Officer Down: Deputy Sheriff Robert K. Kunze, III, of Sedgwick County, Kansas
OFFICER DOWN: Police Officer Oscar Reyes Costa Mesa Police Department, California

STATE COULD SAVE $500M ON EMPLOYEE HEALTH CARE  

Changes to government-employee health plans will save taxpayers nearly $500 million while raising premiums slightly for public employees, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday, according to NJ Spotlight. The governor and union leaders reached an agreement for the changes in health coverage for about 800,000 public workers and retired employees starting in 2019. The changes will affect teachers and municipal, county, and state workers. Some of the savings will come from moving retired workers to Medicare Advantage plans.

BIDS SOUGHT FOR OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY PROJECTS

The state Board of Public Utilities will be accepting bids for offshore wind energy projects beginning Thursday, the Press of Atlantic city writes. The deadline for applications to be submitted is Dec. 28. Companies will be competing for ratepayer subsidies for construction costs and 20 years of operating expenses for 1,100 megawatts of electric generation capacity. 

MURPHY REPLACING OCEAN COUNTY PROSECUTOR

Gov. Phil Murphy has nominated Bradley Billhimer, a veteran criminal defense attorney and a Democrat, to be Ocean County prosecutor, the Asbury Park Press reports. The current county prosecutor, Joseph Coronato, has been serving as a holdover since his five-year term expired in March. He has submitted his resignation, effective Oct. 8.

NJ MAY BAN SMOKING ON BOARDWALKS, CEMETERIES

Legislation has been introduced in the state Senate and the Assembly to extend smoking bans to boardwalks and other outdoor public places, NJ.com writes. If the bill becomes law, smoking would be prohibited at boardwalks, amusement parks, cemeteries, racetracks, sporting facilities, recreational areas, marinas, historic sites and natural areas. 

MAHWAH AND NJ SETTLE DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT

Mahwah has agreed to repeal an ordinance that has been called discriminatory against Orthodox Jews to settle a lawsuit filed by the state Attorney General's Office last October, The Record reports. Mahwah had already repealed an ordinance that prohibited out-of-state residents from using its parks and has agreed that the repeal will remain in effect. The township also agreed not to adopt an ordinance that would have expanded a ban to prohibit the posting of signs on utility poles to include lechis, or plastic pipe, to mark the borders of an Orthodox Jewish religious border called an eruv.

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