June 19, 2015
Matt Katz of WNYC looks at Governor Christie's delicate relationship with the science and rhetoric of climate change in the wake of Pope Francis' latest call for political action on the issue. The Pope wants governments to enact policies to reduce our collective carbon footprint, but Christie has rolled back environmental regulations, closed the state office on Climate Change, and sought political support from the Koch brothers. As a self-avowed Catholic, how will Christie react to Pope Francis' latest call to action?
PA, NJ VOTERS POLLING HIGH FOR MARIJUANA
Few issues have ever seen the massive level of public backing that marijuana has among Pennsylvania and New Jersey voters. Philly420 says the number of people who support medical marijuana and regulated recreational cannabis is at an all-time high – and getting higher. Unlike Colorado and Washington, however, NJ and PA don't have direct-to-law ballot initiatives. Instead, voters must rely on lawmakers and politicians to enact reform.
LUCCHESE CRIME FAMILY MEMBERS PLEAD GUILTY IN MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR GAMBLING RING
Six members of the Lucchese crime family pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges of first-degree racketeering, and more convictions are pending as part of an investigation dubbed "Operation Heat." The Record says the the family ran an enterprise that ranged from a multibillion-dollar gambling ring to a scheme to run drugs into a major state prison involving a notorious street gang.
AS RACIAL MAKEUP OF NJ SHIFTS, BLACK CAUCUS WANTS TO ENSURE ALL NEEDS ARE MET
Leaders of the state Legislature's black caucus note that there will come a day when New Jersey becomes a "majority-minority" state – where the majority of NJ residents will be ethnic or racial minorities. With that in mind, NJ Spotlight says the black caucus is crafting their agenda to put issues like tax credits for the working poor, education funding, and lead-paint abatement at the top of their list.
ADDICTION DOESN'T END WITH A DOSE OF NARCAN
Drug overdoses have become the leading cause of injury in NJ and 36 other states around the country. NJTV says there were 1,310 deaths in 2014 in New Jersey from opiates and prescription drugs alone. Police deployments of the overdose antidote Narcan has caused a drop in fatalities over the last year, but Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato says Narcan is giving us a false sense of hope.
FREE PRESS' NEW JERSEY PROJECT AIMS TO CONNECT NEWSROOMS AND COMMUNITIES
Most approaches to "the future of journalism" tend to focus on saving newspapers, adopting new technologies for reporting, or finding a sustainable business model to preserve the news we grew up with. As important as they are, those types of approaches can sometimes overlook journalism's purpose: the people it serves. That's why Free Press is launching News Voices – a way to connect newsrooms and communities.
TRANSPARENCY BILLS TO GO BEFORE STATE SENATE
The NJ Society for Professional Journalists, the NJ Press Association, the ACLU of NJ, the Foundation for Open Government, and other organizations are calling on voters to support two bills that will go before the NJ Senate on Tuesday, June 23. The two bipartisan bills would strengthen the state's Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) by closing loopholes and addressing the realities of modern technology.
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