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New Jersey Voters Reject Privatization

On June 15, voters in Trenton, New Jersey, soundly rejected a proposal to sell a majority of Trenton Water Works' infrastructure, including pipes, water towers, and tanks, to a private company. For several years, Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer argued that water privatization would generate immediate revenue for the cash-strapped city and end its obligation to maintain aging infrastructure in surrounding townships. Community activists, unions, and the Stop the Sale campaign, successfully challenged the Mayor's plan. In the weeks leading up to the vote, polling indicated that 95 percent of city residents disapproved of the initiative.

NJ: NJ Transit seeks legal advice on privatizing parking lots

The Star Ledger:

NJ Transit is giving new meaning to the adage “spend money to make money.”

States Decide on High Risk Pools

The choice of whether or not to establish high-risk insurance pools represents the first major decision that states are facing with the March 2010 passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). While twenty-nine governors -- 22 Democrats and 7 Republicans -- decided to create the pools themselves, most conservative governors failed to take advantage of the option to shape health care for their constituents and instead just kicked the issue back to the federal government, which will establish its own high-risk insurance pool in states that fail to take action.

Workplace Tragedies Point to Need for States to Take Lead in Workplace Safety

April has seen two major industrial accidents that have captured the national eye. Explosions at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia and the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the coast of Louisiana claimed the lives of forty workers and injured thirty-eight. Much of the media attention on these tragedies has focused on the culpability of employers and enforcement capacity at federal agencies responsible for regulating mine and offshore drilling safety. However, there are proactive steps states can take to address occupational safety hazards and ensure people do not have to sacrifice their personal safety in exchange for a paycheck.