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NJ Legislature Passes Landmark Environmental Justice Bill To Protect Minority Communities

It will be harder to build or expand projects that produce a heavy amount of pollution in low-income and minority communities in New Jersey under a landmark environmental justice bill passed by the state Legislature on Thursday.

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Communities Would Get Power To Block Polluters

Gov. Phil Murphy now has final say on bill sought by environmental-justice advocates for decades

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Election 2020: Making Sure Your Vote Will Count

State officials move forward with plans for an election that’s mostly vote by mail, even as GOP challenge is still pending in federal court

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Vote-by-mail: NJ Lawmakers Push Raft Of Measures To Make It Easier — And Make Sure Votes Count

A New Jersey Senate committee on Thursday approved seven measures designed to improve the ability of people to vote — and ensure their votes count — during this year’s presidential election amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Discussion during the two-hour hearing by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee amplified the complexities of conducting a mostly vote-by-mail election in a state with 6.2 million registered voters who have only begun to embrace mail-in balloting in substantial numbers in recent years.

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Mortgage Refinancing Is About To Get More Expensive

All year, homeowners have been knocking down mortgage lenders’ doors looking to refinance their loans to take advantage of record-low interest rates. But refinancing is about to cost more.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-controlled mortgage financiers, will charge a new 0.5% fee on refinanced loans starting Sept. 1. The government-sponsored entities said the fee is necessary to offset future costs of delayed and delinquent loan repayments resulting from high unemployment and economic uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic. Borrowers with loans backed by the entities who haven’t locked in their rates can expect an average of $1,000 to $1,500 to be added to the costs of refinancing.

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Senate Committee Advances Legislation To Improve Vote-by-Mail

In an effort to increase voter participation in the 2020 election, and beyond, the Senate State Government, Wager, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee approved a series of bills today to increase voting accessibility and improve the vote-by-mail processes.
“Voting is the most fundamental right in our democracy. As elected officials we must advance the expansion of greater voter access,” said Senator Nia Gill (D-34). “The problems in May and June highlighted the vulnerabilities within our voting system and underscored the need to improve the process. Establishing early voting will create a more accessible, secure, reliable voting and safe process that will ensure access and the integrity of the vote.”

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MVC’s Computer System Lags Behind Other States. Catching Up is a Costly, Decades-long Ordeal.

The state Motor Vehicle Commission’s computer system has been one that drivers love to hate.

When it works, they don’t notice it. When it fails and brings business at agencies to a halt, the system inspires words suitable for an R rated movie. A positive side to the MVC’s tumultuous reopening of agencies last month was there weren’t the crippling statewide computer problems of the past.

But to give New Jersey drivers the online features they want and that other states offer — and to potentially reduce the hours-long wait times that’s plagued agencies since they reopened — that system needs a major upgrade, a computer expert said.

The road to upgrade it has been a torturous one. MVC officials said they’ve ditched costly and delayed mega-projects of the past.

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NJ is Suing the U.S. Postal Service, Attorney General Says

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal expects to join a host of Democratic attorneys general in suing the United States Postal Service over cuts they say could jeopardize mail-in balloting during this fall's election, his office said Tuesday.

First announced in an afternoon tweet, Grewal later said in a statement that New Jersey is suing "to stop political interference in an apolitical institution."

"We must act quickly to protect the integrity of the upcoming election and halt the sudden and sweeping operational changes made by the U.S. Postal Service," Grewal said, adding that his office will file legal paperwork this week. "Voting by mail is safe, secure, and reliable. We intend to keep it that way."

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County, Bridge Commission Extending Help to Small Businesses

MOUNT HOLLY, NJ – The Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders today announced that the County will continue to offer to defer all loan repayments for businesses participating in its small business assistance programs as part of its commitment to helping them stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Freeholders intend to offer deferrals of all new and existing loans for businesses participating in either the County’s Small Business Loan Program and its Route 130 Revolving Loan Program.

In addition to deferring payments, the Burlington County Bridge Commission, the agency that administers both loan programs, will continue waiving the agency’s $200 application fee for both programs.

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Non-Teaching School Staff Can Settle Disputes Through Arbitration Under New Law

TRENTON, NJ -- Non-teaching employees of local, county, and regional school districts, as well as boards and commissions will now have the right to dispute disciplinary action through arbitration under a new law signed by Governor Phil Murphy.

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