News

For second consecutive year March was colder than February in the region.

It's only the fourth time that’s happened since 1895.  

The movements of the jet stream are responsible for the switch in the usual weather pattern.

New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson says the March chill has kept trees and plants from blooming and that may be welcome news for people with allergies.

"But I've seen it in the past where things are delayed until the end of the second week of April and then everything bursts out at once."

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to prohibit kids under the age of 12 from participating in organized tackle football games.

Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle says New York and several other states have proposed similar laws.

“I actually cringe, I get nervous, when I see young kids as young as six years old, we’re talking about, playing and banging their heads.”

Huttle says it’s dangerous for children to be exposed to constant blows to the head at the age when their brain is forming.

Hearings on Governor Phil Murphy's state budget plan are underway.

Even some of his fellow Democrats have reservations about the $1.6 billion in tax increases he's recommending.

Assembly Budget Committee chairwoman Eliana Pintor-Marin says lawmakers will examine the potential impact of the tax increases.

"They all are concerning. We're going to take a careful look at exactly what those are and how much money they do produce and what type of families we're raising those taxes on."

Alexandra Hill / News

New Jersey’s largest city today passed a pivotal piece of legislation to add additional protections for public employees who are victims of sexual harassment.  

The ordinance, which passed unanimously, is spearheaded by Central Ward Councilwoman and Mayoral candidate Gayle Chaneyfield-Jenkins. It prohibits sexual harassment of city employees by their fellow co-workers, management, union representatives, volunteers or vendors for the city. 

After ordering a 60-day review of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, Governor Phil Murphy is making changes to expand it dramatically.

Murphy says bureaucratic conditions have stifled the eight-year-old program's ability to help.

"The days of making residents jump through hoops are coming to an end. We will have a medical marijuana program that is compassionate, that is progressive, and that at long last meets the needs of patients."

New Jersey is joining a multi-state lawsuit against the federal government to block the inclusion of a proposed citizenship question in the 2020 census.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says asking people if they’re U.S. citizens will discourage immigrants to participate in the census.

Amol Sinha the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, says that would have negative consequences.

The New Jersey Senate has passed legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to be eligible for college financial aid.

17-year-old Maria Mendez lives in Plainfield. She came to the United States from Mexico when she was three. She was recently accepted at six colleges and says access to financial aid will determine whether she can pursue her dream to major in communications. 

A package of bills approved by the New Jersey Assembly would make the state’s tough gun laws even tougher.

The bill that passed with the most opposition would make it more difficult to get a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi was among the lawmakers who voted against it, saying the restrictions would make it almost impossible to get a carry permit.

“As somebody who was a crime victim if I had a serious threat, if my life was in danger, if my daughter’s life was in danger, I want to be able to protect myself.”

Carly Zien
George Street Playhouse

Philip Goodwin and Carly Zien star in George Street Playhouse's latest production Trying, based on playwright Joanna McClelland Glass' real life experience as Judge Francis Biddle's secretary.

Goodwin and Zien sat down recently with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle to talk about the play and their careers.  Goodwin plays Judge Biddle and Zien plays Sarah, Biddle's young new secretary.

Pamela Morgan
Doug Doyle for WBGO

The theme of the 9th annual Women In Media-Newark Women's History Month film festival is Passages: Women In Transition and kicks of March 27th at the Newark Museum.  

One of the films to be screened there is acclaimed filmmaker, producer and actor Ebbe Bassey's Saving Father.  Bassey says she was introduced to the festival's producer Pamela Morgan by fellow filmmaker Nefertite Nguvu.

Nguvu's latest work, Myself When I Am Real, will screen on Saturday March 31st at the Paul Robeson Student Center on the campus of Rutgers University-Newark.

WBGO News

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy makes his Ask Governor Murphy debut.

The one-hour call-in show is produced by WBGO News, in collaboration with WHYY and WNYC. 

The governor and host Nancy Solomon  of WNYC, discuss everything from medical marijuana, to taxes climate change, and gun violence in schools.

Governor Murphy is also joined by special guest Matt Arco, Statehouse reporter for NJ Advance Media. 

New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation that would make it easier to register to vote.

Senator Joe Vitale says his bill would automatically put residents on voter registration rolls when they apply for or renew their driver's license.

He says that would eliminate the need to fill out a form to register with the local Board of Elections.

This month’s string of  four nor’easters have taken a bite out of some New Jersey beaches.

New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection says 55 of the 66 beaches it surveyed had minor erosion while 10 had moderate erosion.

Jon Miller is a professor of coastal engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. He says the storms pulled a lot of sand off the beach and into the ocean.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill that would require inmates be offered an injection of a drug used to treat opioid addiction before they’re released from prison.

Assembly Health Committee chairman Herb Conaway says a single dose of Vivitrol can block the effects of heroin for a month and could help prevent deadly overdoses.

He says people who are incarcerated often have drug addictions that haven’t been treated before they’re released.

Alexandra Hill / News

In his fourth State of the City address last night at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in downtown Newark, Mayor Ras Baraka both mapped out the direction of the state's largest city and highlighted the achievements of his administration, since taking office in 2014, with the 2018 municipal election less than two months away. 

Baraka touted everything from economic development to reductions in crime, and what may be his biggest achievement since taking office, the return of schools to local control after 20 years at the mercy of the state.

New Jersey lawmakers are looking at legislation to expand the state’s medical marijuana program.

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora says his bill would allow an additional 12 medical marijuana dispensaries in New Jersey.

“Currently the state allows six. Only five are open. Many patients say they don’t have ready access to the dispensaries. It would also be a way of creating competition and lowering the cost of the product itself.”

More forms of the drug including edibles and oils would be allowed at the dispensaries.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy
Governor Murphy for WBGO News

Do you have a question for New Jersey's Governor?

WBGO News, in collaboration with WHYY and WNYC, will present Ask Governor Murphy, a one-hour call-in show with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

Our first show airs Thursday, March 22 at 7 p.m. The show will be broadcast on WBGO and hosted by WNYC’s Nancy Solomon.

Submit your question in advance at AskGovMurphy.org, or tweet us with the hashtag #askgovmurphy.

The call-in number for Ask Governor Murphy is 844-677-9283.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says the state is preparing for what could be a major storm.

Murphy says gusty winds could bring down power lines, and utility companies in the state have activated their mutual aid arrangements.

“Their ability to bring in linemen and women from other utilities and other workers to bolster from other states. I think JCP&L has said that they have activated 800 people to come in and god knows we certainly hope that is sufficient.”

The Governor says the state has enough personnel and equipment to clear snow from the roads.

Governor Phil Murphy is breaking down the $242 million increase he's proposed in his budget plan for upgrading New Jersey Transit.

New Jersey Transit executive director Kevin Corbett says the governor's proposal allocates $19 million to expand the workforce with 114 new employees.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says a planned research and innovation center in New Brunswick could be a place for high-growth startup companies to thrive and boost the state’s economy.

New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill says a city-owned site in the downtown area is earmarked for the project.

“As a center for innovation for health care, biosciences, technology, artificial intelligence, big data, and analytics this offers the state of New Jersey an unparalleled opportunity for development.”

A bill advancing in the New Jersey legislature would ensure that union representatives have greater access to the public employees they represent.

What's called the Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act would allow unions to hold meetings during lunch and other breaks during the workday to look into issues and grievances.

Eric Richard with the state AFL-CIO says it would also mean that union representatives could meet with newly-hired employees without docking their pay.

At Home At The Zoo
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews the revival of Edward Albee's At Home At The Zoo.

Oliver Street School
Filomena Mastrolia for WBGO News

Oliver Street Elementary is among a handful of schools in and around Newark that is performing musicals based on Disney cartoon movies, funded by a 100-thousand dollar Disney grant to NJPAC.

Earlier this week, Oliver Street School Music Teacher Ashley DeWitt was directing students as they prepare for next week’s performance of Aladdin.

New Jersey Assembly's Labor Committee will take up a bill Monday that would require employers to provide equal pay to all workers for substantially similar work.        

Elaine Zundl with the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University says a gender pay gap follows women throughout their lives.

On this edition of Newark Today Mayor Ras Baraka is joined by Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose, Aisha Glover President of the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation, Kenyatta Stewart Corporation Counsel for the City of Newark, and special guest Robert Gregory Interim Superintendent of Newark Public Schools, to talk recent developments in the city's push to establish a Civilian Complaint Review Board, crime and public safety, economic development, and local control of Newark Public Schools. 

New Jersey's Attorney General is backing legislation to overhaul the state's decentralized medical examiner system.

The legislation transfers oversight of the medical examiner system from the Attorney General's office and creates an independent Office of Chief State Medical Examiner within the New Jersey Health Department.

Senate Health Committee chairman Joe Vitale says the key factor of the transfer is that it will ensure the independence the person in that new position.

A tax credit program to encourage the movie, TV, and digital media industry to produce their shows in New Jersey could be restored and expanded.

Former Governor Chris Christie was skeptical about the program's economic benefits when he suspended it in 2010 and it expired in 2015.

Lawmakers are considering a replacement measure that would provide tax credits of $75 million a year for film productions and $10 million for digital media content.

Newark Today with Mayor Ras Baraka and host Michael Hill of NJTV
Alexandra Hill / News

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is preparing to deliver his state of the city address next week, and Newark Today has your preview of this year’s annual address. 

Used car dealers would have to tell a potential buyer about any safety recall that a previous owner ignored if a bill advancing in New Jersey's legislature becomes law.

Assemblyman Paul Moriarty says his bill would require dealers to gather information from the car manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to check for any recalls

and notify a potential purchaser before a sale is finalized.

Bill Daughtry / WBGO

  Over five-hundred Union High School students walk out of the building and line up shoulder to shoulder on a football field.  Dozens of parents are on the bleachers supporting their kids.  Regina Edwards of Union says she gave her daughter a choice to participate. 

“But she had to explain to me why she wanted to do it.  If she couldn’t come up with a good reason, I was not going to allow her to do it,” Edwards said.  “I didn’t want her to do it just to follow the others.  She was able to state her case and I allowed her to do it.”

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