Newark police change rules to allow Muslim officers to wear hijabs on duty

Posted Apr 29, 2021

Female Muslim police officers will no longer be barred from wearing a hijab as part of their uniform, Newark officials announced Thursday.

“To be able to recognize people’s religion, how they practice it, and allow them to do that safely and appropriately on their work site, speaks volumes to where we’re going as a department,” Mayor Ras Baraka told reporters at a press conference announcing the policy change.

A hijab or headscarf is a traditional head covering worn by Muslim women as a sign of modesty.

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Biden wants universal preschool. NJ will be a test on how to get it done

JOHN MOONEY, EDUCATION WRITER | APRIL 30, 2021

NJ Spotlight News

April 28, 2021: President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

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For all of New Jersey’s gains in building a nationally recognized preschool program over the past two decades, the reality is it is still serving only about a third of eligible children, if that.

Now President Joe Biden has expanded the possibilities, in announcing in his address to Congress this week his American Families Plan, which would invest an additional $200 billion in federal funds to bring universal preschool to every state.

Early childhood advocates in New Jersey welcomed the announcement, saying the funds and focus could make a significant difference. One recent estimate from the National Institute for Early Education Research said a truly universal program for all 3- and 4-year olds would cost an additional $1.7 billion.

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Singh’s Choice Threatens the Viability of the Republican Party

By Fred Snowflack | April 29, 2021

Insider NJ

 

Hirsh Singh in a column appearing Wednesday refers to a civil war within the Republican Party around the June 8 primary where Singh is challenging Jack Ciattarelli.

Broadly speaking, this is something we’ve seen before in GOP gubernatorial primaries – an establishment figure being challenged from the right.

And as Singh mentioned, this does give voters a “clear choice.”

But it’s a choice that can threaten the continued viability of the Republican Party in New Jersey.

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Biden embraces his inner Robin Hood

President Joe Biden wants to soak the rich to give to the middle class and poor. And he ain't afraid to say so.

In his first address before a joint session of Congress, the president embraced a tax-and-spend mantra to frame his next big legislative fight, walking right up to a third rail that has terrified Democrats for decades and forced his predecessors to triangulate and retreat to safer middle ground.

“I’m not out to punish anyone. But I will not add to the tax burden of the middle class of this country,” Biden said Wednesday, urging billionaires and millionaires to “pay their fair share.” “When you hear someone say that they don’t want to raise taxes on the wealthiest 1 percent and on corporate America, ask them: Whose taxes are you going to raise instead, and whose are you going to cut?”

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Essex is ending controversial contract with ICE to hold immigration detainees in county jail

Essex County officials said Wednesday they will terminate a contract to house detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the county jail, ending a long-standing arrangement that has led to mounting protests in recent years.

The move comes just days after Essex entered into an agreement to house Union County inmates at the Essex County Correctional Facility.

“We have had a very solid working relationship with ICE during the last 13 years. It has always been in the best interest of the detainees to remain close to their family, friends, attorneys and community organizations helping them in a facility that was safe and secure,” said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo in a statement. But he said there was not enough space at the facility on Doremus Avenue in Newark to house both the ICE detainees and the additional inmates from Union.

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Booker makes final pitch for expanded child tax credit in Biden’s latest spending proposal

Posted Apr 27, 2021

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker left a White House meeting earlier this month with a promise from President Joe Biden to make permanent two poverty-fighting tax credits included in the original $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus law.

Booker joined other congressional Democrats Tuesday in pushing Biden to fulfill his commitment.

“Our levels of child poverty are a moral obscenity,” Booker said on a Zoom press conference. “This is a transformative change. Tragically, we have not yet made it permanent. We must seize this moment.”

“This will be one of the most significant things any Congress has done in the history of the United States.”

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Lower demand for COVID-19 vaccinations: How NJ is preparing to counter that

LILO H. STAINTON, HEALTH CARE WRITER | APRIL 28, 2021

NJ Spotlight News

Sign at COVID-19 vaccination site

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The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered every day in New Jersey has declined sharply over recent weeks, but state officials said they have a plan to counter the drop and still reach their goal of immunizing 4.7 million people by July.

That plan — parts of which will be rolled out later this week — is likely to include additional public service announcements, more partnerships with churches and other community organizations. Some elements may also feature a fresh focus on specific populations, like students and staff on college campuses, according to state officials. The state Department of Health is also taking steps to ensure people who opted for the common two-shot vaccines get both of the doses needed for maximum protection, they said.

When discussing the recent drop in daily immunizations, Gov. Phil Murphy downplayed the impact of vaccine hesitancy — something officials had feared would be more apparent — instead attributing the decline to warm weather, positive trends in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and a possible sense of invincibility among those who haven’t been sick.

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EPA moves to scrap Trump rule preventing N.J. from requiring cars to get better gas mileage

Posted Apr 26, 2021

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency moved Monday to allow New Jersey to require cars to get better gasoline mileage than the federal government requires.

The new rule — as well as one announced last Thursday by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration — would undo former President Donald Trump’s efforts to weaken standards for fuel economy and automobile emissions, which a consumer advocacy group estimated would cost car owners more than $2,100 over the life of a new vehicle.

It allows California to keep its tough standard as well as other states and the states that follow its lead — including New Jersey.

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State Supreme Court to Decide on Challenge of Newark Charter Schools Expansion

North Star Academy
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NEWARK, NJ -- Oral arguments in the most significant New Jersey charter school case in 20 years were heard in state Supreme Court on Monday, and a decision by the justices could change the landscape for charter schools for decades to come.

At issue is whether the Commissioner of the Department of Education erred in granting expansions to seven Newark charter schools many years ago. In a 2016 lawsuit, the Education Law Center alleged that the Commissioner did not properly consider segregative or financial impact on the Newark Public Schools district in granting the expansions. 

After an appellate court upheld the expansion in 2019, the state Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of that decision. 

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N.J. to increase outdoor gathering limit to 500 people. Outdoor sports, entertainment venues boosted to 50% capacity.

Posted Apr. 26. 2021

The size limit on outdoor gatherings in New Jersey will increase from 200 to 500 people in two weeks, while the capacity limits for large outdoor sports and entertainment venues in the state will rise to 50%, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday as he revealed a series new steps to ease coronavirus restrictions.

Murphy also hinted these changes — to take effect May 10 — could be the first in a number of reopening announcements he’ll make in the coming weeks if the state’s COVID-19 numbers continue to improve and as more residents get vaccinated.

The bump in the outdoor gathering limit will allow for larger graduation ceremonies for colleges and high schools.

Murphy also announced indoor catered events in the state — such as weddings and proms — will be able operate at 50% capacity, with a maximum of 250 people, on May 10.https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2021/04/njs-to-increase-outdoor-gathering-limit-to-500-people-outdoor-sports-entertainment-venues-boosted-to-50-capacity.htmlhttps://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2021/04/njs-to-increase-outdoor-gathering-limit-to-500-people-outdoor-sports-entertainment-venues-boosted-to-50-capacity.html

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