This Week in NJ - February 24th, 2023
Governor Murphy Announces $120 Million For Preschool Facilities, Brings High-Quality Pre-K To 16 More School Districts
As part of the Murphy Administration’s ongoing efforts to provide universal access to high-quality, full-day preschool throughout the state, Governor Phil Murphy announced the availability of $120 million in grants for preschool facility expansion and highlighted the funding 16 school districts recently received to establish or grow their preschool programming. Alongside Acting Commissioner of Education Angelica Allen-McMillan, Senator Andrew Zwicker, Assemblyman Roy Freiman, and other officials at Brooks Crossing and Deans Elementary School, the Governor also announced an additional $2.6 million to assist 33 school districts with supplementary start-up funding.
Providing free early childhood education to every three and four-year-old in New Jersey remains an important goal of the Murphy Administration. Since Governor Murphy took office, high-quality preschool programs have been introduced to over 160 school districts, opening seats for more than 12,000 additional children.
“Expanding access to free, full-day preschool programs represents an investment in the future of New Jersey’s children,” said Governor Murphy. “More families are benefiting from our increased support for early childhood education every year. A quality preschool education provides students with the foundational skills they need to learn and succeed as they advance through life, which is why we must – and will – continue to work towards universal pre-K throughout New Jersey.”
Governor Murphy Holds Roundtable Discussion On Modernizing New Jersey's Antiquated Liquor Licensing Laws
Governor Phil Murphy held a roundtable discussion where he met with stakeholders to gather input and learn from diverse perspectives for his new legislative proposal to reform and modernize New Jersey’s antiquated liquor license laws. At Clinton restaurant Pru Thai, Governor Murphy was joined by key stakeholders who voiced their support and recommendations for a new equitable, affordable framework that has the potential to generate massive economic opportunities for small businesses and communities statewide.
“Our current liquor license law is a relic of Prohibition New Jersey. We need a liquor license law for the Next New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy. “We need to face the simple reality that a liquor license is a game-changer. Current financial barriers prevent equitable access for small businesses and those in underserved communities while suppressing New Jersey’s economy. Our impending proposal will create an affordable, equitable path for the next generation of aspiring restauranteurs, brewers, distillers, and vintners, making them more competitive with small businesses in neighboring states while transforming our economies and our downtowns. Equally important, it will establish a tax credit to support existing license holders and it will maintain local control over the licensing process so that communities have a say in the future of their town.”
Joining the Governor for a robust roundtable discussion were Senator Gordon Johnson and Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, who have been leading voices in the Legislature on the need for liquor license reform; Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach; Korn Wongsarochana and his wife Chayanee, owners of Pru Thai; Ehren Ryan, Owner and Head Chef of Common Lot restaurant in Millburn; and Daniel Rios, Co-Owner of Sabor Y Arte restaurant in Elizabeth, who possesses a liquor license but supports creating fair and affordable access for all. greatest in the world because it is a work in progress, a promise, and an ideal we strive to achieve.”READ MORE
20 States Announce Historic Governor-Led Reproductive Freedom Alliance
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Delaware Governor John Carney, Hawai'i Governor Josh Green, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, Maine Governor Janet Mills, Maryland Governor Wes Moore, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, announced the launch of a multi-state Reproductive Freedom Alliance (Alliance).
The Alliance is a non-partisan coalition of 20 Governors committed to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom in their states, the largest such coalition ever convened. The Alliance will work together to strengthen reproductive freedom in the face of an unprecedented assault on abortion access and other forms of reproductive health care by states hostile to abortion rights and judges who are advancing their ideological agenda. All Governors who support reproductive freedom are welcome to join the Alliance.
Major funding for the Alliance is provided by the California Wellness Foundation with additional support from the Rosenberg Foundation.
“With the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act that I signed last year, and related reforms and investments to make reproductive health care more affordable and accessible, New Jersey has continued to protect and expand a woman’s fundamental right to reproductive choice," said Governor Murphy. "Amidst a continual assault from a radical minority intent on ignoring facts, public sentiment, and decades of judicial precedent, we will work to expand and preserve reproductive freedom for women everywhere across our country and for the dedicated health care professionals who deliver this care.”READ MORE
Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Establishing Equity And Sustainability Advisory Council To Develop Policy For State Workforce
To expand on this Administration’s efforts to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in New Jersey’s State workforce, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 319, which establishes an Equity and Sustainability Advisory Council and requires each of the principal Cabinet departments to designate a senior-level employee to perform the functions of Chief Diversity Officer and serve as a liaison to the Council. The Governor announced the signing of the Executive Order at his and First Lady Tammy Murphy’s annual Black History Month Celebration at Drumthwacket surrounded by prominent community and faith leaders, state legislators, and activists.
“Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is essential to the success of any organization, especially that of our State workforce which serves the residents of the most diverse State in the nation,” said Governor Murphy. “It takes all of us, working together, to improve the lives of the people of our state. Through this Executive Order, the Equity and Sustainability Advisory Council will support the Administration’s ongoing commitment to position New Jersey as the State of Opportunity, one where the state workforce, and the programs and services they oversee, better reflect the diverse population they serve.”
“With today’s Executive Order, the Murphy Administration is advancing our goal of achieving greater diversity, equity, and inclusion across state agencies in the hopes that people working in New Jersey state government can feel a sense of belonging,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver. “We are optimistic that by establishing an equity infrastructure, more people from all walks of life will find increased opportunities to work for and with state government for the betterment of the public being served.”
Governor Murphy And Commissioner Caride Announce Record-Breaking 341k People Signed Up For Health Insurance During Open Enrollment Period
Governor Phil Murphy and Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride announced that more than 341,000 New Jerseyans signed up for health coverage through Get Covered New Jersey during the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period – a record high in New Jersey.
“More New Jerseyans have quality, affordable health coverage through our State’s marketplace than ever before,” said Governor Murphy. “This is a testament to our Administration’s efforts to provide residents with the support they need to access affordable health coverage. The combination of State and federal investments in expanding financial help have resulted in a record-breaking Open Enrollment.”
As of January 31, 2023, a total of 341,901 New Jersey residents signed up for health insurance at Get Covered New Jersey (GetCovered.NJ.gov), the State’s official Health Insurance Marketplace, during the Open Enrollment Period — a nearly 40 percent increase since the Murphy Administration took over operation of the marketplace in 2020 for plan year 2021.