Gov + Legislature

Bill would OK civil forfeiture funds for minority recruitment, training

BY: - March 14, 2022

A bill now before the New Jersey Legislature would allow law enforcement agencies to spend civil forfeiture funds on diversity training for officers, minority recruitment, and community outreach. The legislation has raised eyebrows among criminal justice reformers, who have long lambasted civil forfeiture as a problematic police practice that disproportionately impacts low-income communities of color. “These are […]

Lawmakers spar with labor commissioner over unemployment problems

BY: - March 11, 2022

State senators grilled Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo during a contentious three-hour hearing Thursday, criticizing him over the state’s handling of the unemployment crisis at the height of the pandemic and questioning him about why they still hear from residents who say they haven’t received benefits they should have received long ago.  Senators relayed heartbreaking stories […]

Bill would waive graduation testing requirement in 2023

BY: - March 11, 2022

An Assembly committee unanimously advanced a bill Thursday that would waive a requirement that 11th graders pass a new test in order to graduate, citing fears that two years of disruptions at school have left students unprepared for the exam. Lawmakers, led by Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex), had initially sought to lower the passing score […]

Murphy’s budget plan adds millions in K-12 school aid, expands free preschool

BY: - March 10, 2022

New Jersey schools would get an extra $650 million in state funding and millions more to expand free preschool under the $48.9 billion budget proposal Gov. Phil Murphy announced this week. Murphy’s plan would boost K-12 funding to almost $19.2 billion. The governor detailed his school spending plan during a visit Thursday to James Monroe […]

Another 852 inmates to get early pandemic release Sunday

BY: - March 10, 2022

The state will release another 852 inmates Sunday as part of a pandemic-era program to limit the spread of COVID-19 behind bars, the Department of Corrections announced Thursday, bringing the total number of people released under the program to more than 6,000. The releases are allowed under a law Gov. Phil Murphy signed in 2020. […]

Murphy budget proposal boosts criminal justice spending

BY: - March 9, 2022

New Jersey’s correctional officers would get fatter paychecks, prisoner re-entry programs would get millions more in funding, and corrections oversight would be beefed up under the $48.9 billion budget proposal Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday. The plan, which Murphy detailed during an hourlong address in the Statehouse in Trenton, hints at the governor’s criminal justice priorities […]

Murphy proposes $60M ‘fee holiday’ for state parks, marriage and driver’s licenses

BY: - March 8, 2022

If you’re one of those people whose eyes glaze over when talk turns to taxes and things like debt defeasance, Gov. Phil Murphy has one word for you: freebies. One of Murphy’s budget recommendations is a year’s worth of fee waivers for a hodgepodge of items, an idea mocked as a gimmick by the governor’s […]

Expanded rebate programs, no new taxes headline Murphy’s $49B budget proposal

BY: and - March 8, 2022

Gov. Phil Murphy proposed the state spend $48.9 billion in the first budget address of his second term Tuesday, eschewing tax hikes for the second consecutive year amid surging revenues and billions in unspent federal aid. “This budget is rooted in a renewed commitment to moving our state forward, creating opportunity for every family, and […]

Murphy to announce health care for undocumented children in budget address

BY: - March 8, 2022

Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to announce an $11 million plan to provide health care for thousands of undocumented children in his budget address Tuesday afternoon, the New Jersey Monitor has learned.  The initiative would be an expansion of his “cover all kids” pledge, which he made in his budget speech last year. More than […]

N.J. workers would see higher family leave, disability payments under bill

BY: - March 8, 2022

Less than three years after the enactment of reforms that expanded New Jersey’s temporary disability and family leave programs, lawmakers are looking to tweak some numbers. The Senate Labor Committee on Monday approved a bill that would raise the weekly payment cap for individuals on such leave from 70% of the state’s average weekly salary […]

N.J.’s top court delivers transparency win in records fight over jail guard’s retirement

BY: - March 7, 2022

The New Jersey Supreme Court has ordered Cumberland County to publicly release a settlement agreement that allowed a correctional officer to retire in good standing, despite his admission he had “inappropriate relationships” with two inmates and brought contraband into the county jail. Monday’s ruling will protect public access to all settlement agreements involving public agencies, advocates […]

School mask mandate ends in N.J. as debate over masking continues

BY: and - March 7, 2022

Monday morning marked the first time in two years Heather Schwarz walked into a Hazlet school building without her mask on. Schwarz, curriculum director for the 2,800-student district, told the New Jersey Monitor she thinks — after nearly two years of forced masking — everyone is ready to decide on their own whether to mask […]