Large Newark venues like Prudential Center, NJPAC should make vaccines mandatory for patrons, mayor says

Posted May 21, 2021

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka signed an executive order Thursday that requested large indoor and outdoor venues like the Prudential Center and New Jersey Performing Arts Center to require coronavirus vaccinations for patrons.

There was no information in the executive order that outlined how venues should set up or enforce those policies. Officials at the Prudential Center did not immediately respond to request for comment Friday and a New Jersey Performing Arts Center official declined to comment.

“Large indoor and outdoor venues such as NJPAC and the Prudential Arena are requested to implement a mandatory vaccine policy prior to any patron entering the building,” the executive order read.

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New Jersey moves a step closer to banning contracts with ICE

05/20/2021

Politico

Protesters prepare to be arrested outside of the Elizabeth Detention Center during a rally attended by immigrant residents and activists on Feb. 23, 2017 in Elizabeth, N.J.

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TRENTON — The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee advanced legislation Thursday that would prohibit immigration detention agreements with the federal government, bringing the state a step closer to ending Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s foothold in New Jersey.

What it does: The bill, NJ S3361 (20R), would prohibit private, state and local entities from entering, renewing or extending such agreements and contracts. There are four facilities in the state that hold immigrant detainees, though all have tried in recent weeks to wind down those detentions in some capacity. The four sites have drawn intense scrutiny from progressive Democrats in recent years.

The bill cleared the Senate committee in a 4-2 party-line vote.

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Plan by Murphy, top Dems to end N.J.’s COVID health emergency is suddenly in trouble

Posted May 20, 2021

A much-debated plan that would end New Jersey’s public health emergency over COVID-19 but allow Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration to retain a number of powers to keep battling the pandemic through the end of this year has hit a sudden road block.

State Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin abruptly announced he canceled a planned vote on the measure Thursday so lawmakers could “refine” the proposal to make it “the fairest and most responsible bill possible.”

“I am committed to ending the public health emergency,” Coughlin, D-Middlesex, said in a statement. “This is extremely important legislation that we must get right.”

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Murphy administration picks up speed getting electric trucks on the road

TOM JOHNSON, ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT WRITER | MAY 21, 2021 

NJ Spotlight News

A heavy-duty electric truck that might be coming to Newark and Camden thanks to new EDA program

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The Murphy administration’s push  to transition medium- and heavy-duty trucks to zero-emission vehicles, a proposal crucial to achieving its ambitious goal to reduce climate-warming pollution, won strong support Thursday from clean-energy advocates — and surprisingly, little opposition from critics.

The state Department of Environmental Protection’s proposal aims to shift thousands of trucks — from delivery vans to long-haul tractor trailers — away from using fossil fuels to electric power, a policy that could put a huge dent in the amount of global-warming pollution contributed by the transportation sector.

If successful, the proposed rule could also lead to significant improvements in air quality for the dozens of communities of color already suffering from unequal pollution burdens, not only from traffic from diesel-belching trucks, but also from power plants and garbage incinerators. Environmental justice advocates also called for mandatory emissions reductions from those sources.

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NJ's Latest Incentives to Get People Vaccinated Include Free Wine, Free State Parks Entry

TRENTON, NJ — New Jersey is now offering more incentives for unvaccinated people to get their shots, including free wine, free access to state beaches, and a chance to dine with the governor and first lady of the state.

During his press briefing held at Island Beach State Park, Gov. Phil Murphy announced several new vaccination incentives as part of “Operation Jersey Summer,” the statewide public awareness campaign aimed at vaccinating all eligible individuals who live, work, or study in New Jersey against COVID-19. 

  • Beginning May 27 through July 4, the New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection will offer a State Parks Vax Pass – allowing free access to state parks, including Island Beach State Park – good through Dec. 31, 2021.
  • Beginning May 19, individuals age 18+ who receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in New Jersey can enter to win dinner along with a guest with the governor and his wife, Tammy, at Drumthwacket, the Official Residence of the Governor of New Jersey in Princeton, or at the Governor's Residence at Island Beach State Park. Entries must be submitted by May 31. To enter, visit covid19.nj.gov.
  • Any New Jerseyan (age 21+) who gets their first COVID-19 vaccine dose in the month of May and takes their vaccination card to a participating New Jersey winery will receive a free glass of wine.
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NJ moves to end health emergency but keep many of Murphy’s powers

LILO H. STAINTONJOHN REITMEYER | MAY 18, 2021

NJ Spotlight News

 

New Jersey’s public health emergency order will expire, but Gov. Phil Murphy will still retain many of the broad powers he used to control the COVID-19 pandemic, under a bill cleared Tuesday by a key Assembly committee.

Tuesday’s formal introduction of that bill and the first votes on the COVID-19 emergency legislation came just days after Murphy issued an executive order that extended an ongoing public health emergency for another 30 days.

Murphy took that step after announcing earlier this month that he is feeling confident enough in the state’s ongoing pandemic recovery to ease many health and economic restrictions across the state beginning Wednesday.

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Newark Historic District Designated as Endangered

By Insider NJ | May 18, 2021

Newark Landmarks extends its profound thanks to Preservation New Jersey for including the James Street Commons on its 2021 most endangered list.

More than 40 years after being listed on the national and state registers of historic places, the James Street Commons, Newark’s first duly designated historic district, sits imperiled today at a critical juncture in the city’s social, cultural and economic development.

Hopefully, the listing will bring the enormous and senseless destruction inflicted by the wrecking ball over the decades to the attention of residents and the preservationist community throughout the state.

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N.J. should act to protect abortion rights with Supreme Court case looming, advocates say

Posted May 17, 2021

Female lawmakers and pro-choice advocates in New Jersey have warned that abortion rights are under threat since the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg eight months ago and the appointment of conservative jurist Amy Coney Barrett to replace her.

On Monday, those concerns intensified after the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would review Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The case strikes at the heart of Roe V. Wade, the landmark case that established a woman’s right to an abortion in 1973 and is the first abortion case for the nation’s highest court since former President Trump appointed three conservative justices.

Moments after the announcement, activists and a vocal group of Democratic lawmakers renewed their calls for the state Legislature to approve the Reproductive Freedom Act, introduced last year, that would enshrine the right to abortion and other reproductive health care for women under New Jersey law.

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On masks, New Jersey’s Murphy goes it alone

 05/17/2021 

Politico

Phil Murphy at a coronavirus briefing 

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TRENTON — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is refusing to lift his indoor mask mandate for vaccinated residents, putting the Democrat at odds with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and creating a fresh opening for Republicans looking to knock him off his perch as he campaigns for reelection.

With the state’s infection rate plummeting and Covid-19 hospitalizations a small fraction of where they stood last spring, New Jersey will soon be one of the only states — and alone among its neighbors in the Northeast — to require face coverings at restaurants, retailers and indoor venues.

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Isolated over a year, reunions now allowed in long-term care

LILO H. STAINTON, HEALTH CARE WRITER | MAY 17, 2021

NJ Spotlight News

After more than a year in lockdown, a daughter embraces her 86-year-old mother in a nursing home in Canton, Mass. When new CDC guidance goes into effect in New Jersey, visits like this will be possible.

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After 14 months in various stages of lockdown, residents at long-term care facilities in New Jersey can once again hug their friends and relatives who come to visit. They can even remove their masks if everyone involved is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Elder advocates and long-term care leaders welcomed the policy change, included in guidelines released last week by the New Jersey Department of Health that also addressed coronavirus testing and visitor-screening protocols. Until then, residents were required to wear masks and maintain distance and, except in rare exceptions, family visits were highly restricted indoors — regardless of immunization status.

Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities were hit hard by COVID-19, which spread rapidly in the close-quartered communities and wreaked havoc on the frail, elderly residents. But as immunizations continue to rise and infection rates fall, families and advocates have pushed facilities to return to a more normal routine with social activities and visitation.

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