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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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Singleton, Ruiz Bill Requiring Depression Screenings In Schools Clears Committee

Trenton – Legislation, which would require public schools to administer written screenings for depression for students in grades seven through twelve, cleared the Senate Education Committee today. The bill was sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senate Education Committee Chair M. Teresa Ruiz.

“We cannot wait another moment to address the problem of adolescent and teen depression,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “Youth depression is on the rise and is only accelerating in the time of COVID-19. This is not just a mental health problem – it is a public health problem. This legislation provides for annual school based mental health screenings and is a preemptive measure against this debilitating illness. It would allow us to identify the symptoms of depression in our students before it’s too late or it turns into a life-long cycle.”

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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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Singleton Bill To Assist Struggling Veterans Passes Committee

Trenton – Legislation, that would provide one-time financial assistance to veterans or their surviving spouses, passed the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee today. The bill was sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton.

“Our network of non-profit veterans groups work hard to support returning soldiers with all sorts of assistance, such as employment, mental health and financial literacy,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “However, with the pandemic crippling the finances of these groups, veterans are unable to receive the care and support services they depend on. These emergency relief grants would give veterans and their families the financial assistance they need to get through this pandemic.”

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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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The Decision To Legalize Recreational Marijuana In NJ Is Yours

November ballot question could enable adult use for more than medication. Opponents say that would not address the real victims of the drug wars, NJ's minority population

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Singleton Renews Calls For Regional Reopening Strategy

Trenton – In response to Governor Phil Murphy announcing a regionalized monitoring system to track COVID-19 outbreaks in schools, State Senator Troy Singleton once again renewed his call for a regionalized reopening strategy for all of New Jersey, including its businesses.

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