Gov. Murphy & Sen. Weinberg: New Jersey must ensure reproductive freedom for all | Opinion

By Phil Murphy and Loretta Weinberg

Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg say that as Trump’s Supreme Court abandons its responsibility, leadership in our states has never mattered more. 
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This week, women in New Jersey and across our nation faced what had once seemed like an unlikely threat — their constitutional right to reproductive health care endangered by the United States Supreme Court.

With the Supreme Court’s decision not to block the nation’s most restrictive anti-abortion law in Texas, millions of women in the Lone Star State have lost the right to reproductive care. The court will hear Mississippi’s case this October and, based on their actions this week, it is clear that women across the nation are at risk of losing their right to safe, legal abortions and reproductive care. This imperils their right to keep lifesaving medical care decisions between them and their doctor.

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Newark Teachers Union to Offer Uniform Vouchers to Local Families

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Ida’s damage shows climate-change disparity

TOM JOHNSON, ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT WRITER | SEPTEMBER 9, 2021

NJ Spotlight News

Sept. 2, 2021: Residents of the Oakwood Plaza Apartments complex in Elizabeth wait for information on their apartments after flooding in Tropical Storm Ida.

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The remnants of Hurricane Ida left destruction throughout New Jersey, including in some of its most densely populated urban areas, killing more than two dozen people.

In Elizabeth in Union County, five people died, four in one flooded basement apartment. In Newark, where Ida was the wettest storm on record with more than 8 inches of rainfall in a single day, more than 400 people had to be rescued. Jersey City suffered more than $35 million worth of damage to its infrastructure.

Surprisingly, neither Union County nor Essex and Hudson counties were among the six counties designated as major disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a lapse that angered local officials, community activists and Gov. Phil Murphy, who vowed to press the federal agency to widen areas covered by the designation.

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In the flooded New Jersey town that Biden visited, residents feel forgotten.

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Sept. 7, 2021

Emergency crews in Manville, N.J., on Friday worked to put out a fire in a banquet hall that was devastated by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.Credit...

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MANVILLE, N.J. — In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, it is hard to find a single neighborhood — or even a street — in the small central New Jersey town of Manville that was not severely affected by flooding.

The working-class town of about 10,000 residents has seen many hardships.

Manville was named after the company Johns Manville, which manufactured asbestos there. Town residents found white flakes of asbestos floating in their pools, thinking nothing of it until the material was later found to cause cancer.

Another part of town was later designated a federal Superfund site, needing major environmental cleanup because a wood treatment facility had used creosote, a toxic substance dumped into two sludge lagoons. Manville families ice-skated on the frozen lagoons in winter, not knowing that the toxins had contaminated the ground and drinking water.

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NJ’s unvaccinated are six times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19

LILO H. STAINTON, HEALTH CARE WRITER | SEPTEMBER 8, 2021

NJ Spotlight News

Visitors peer into the room of a COVID-19 patient in an intensive care unit.

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Among New Jerseyans immunized against the coronavirus, COVID-19-related hospitalizations have remained rare, but the larger risks to unvaccinated individuals became clear Tuesday with the release of new hospital data.

Unvaccinated people are nearly six times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than those who have received their full complement of shots, according to an analysis of acute care data from late August by the New Jersey Hospital Association. Nearly three out of four COVID-19 patients treated during those two weeks were not inoculated against the virus, the association found.

“The data confirms once again: Vaccination is the strongest weapon we have to protect against serious COVID illness and hospitalization,” NJHA president and CEO Cathy Bennett said in a statement that accompanied the findings. More than 5.6 million New Jerseyans have been immunized against the disease, but some communities remain under-protected, and the number of new COVID-19 diagnoses has been ticking up since early July.

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Ciattarelli’s Twin Quagmires:1) His ‘Seven Words’ on COVID; and 2) the Supreme Court Non-Decision on Abortion

By Alan Steinberg | September 6, 2021

Insider NJ

Labor Day is the typical campaign kick-off day for New Jersey gubernatorial candidates.  At this campaign milestone, the recent Monmouth Poll shows Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli trailing incumbent Democratic Governor Phil Murphy by 16 points.

Against a popular governor like Phil Murphy, such a margin is basically prohibitive.  Yet on top of this, Jack Ciattarelli is sinking in two quagmires, either of which dooms his campaign, unless he can miraculously escape both.

The quagmires are 1) Ciattarelli’s use of the seven words, “Children are not vulnerable to this virus”, hereinafter referred to as the “seven words;” and 2) the US Supreme Court non-decision on the Texas abortion statute, which vitiated Roe v. Wade and leaves a woman’s right to abortion choice unprotected in New Jersey.

The inability of Ciattarelli to emerge from either quagmire has the same basic cause.  Ciattarelli is running a campaign of abject fealty to Trump and Trumpism.

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New York and New Jersey Residents to Receive Federal Aid After Storm

At least 40 people in New York and New Jersey have died as a result of the torrential rains and flooding caused by Hurricane Ida. Credit...
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The governors of New York and New Jersey announced on Monday that they had been granted federal aid money from the Biden administration, which declared areas in both states major disaster zones following the torrential rains and catastrophic flooding last week from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

The funding, which will come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, means those who have been displaced from their homes by the storm in the approved counties, including people who do not have insurance coverage, will be eligible for money to repair their homes. It will also cover legal services, unemployment assistance and crisis counseling, both states said.

The news comes as President Biden is set to visit the area on Tuesday to survey the damage from the storm that has left more than 40 dead, and has accounted for millions of dollars of damage across New York and New Jersey.

Mr. Biden will visit Manville, in north-central New Jersey, where a banquet hall and several homes exploded as a result of storm damage, and the borough of Queens, in New York City, where several people drowned inside their basement apartments.

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Does NJ deserve its high-tax reputation?

JOHN REITMEYER, BUDGET/FINANCE WRITER | SEPTEMBER 7, 2021 

NJ Spotlight News

New Jersey is notorious for levying high taxes, and the state may never be known as a tax haven.

But a plethora of recent policy revisions are easing the tax impact on at least some groups, including seniors, parents and low-wage workers who have all been the focus of the state’s latest affordability initiatives.

For example, within just the past few years, the state has increased funding for several direct property-tax relief programs, widened exclusions for retirement income for seniors and expanded the pool of residents who can qualify for New Jersey’s earned income-tax credit.

And just within the past few months, tax incentives for college savings have been established and thousands of New Jersey parents have also been sent income-tax rebate checks worth as much as $500.

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Murphy stands by Oct. 18 deadline for N.J. school employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing

Published: Sep. 05, 2021

Gov. Phil Murphy insisted his administration is doing everything to protect students and teachers despite being questioned Sunday morning about his decision not to require proof of vaccination status or mandatory testing of teachers until later next month while children across the state have already returned to classrooms.

The governor responded to an editorial from The Star-Ledger while speaking on “Face the Nation” that argued Murphy shouldn’t wait until his imposed deadline of Oct. 18 for the mandate.

“Well, I would just respond to say that we are. Period,” Murphy said in response to being asked, “Why not use every weapon you have at your disposal now?”

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$5,000 grants proposed for small businesses affected by Ida

By David WildsteinSeptember 03 2021

New Jersey Globe

Millburn experienced severe flooding during Tropical Storm Ida in September 2021.

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The state will provide grants of up to $5,000 for small businesses impacted by Tropical Storm Ida as part of a program that will include immediate rent and mortgage reimbursement for businesses and non-profits that suffered physical damage over the last three days.

“As with any emergency situation, our top priority is the health and safety of New Jerseyans, and we extend our deepest condolences to those families experiencing the loss or grave injury of a loved one,” said Gov. Phil Murphy.  “Now that the skies have cleared, we are eager to get to work on helping those who are waking up to harsh economic realities reclaim their livelihoods and mitigate Ida’s financial impacts to their businesses and the hardworking people they employ.”

Murphy made the announcement in Millburn on Friday morning after touring a heavily flooded downtown area.

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