Christie, Cuomo reject far-reaching Port Authority reform bill, support smaller changes

By Steve Strunsky NJ Advance Media

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday night that they would "embrace" Port Authority reforms recommended by a panel they appointed in May, but would veto a key piece of reform legislation adopted overwhelmingly by the legislature of both states.

Measures recommended by the Special Panel on the Future of the Port Authority include elimination of the positions of executive director and deputy executive director, who in recent decades have functioned essentially as co-directors, each representing the governor who appointed him or her

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Cuomo and Christie Silent as Deadline for Port Authority Bill Approaches

By Jesse McKinely NY Times

ALBANY — On its surface, the bill known here as A3944C — less of a mouthful than the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Transparency and Accountability Act of 2014 — would seem to be a slam-dunk.

It was intended to overhaul operations at the Port Authority, even as prosecutors continue to investigate last year’s politically motivated lane closings at the George Washington Bridge and other allegations of misconduct. Identical versions of the legislation were unanimously approved by all four houses of the New York and New Jersey State Legislatures. Newspaper editorial boards spanning the ideological spectrum and on both sides of the Hudson River have pressed for it to be signed into law.

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Opinion: Time to say no to sexual assaults on college campuses

By Valerie Vainieri Huttle The Record

One in five women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime and 42 percent of female victims are sexually assaulted before the age of 25, making a woman's college years critical.

There have been recent allegations of on-campus sexual assault at Ramapo College, left, and William Paterson University.

IN THE 1980's, "Just Say No" became the ubiquitous catchphrase of the anti-drug movement. In the years since, we've learned that merely telling teenagers to refuse drugs and alcohol isn't enough. Despite that, this same "just say no" philosophy is still the advice our society applies to non-consensual sex

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The Record: Sign PA bill

Record Editorial

ON THE heels of the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal, controversial toll hikes and questionable deals, there finally are legislative initiatives to rein in the often omnipotent Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Bills passed by lawmakers in both Trenton and Albany don't go as far as some critics would like, but they are important steps in making the authority more accountable to the public it serves. Both Governor Christie and his New York counterpart, Andrew Cuomo, should sign the bills. In Christie's case, he must sign it by Dec. 28.

On Dec. 9, state Sen. Robert Gordon, D-Fair Lawn, and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Englewood, both of whom are prime sponsors of the bill, joined with New York officials in urging both governors to sign the legislation.

One of the bill's key provisions would subject the Port Authority to open public meeting and records laws. Both New Jersey and New York have such measures, but they don't apply to a bi-state agency such as the Port Authority. The bill would correct that.

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N.J. religious leaders to elected officials: we can't feed the hungry alone

Susan Livio NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

From Pennsauken to Pleasantville to Jersey City, a handful of food pantries scattered across New Jersey are closing or are taking a break, but not because fewer people need help, the Rev. Sara Lilja said, director of the Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministries.

There's just not enough food to fill the need, Lilja said.

"These aren't big organizations -- they are serving 50 to 100 families a week. But they make a big difference," said she, adding, "Christmas isn't fun when you are hungry."

"We are stretched. We need state cooperation," said Lilja, speaking on behalf of the 180 Lutheran congregations in New Jersey.

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'Top Chef' judge Tom Colicchio, anti-hunger activists urge N.J. lawmakers to boost funding for food programs

JOHN P. MCALPIN, The Record

A reality show star joined other anti-hunger activists at the State House and urged New Jersey lawmakers to increase funding for food programs and to approve bills in votes Monday that would ease restrictions and get benefits to people faster.

“Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio, an activist who said he had gone from backing food banks to pressing for laws that would end hunger in America, had pointed words for Governor Christie. In August, Christie vetoed a bill that would have redirected federal money from one program and allowed more to be spent in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.

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Bill targets how schools handle sex assault claims

MICHAEL CATALINI AP News

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The Assembly has passed legislation that could result in New Jersey colleges and universities facing fines up to $50,000 for not properly investigating sexual assault allegations.

Lawmakers passed the measure Monday by a 70-3 vote, with three abstentions. It would authorize the state attorney general to impose fines on institutions of higher education if they don't adequately investigate the allegations.

Lawmakers say the legislation comes in response to the federal disclosure that 55 colleges and universities are under investigation for their potential mishandling of sexual assault complaints.

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N.J. Assembly OKs bill to fine colleges for failure to investigate sex assault allegations

The Record Staff Reporter

The state Assembly approved a measure Monday that would fine colleges and universities if the schools fail to investigate allegations of sexual assaults by students.

Lawmakers said they acted after learning that the federal government detailed 55 colleges and universities face investigations

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The Record: Delay for Food Aid Editotial

The Record Editorial

The state had high hopes when it contracted with Hewlett-Packard to update its antiquated computer system for processing Medicaid and food stamp benefits. A centralized computer network would increase efficiency for social service agencies and speed up the process for applicants. But after five years, there's no start date in sight

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Legislation to Promote Donations to ALS Association Becomes Law

Bergen Dispatch

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Daniel R. Benson, Herb Conaway Jr., Carmelo Garcia, Celeste Riley, Gabriela Mosquera and Ralph Caputo to make it easier for taxpayers to donate to the ALS Association was signed into law today.

The new law (A-3290) will require gross income tax returns to include a provision to allow taxpayers to make voluntary donations to the Greater Philadelphia and Greater New York Chapters of the ALS Association for taxable years beginning on or after the date of enactment. It establishes the ALS Association Support Fund as a depository for the donations.

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