated, but the numbers in so many underserved communities throughout the country like Newark tell a different story. In a city where roughly 22% of its residents are fully vaccinated, the HUD secretary, a Cleveland native, stressed that the Biden-Harris administration needs to do more for its minority communities. 

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N.J. would be hit hardest by Biden’s tax hikes on the rich, study shows

Posted May 05, 2021

President Joe Biden’s proposed tax increases on the wealthy would prompt a greater percentage of New Jersey taxpayers to pay more than in any other state, according to a new study.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a progressive research group, found 1.2% of New Jersey taxpayers, or 53,000, would see their taxes go up. That’s tied with Massachusetts for the highest percentage of a state’s taxpayers facing a tax hike.

Still, that means that 98.8% of New Jersey’s taxpayers would see no increase. Nationally, the percentage would be 99.3%, leaving 0.7%, or 1.1 million filers, who would be affected.

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Murphy job approvals at 57% in Monmouth poll

By David WildsteinMay 05 2021

New Jersey Globe

Gov. Phil Murphy. 

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Six months before voters decide if they want to keep him for another four years, Gov. Phil Murphy has job approvals of 57%-35% among adult New Jersey residents, according to a Monmouth University poll released on Wednesday.

Murphy’s numbers are down from April 2020, when his approvals skyrocketed to 71%-21% during the first month of the coronavirus pandemic.  Pundits and strategists from both parties said at the time that a drop back to earth was inevitable.

But Murphy still hasn’t closed his deal for re-election in a heavily blue state that hasn’t re-elected a Democratic governor in 44 years.

Slightly less than half of New Jerseyans polled (48%) say that he should be re-elected, while 43% said he should not.

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N.J. town is trying to ban marijuana sales, but residents are fighting the move

Posted May 04, 2021

In March, the Orange City Council took a preliminary vote, 4-2, in favor of an ordinance that would ban recreational marijuana sales within its borders.

The vote, which happened following the first reading of the ordinance, drew the ire of many in the community, including several business owners who are preparing to open recreational marijuana operations in the predominately Black township. The ordinance would need to be passed again at a second reading to become law.

“For an applicant, such as ourselves, who did everything correctly...if a town then pulls its support, do we then become free agents, essentially?” said Travis Ally, co-owner of 93iD.

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You can get a free ride to a COVID vaccine site, thanks to NJ Transit, pharma companies

Posted May 04, 2021

Need an NJ Transit train or bus ride to get vaccinated? Novartis and Catalent are sponsoring up to two free round trips for 11,000 people to get their COVID-19 shots.

The public private partnership, to transport underserved and low income people to get vaccinated is the second phase of NJ Transit’s Vaxride program that started in March with a website feature showing people the closest transit services to vaccine sites.

Norvartis, a New Jersey based healthcare and pharmaceutical company is the lead sponsor, donating $120,000 and Catalent, which is among the global companies manufacturing vaccines, donated $12,000

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NJ targeting Medicaid members in vaccine push

LILO H. STAINTON, HEALTH CARE WRITER | MAY 5, 2021 

NJ Spotlight News

State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli has pushed for greater access to COVID-19 vaccines for vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.

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State officials have taken proactive steps to support New Jersey’s nearly 1.9 million Medicaid members during the pandemic, including a recent push to expand COVID-19 immunization that involves phone calls to almost 260,000 individuals most at risk for infection.

Much of the work — which also involved mailings in English and Spanish, ongoing case management and partnerships with medical and social service providers to ensure members have proper care, plus food and other necessities — is being done by a handful of health insurance companies that provide Medicaid coverage under contracts with the state Department of Human Services.

While demand for COVID-19 vaccines outpaced supply for months — sparking widespread public frustration over a lack of access to shots — that has shifted recently and daily immunization numbers are now on the decline, raising concerns about the effect of vaccine hesitancy. State officials are actively working to overcome that trend in their campaign to vaccinate 4.7 million adult New Jerseyans by July.

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New York, New Jersey, Connecticut ending most restrictions on May 19

05/03/2021

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority will resume 24-hour service on May 17 to preempt the lifting of curfews and reopening of businesses and office space. 

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New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are lifting most Covid-19-related restrictions on May 19, signaling a denouement for some of the country’s strictest lockdown orders and social distancing protocols imposed during the pandemic.

The unified approach — announced separately on Monday by the three governors who had previously appeared together (albeit virtually) at Covid-era news conferences — comes on the heels of a public spat between New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. The two Democrats‘ mutual antipathy has deepened as Cuomo faces calls to resign amid two scandals and de Blasio wraps up his second term.

Cuomo unveiled the newest regional strategy during a late-morning news conference in New York City, while New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced a similar timeline during his regular briefing in Trenton. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont had previously announced plans for ending most of his state’s Covid-related restrictions.

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Trump-era rule that would cost N.J. hospitals $100M is delayed

Posted May 03, 2021

The Biden administration temporarily has postponed a new rule that would cost New Jersey hospitals in Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties $100 million in Medicare funding, according to the New Jersey lawmakers who sit on the congressional committees overseeing the federal program.

The one-year delay will give state officials time to overturn the decision by the Trump administration to remove the three counties from the New York-Newark-Jersey City statistical area, according to Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-9th Dist.

The three counties were grouped together in a new regional area that would provide lower Medicare reimbursement rates in a state hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

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