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Week in NJ - June 2nd, 2023


Nine Governors Join Governor Murphy in Opposing Censorship of School Textbooks

Following news of textbook publishers agreeing to censor their educational materials at the behest of state governments like Florida, nine governors joined New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in sending publishing companies a letter to make it clear that censorship will not be supported in schools in each of their states and territories.

In the letter, the ten governors emphasized their belief that censored materials negatively impact core educational goals and values. They urged each publisher to “hold the line for our democracy” and emphasized the negative impact censorship has on students – especially those who are already marginalized and underrepresented – and our society as a whole.

“Our country’s future is at stake,” wrote the governors in their letter. “You hold enormous influence in shaping how our great nation’s history is told, and the consequences of your actions will reverberate for generations to come…Sanitizing our educational texts for the mercurial comfort of a few today ultimately limits the next generation’s ability to make informed decisions for themselves.”


New Jersey Redevelopment Authority Launches Affordable Housing Support Initiative

The New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA) is proud to announce the creation of the Affordable Housing Support Initiative (AHSI), a groundbreaking program aimed at addressing the affordable housing needs of eligible municipalities in the state. The AHSI will provide crucial resources to support community redevelopment projects. The Initiative is funded with a significant $25 million allocation from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). The NJRA is responsible for managing this initiative.

"Access to safe and affordable housing is a fundamental right that every New Jerseyan deserves,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “The Affordable Housing Support Initiative is a crucial step towards addressing the housing challenges faced by our communities. By leveraging state resources and fostering partnerships between developers and municipalities, we can make significant progress in ensuring that affordable housing is accessible to all."

“The Affordable Housing Support Initiative is a significant step forward in New Jersey's commitment to addressing the affordable housing crisis and revitalizing communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver who serves as DCA Commissioner and Chairwoman of the NJRA Board. “We believe this initiative will create vibrant, inclusive neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for residents across the state.”


Funding for Spotted Lanternfly Treatment Available to All New Jersey Counties, Municipalities

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has announced that grant funds are available to counties and municipalities to battle the spotted lanternfly (SLF). Interested counties and municipalities may apply to receive funds from the Department. The Murphy Administration, in partnership with the Legislature, has provided funding to the Department to reduce SLF populations and minimize its spread.

A total of up to $50,000 per county, and up to $15,000 per municipality is available on a first-come, first-serve basis for reimbursement of eligible costs incurred for SLF chemical treatment activities. A letter to counties and municipalities, the notice of funds availability, and the application can be found at


Commissioner Latourette Encourages Public to Participate in National Trails Day Events This Saturday, June 3

To spur interest in hiking and equitable outdoor recreation, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is coordinating more than 30 organized recreational, educational and stewardship events across the state to mark National Trails Day this Saturday, June 3.


“At the DEP, we are working hard to expand the state’s already impressive trail network to ensure that everyone, regardless of place of residence or skill level, has an opportunity to partake in the healthy, restorative and educational benefits of trails,” said Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette. “National Trails Day events include nature hikes, trail maintenance and cleanup projects, outdoor safety, and stewardship activities – all of which will deepen appreciation for our state’s beauty and natural diversity.”

National Trails Day has been officially recognized in New Jersey through Executive Order No. 298, issued in June 2022. In addition, last year the Department of Environmental Protection launched Outside, Together!, an initiative led by diverse voices and perspectives, that focuses on the future investment of conservation and recreational open spaces in New Jersey.


DCF Releases Request for Proposals for Universal Home Visiting Initiative to Help Improve Maternal and Infant Health, Overall Family Wellness

In another significant step designed to bring New Jersey closer to implementing Universal Newborn Home Visiting, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) recently issued a request for proposals to engage partner-agencies. This life-changing model of family support is demonstrated to improve maternal and infant health outcomes and the family’s overall sense of wellness and wellbeing, and represents a key component of First Lady Tammy Murphy’s ongoing Nurture NJ initiative. 

“As a mother of four, I remember clearly the precarious and challenging first few weeks after bringing home a new baby. Now, I also understand just how dangerous and life-threatening that time can be for new mothers. The Universal Home Visiting program is an essential tool to catch any complications of labor and delivery as early as possible, save lives, and support every mother and family during the critical first few weeks with their baby,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “I am incredibly proud that we are taking yet another step towards the official launch of this game-changing initiative, which is one of the many recommendations in our Nurture NJ Maternal and Infant Health Strategic Plan, and will advance our mission of making New Jersey the safest most equitable state in the nation to deliver and raise a baby.” 

"The days after bringing home a newborn can be stressful, and new parents – or even experienced ones – may have questions, or require assistance,” said NJ DCF Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer.  “Universal Home Visiting will provide the option for a family to request a nurse visit in the home at a crucial time for the family, making sure mother and baby have received appropriate health check-ups and screenings, and referrals to additional services as necessary.  Through this model, we can help all families have the strong start they need to thrive.”