New Jersey

State officials say New Jersey Transit will restore continuous service to midtown Manhattan on a popular rail line, thanks to an increased number of qualified engineers and strides in installing positive train control, a federally-mandated automatic braking system.

At a Monday press conference, Gov. Phil Murphy said the so-called one-seat rides would resume during off-peak hours on the Raritan Valley Line on November 4.

If you type “Andrew Kortyna” into Google, the top results reveal he was fired from a tenured professorship in Pennsylvania after he retaliated against two female students who accused him of sexual harassment.

But officials at Stockton University say they weren’t aware of that part of Kortyna’s record when they hired him in August to a $64,000-a-year post as a visiting assistant professor of physics.

Students say they raised concerns with administrators about the professor the day before the university’s board formally approved his hiring on Sept. 18.

New Jersey has announced an ambitious plan to replace all of its aging lead-lined water pipes in the next ten years.

The state also wants to help residents rid their homes of lead-based paint, which is the leading cause of lead poisoning.

“It’s a problem that’s been handed to us by years — and in some cases, by generations — of inaction. Well, this is our time for action,” said Gov. Phil Murphy during a Thursday press conference.

It may come as a surprise to some Garden Staters that there is an election this year.

In the General Assembly, all 80 seats are up for grabs, and there is one special state Senate election in South Jersey on Nov. 5.

New Jersey is one of just five states that hold elections for statewide office in odd-numbered years. To understand why you have to go back to 1947.

In that year, John Kolesar was just starting out as an undergraduate at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. One day, he went to pick up some books at the gym and noticed something across the room.

The New Jersey Supreme Court is deciding whether to take a closer look at a methodology long used by police officers to charge people with driving under the influence of drugs.

Law enforcement officials say the protocol is crucial to securing drugged driving convictions since toxicology tests for drugs are unreliable. But defense attorneys and civil rights advocates argue the method is not based on science and should be banned as expert testimony in court.

New Jersey will begin borrowing $100 million to pay for lead remediation projects in schools across the state and require educational facilities to test for lead contamination more often.

The efforts are Gov. Phil Murphy’s latest attempts to deal with growing public concern about lead contamination in homes and schools across the state.

“Lead contamination is not a Newark problem or an urban problem,” Murphy said at a Monday press conference in Bergenfield. “It’s a problem that has been building in communities up and down our state and, indeed, across the country.”

A pair of New Jersey lawmakers are calling on Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration to make $100 million available so schools can update their water system infrastructure.

“In my mind, this is an emergency. It can’t continue to delay,” said state Sen. President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester.

Last year, voters approved a ballot initiative that would allow the state to borrow $500 million for schools, with $100 million meant to be doled out to protect students and faculty from lead contamination in the water.

New Jersey may become the latest state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, as officials look for ways to curb youth vaping and combat the national outbreak of a mysterious illness related to e-cigarette use.

The ban was one of several recommendations made by a task force Gov. Phil Murphy created three weeks ago to investigate e-cigarette use in the state.

“I want New Jersey to not just react to current events but to use these events to craft thoughtful and solid policies that will protect our residents for years to come,” Murphy said at a press conference Thursday.

Look out, Hollywood. Here comes … New Jersey?

Gov. Phil Murphy wants to attract more big-name directors and production companies to shoot films and TV shows in the Garden State.

To do it, Murphy has called on the legislature to expand the state’s film and TV tax credit, which he said is already paying dividends for residents.

A new poll finds that New Jersey residents support cutting down on single-use plastic bags, but they get squeamish at the idea of a complete ban.

The Monmouth University survey found that about two in three residents said they supported a plastic bag ban, but many backed away from that zeal when presented with specifics about how it would impact their shopping habits.

One of New Jersey’s most recent efforts to combat gun violence is off to a busy start.

Judges have approved requests to use the state’s new “red flag” law more than once a day on average since it took effect on Sept. 1. Under the legislation, law enforcement agencies can confiscate the guns of a person who poses a threat to themselves or others after getting judicial approval.

Such laws are becoming more common across the U.S. as states try out new strategies to prevent future mass shootings and reduce overall gun violence, including suicides.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has put together a 10-member task force charged with making recommendations on how the state can deal with what officials have called the “epidemic” of electronic cigarette use.

The announcement came as the U.S. continues to grapple with a mysterious respiratory illness related to vaping that has sickened at least three people in New Jersey with another 19 cases under investigation by state health officials.

New Jersey lawmakers are weighing a ban on the sale of tobacco products and e-cigarettes in the state’s more than 2,200 pharmacies.

A proposal floated by Democratic legislators would prohibit the sale of cigarettes and vaping products in pharmacies and any retailers that contain pharmacies, including many grocery stores.

“To have medical services and then sell cigarettes is crazy,” said state Sen. Joe Vitale, D-Middlesex, who is chairman of the Senate’s health committee. “I think it’s not in the public interest — certainly not in the public health interest — to do that.”

New Jersey lawmakers want the state’s nearly 300 water utilities to provide more information about water quality and be held accountable for the data they publish.

State legislators conducted a hearing Tuesday amid an ongoing public-health crisis in Newark, where recent tests showed elevated lead levels in the drinking water of two homes.

Sen. Troy Singleton, D-Burlington, said it was crucial that the public has access to information about local water quality.

New Jersey officials are telling firearms manufacturers and dealers to back certain gun safety measures — or risk losing the state as a lucrative customer.

The novel strategy is the latest salvo in Gov. Phil Murphy’s ongoing effort to make the state’s gun control policies even tougher.

At a press conference Tuesday, Murphy said he would use the state’s substantial purchasing power as leverage to nudge private firms into backing policies he said would reduce gun violence.

The gender and racial makeup of New Jersey’s teaching workforce does not resemble the state’s student body, according to a report released Monday.

Researchers at the progressive think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective, which published the report, said the demographic imbalance could have negative effects in the classroom.

New Jersey is eyeing a crackdown on flavored e-cigarettes, which have been associated with a recent string of pulmonary illnesses across the country and are frequently blamed for ensnaring children and young adults into an addictive habit.

During the WBGO's “Ask Governor Murphy” call-in show Wednesday night, a caller asked Gov. Phil Murphy what he thought about Michigan’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes.

“I like that, I have to say. [My] first reaction is it’s something … we should look at,” Murphy said.

Drivers passing through New Jersey could have an easier time identifying nearby wineries under a new law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy.

The Viticulture Trail Sign Program will be an effort to boost the profile of the state’s growing wine industry by constructing more road signs that point motorists to nearby vineyards, many of which are in rural areas.

A handful of New Jersey high schools will push back their school day start times under a new pilot program administered by the state Department of Education.

Proponents of later start times argue that sleep deprivation makes high school students anxious, stressed, and less focused on classwork.

New Jersey prison officials have agreed to transfer a transgender woman from a men’s prison to the state’s only all-female correctional facility, her attorneys said Thursday.

The woman, called by the pseudonym Sonia Doe, alleged in a lawsuit that she was harassed and assaulted for being transgender during the 17 months she spent in four different men’s prisons across the state.

“She’s been subjected to extreme harassment, violence, and discrimination on a daily basis,” said Jeanne LoCicero, legal director for the ACLU of New Jersey and one of Doe’s attorneys.

New Jersey will become the latest state to implement a “red flag” law that allows residents to report family or household members who own a gun and might be a threat to the public or themselves.

More states have been relying on such laws in an attempt to prevent gun deaths by allowing people to tell law enforcement about warning signs of potential violence.

New Jersey lawmakers want to provide state money to Planned Parenthood and other health care providers who have abandoned some of their federal funding.

The organizations gave up the federal money after the Trump administration imposed a new rule on recipients of Title X funding that blocked them from referring women to abortion providers.

Health care organizations including Planned Parenthood said they would rather forego federal funding than withhold medical information from their patients.

The New Jersey Senate passed a bill Monday that aims to clear up some confusion about the state’s new vote-by-mail law and provide funding to implement it in the November general election.

The state Assembly has scheduled a Tuesday vote. A spokesman for Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said he intends to sign the measure if it reaches his desk.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has vetoed a bill that would have allowed cities and towns to install digital parking meters, which use software to alert parking enforcement of offending drivers.

In his veto message, the Democrat said the so-called “smart” parking meters lead to an increase in tickets, putting a further burden on financially-stressed drivers.

People who move to New Jersey from another state are allowed to bring their legally acquired guns with them — even if they hail from a state where firearms laws are less strict.

New residents are also not required to inform the state if they bring in lawfully acquired guns, which means state law enforcement officials may be unaware of countless new residents who have weapons.

Gun control advocates say the quirk in state law is a legal loophole for gun owners from other states who may be barred from buying a firearm in New Jersey.

New Jersey service providers who work with drug users say the state has come a long way in implementing “harm reduction” strategies but that more can be done.

Hundreds of public health workers gathered in Trenton on Wednesday for a harm reduction workshop organized by the Department of Health, as the state continues to battle a growing opioid crisis that contributed to a suspected 3,118 drug overdose deaths in 2018.

New Jersey’s unemployment rate fell to 3.3% in July, the lowest its been since the state began keeping records in 1976.

Public policy experts said it was part of a positive economic trend for the Garden State. “Basically this is a continuation of good economic news for the state,” said James Hughes, a professor at Rutgers-New Brunswick. “There have been some economic headwinds the past several months, but the economy is still moving forward.”

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is among the plaintiffs in a multistate lawsuit against the Trump administration over a new immigration rule that advocates say will drive immigrant communities further underground.

The rule expands the definition of a “public charge” to include immigrants using certain public assistance programs, including Medicaid and food stamps. Immigrants deemed a “public charge” have a more difficult time being granted legal status.

Newark officials have begun handing out bottled water at various locations across the city after tests showed high lead levels in the drinking water.

Tests in two of three Newark homes showed elevated lead levels, even though those homes were using water filters, meant to reduce contamination, that were distributed by the city.

“Access to safe drinking water is critically important to our administrations, and we take health risks associated with lead in drinking water very seriously,” Gov. Phil Murphy and Mayor Ras Baraka said in a joint statement this weekend.

Owners who rent their Garden State homes are breathing easier after Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation that exempts them from having to charge renters costly new taxes.

The so-called “Airbnb tax” levied New Jersey’s sales tax and hotel and motel tax on short-term rentals, totaling nearly 12% per transaction.

Homeowners and vacationers said the move would hurt tourism at the Jersey Shore and cause people to spend less in one of the state’s critical economies.

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