Police need to answer for failure to guard the Statehouse | Editorial

Published: Dec. 12, 2021

Everyone agrees it was unfortunate that the State Police were dropped into the middle of that sloppy Statehouse pie fight last week between two opposing forces, Assembly Republicans and common courtesy.

It was especially regrettable that our troopers’ impotence was exposed by a claque of lawmakers who found it intolerable to pull a piece of cardboard out of their wallets upon request. Oh, the humanity.

But that’s where our sympathy ends, because the cops have yet to answer a critical question about their role during the Trenton Insurrection of ‘21: What in the name of Barney Fife were they thinking?

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Plans to Redevelop Former Newark Bears Stadium Site to Come Before City Planning Board Monday

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NJ Transit wants to spend its federal infrastructure money on these projects

Published: Dec. 10, 2021

New Jersey Transit plans to use federal funds it will receive under President Joe Biden’s infrastructure law to build a new Portal South Bridge, replace the Sawtooth Bridges and improve connections to the Northeast Corridor tracks, its top official told a congressional subcommittee on Thursday.

Kevin Corbett, president and chief executive of the state transit agency and co-chair of the Northeast Corridor Commission, outlined those plans before the House transportation railroads subcommittee at a hearing Thursday. The law would provide $4.1 billion for public transportation in New Jersey.

“NJ Transit will be at the forefront of delivering a number of the projects now being prioritized with investments made possible by this landmark legislation,” Corbett said.

Corbett and the subcommittee chair, Rep. Donald Payne Jr., also said that the $1 trillion infrastructure law would unlock federal funding for the 111-year-old Gateway Tunnel under the Hudson River. The project would allow the existing tunnel to be closed to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

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Legislature takes first step toward writing same sex marriage into New Jersey law

 Politico

12/09/2021

New Jersey lawmakers are working to write same sex marriage into state law. 

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Eight years after it became legal by court order, New Jersey may soon write same sex marriage into state law.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted, 4-0, to advance legislation, NJ A5367 (20R), that says, “laws concerning marriage and civil union shall be read with gender neutral intent.”

"The statutes of our state have never caught up to the court decisions ... which no longer treated same-sex couples as second class citizens. So it’s important that we take this step and ensure that our law enshrines these rights," said Assemblymember Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson), the committee chair.

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N.J. reports 4,532 COVID cases, 11 deaths. Hospitalizations, transmission rate continue to climb.

Published: Dec. 09, 2021

New Jersey on Thursday reported another 4,532 COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths as the number of people being hospitalized and the statewide transmission continue a steady post-Thanksgiving surge.

The 4,532 confirmed positive tests is the highest single-day total since April 1.

The seven-day average for confirmed positive tests increased to 3,402, up 55% from a week ago and more than triple the average from a month ago. That’s also the highest average since April 8. By comparison, however, the seven-day average was 5,151 on Dec. 9, 2020, when vaccinations were not yet available.

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5 Restaurants Join Newark Working Kitchens Initiative to Serve Meals to City's Most Vulnerable Residents

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Who decides how NJ’s federal pandemic-relief funding is spent?

JOHN REITMEYER, BUDGET/FINANCE WRITER | DECEMBER 9, 2021

NJ Spotlight News

A rendering of the New Jersey Wind Port in Salem County

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Lawmakers’ speedy approval last week of nearly $700 million in spending outside the annual budget process has rekindled concerns about how some appropriations are making it to the finish line in Trenton and others aren’t.

The new questions about what policies, if any, are in place to govern the spending of the billions in federal funds provided to New Jersey in response to the coronavirus pandemic comes as the state is still dealing with the health crisis, which has killed thousands of residents, upset the state economy and put a heavy strain on some key state agencies.

Meanwhile, similar questions are being raised about the handling of more than $1 billion in an account lawmakers created earlier this year to fund major capital projects after New Jersey enjoyed an enormous tax-revenue windfall during the pandemic.

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Stage set for another showdown over COVID rules as Assembly plans Monday return to N.J. Statehouse

Published: Dec. 08, 2021

New Jersey’s state Assembly leadership plans to hold in-person committee hearings Monday after ordering a week of virtual meetings because a handful of Republican lawmakers refused to comply with new COVID-19 rules on entering the Statehouse, NJ Advance Media has learned.

The decision to return to the Statehouse at the start of the week was made after a regular leadership meeting between Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, and top Democrats in the lower chamber Wednesday afternoon, according to a source with knowledge of the event who was not authorized to speak publicly.

It all but ensures another showdown between State Police and a handful of Republicans who last week defied the new rules since several of them serve on the half-dozen Assembly committee hearings slated for Monday.

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$70M Investment Planned for Two Historic Downtown Newark Buildings Through Partnership

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Redistricting that reflects NJ’s racial and ethnic makeup

COLLEEN O'DEA, SENIOR WRITER AND PROJECTS EDITOR | DECEMBER 8, 2021 

NJ Spotlight News

Map of Trenton from 1905.

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A coalition comprising New Jersey’s racial, ethnic and social justice organizations is the first to publicly propose a new map of congressional districts, one they say gives the state’s growing racial and ethnic groups greater power and recognizes other communities with common interests, including Jersey Shore towns and college students.

But it is unclear whether the map that seeks to make half of the state’s dozen districts majority-minority districts will receive serious consideration from the New Jersey Redistricting Commission. (A majority-minority district is one where a majority of residents are members of a single racial or ethnic minority or a combination of non-white groups.)

The commission is tasked with redrawing the boundaries of the state’s 12 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives to reflect population shifts over the past decade. According to the 2020 U.S. Census count, New Jersey’s population rose by 5.7% to nearly 9.3 million over the past decade, with most of that in urban areas and in and around Lakewood in Ocean County. Typically, the commission’s six Democratic members and six Republican members each propose a map that favors their party and the 13 member chooses one map or the other.

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