• New legislation passed to support small business owners – Lt. Gov. Tahesha Way signed into law two new bills on October 18 that mandate the Department of Treasury and the NJ Business Action Center to support small businesses, with the specific aim to help women, minority, and veteran business owners. Assembly Bill 3424 establishes an “Annual Business Matchmaking Event” to introduce small business owners to government agencies and contractors; A4751 requires the Business Action Center to create a mentorship program connecting entrepreneurs of varying degrees of expertise. (Source: Insider NJ)


  • Judge rules NJ has failed to address de facto racial segregation in its schools – On October 6, Mercer County Superior Court Judge Robert T. Lougy ruled that New Jersey has “intentionally failed” to address de facto racial segregation in its schools. A coalition of advocates, led by the Latino Action Network and the NAACP-NJ, sued the state in 2018, arguing that the state has an obligation to address high segregation rates in NJ schools. The judge denied the plaintiffs’ arguments that the issue is statewide and that there exists socioeconomic segregation. The judge’s ruling does not mandate any particular action on the part of the state, so now the coalition must decide whether to appeal and bring the case to trial or pursue a settlement. (Sources: USA Today;; NJ Spotlight News)
  • New law mandates expansion of suicide prevention efforts in higher ed – On October 19, Lt. Gov. Tahesha Way signed Assembly Bill 1176 that requires institutes of higher education to expand efforts to prevent suicide, the leading cause of death for college-age adults. The law mandates training for educators and staff, raising awareness of mental health resources, and restricting access to places and tools that enable suicide. The bill expands measures already put in place by the Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention Act and should go into effect in the fall of 2024. (Sources: Insider NJ; New Jersey Monitor)
  • Delays in school tutoring program stymie a solution to pandemic learning loss – The Department of Education announced in February the allocation of $52 million for a statewide program that would offer twice-weekly, small-group tutoring to third and fourth graders throughout the state. “Learning Acceleration Program: High-Impact Tutoring” sought to address the urgent issue of post-pandemic learning loss and was slated to begin Oct. 11. Yet as of this week, school districts remain in the dark about how much funding they should expect to receive, the anticipated timeline, and other basic components of the rollout. (Source:
  • Father files lawsuit challenging Dept. of Ed policy to protect trans students – A father in Cherry Hill has filed a federal lawsuit over a Department of Education policy that does not mandate schools to notify parents of their children’s gender identity. The guidance aims to protect LGBTQ+ students from being outed to their parents before they are ready. The father argues this policy infringes on parental rights and might cause psychological damage to youths. The lawsuit comes within a flurry of controversy surrounding this guidance, as some schools update their policy in compliance and others devise new policies requiring parental notification. (Source:


  • Federal government implicated in fight against offshore wind development in South Jersey – A coalition of commercial fishing, conservation, and tourism groups, along with Cape May County, sued the federal government in the latest of a snarl of lawsuits surrounding Ocean Wind 1, the state’s first offshore wind farm being developed by Danish company Ørsted off the coast of South Jersey. The plaintiffs argue the Department of the Interior violated federal environmental review and endangered species’ protections in approving environmental and construction permits for the project. Specifically, they claim noise and vessel strikes during construction would harm endangered marine life and that the turbines would kill migrating birds. The lawsuit also cites potential harms to the tourism and commercial fishing industries. (Sources: NJ Spotlight News;
  • PSEG gains approval for $902 million for gas pipeline modernization – The Board of Public Utilities approved Public Service Electric & Gas (PSEG)’s plan to spend $902 million to replace up to 400 of miles of gas pipelines as part of its gas modernization program. The utility company began this program in 2014 to prevent methane emissions caused by gas leaks; they are also exploring new ways to inject hydrogen and natural gas into their gas distribution systems. Clean energy advocates oppose this plan, citing safety concerns of blending hydrogen into natural gas pipelines, potential costs for users, and concerns about prolonging gas pipeline systems amidst a climate crisis. (Source: NJ Spotlight News)


Public Administration:
  • With another arraignment set for Sen. Bob Menendez, elections looming, and the long shadow cast by violence in the middle east, tensions are high this week in New Jersey. The NJ State Legislature enjoys an extended summer break until election day on Nov. 7, a custom which allows lawmakers time to focus on campaigning – and the ability to avoid upsetting voters during this crucial period. Despite the summer slowdown, a few bills have been passed and signed into law, and policy issues are contested in the courts.
  • Assembly Bill 4978 codifies the Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance – On October 18, Lt. Gov. Tahesha Way signed a new bill that establishes the Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance (VIVA) within the Department of Law and Public Safety. The Office of the Attorney General created VIVA in 2022 to affect a unified strategy to assist survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and since then, millions of dollars have been awarded to violence intervention programs across the state. Assembly Bill 4978’s codification of VIVA ensures the program’s continuity and prioritization. (Source: Insider NJ)
  • A move forward for equity in salons and barbershops – Following a discrimination investigation, the Gloucester County Institute of Technology reached an agreement on October 16 with NJ’s Division on Civil Rights to ensure cosmetology students will learn to style Black and other textured hair types. The investigation responded to claims that the Institute did not require its non-Black students to learn techniques to cut textured hair and that there were not enough Black mannequins available for its students. This agreement comes as a larger part of the effort initiated by the CROWN (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair) Act, passed in 2019, which prohibits discrimination based on historically racialized traits, such as hair. (Source: