Friday Facts and Figures is a weekly newsletter with data points, analysis, and commentary on the biggest policy debates in New Jersey and beyond.
Sign up here.
Vaccine Doses: 10,584,547
Fully Vaccinated People: 5,341,516
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
Governor Murphy is set to announce later today that students in grades K-12 will be required to wear masks at the start of the school year. This announcement follows new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that everyone in K-12 schools wear masks to prevent the spread of the Delta variant. With cases once again on the rise, and children under the age of 12 not yet eligible for vaccines, masks should allow for schools to open in person this fall while keeping students and their families safe. [NJ.com / Matt Arco and Brent Johnson]
Big housing news — Governor Murphy signed landmark legislation earlier this week to extend the state’s eviction moratorium, increase legal protections for tenants, and provide relief to renters and landlords alike. There’s a lot in this bill package, but here are the highlights: For renters earning less than 120 percent of their county’s median income, missed rental payments through August 31, 2021 will be converted to civil debt and eviction cases will be dismissed in court. These same protections will last through the end of the year for renters earning less than 80 percent of their county’s median income. The new laws also allocate $500 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds toward missed rental payments, and $250 million to cover missed utility payments. These reforms, championed by housing advocates for more than a year, should go a long way toward helping the 232,000 residents currently behind on rent. [NorthJersey.com / Ashley Balcerzak]
When millions of workers lost their jobs due to the pandemic, expanded federal unemployment benefits kept families afloat and out of poverty. Unless these programs are extended, approximately 7.5 million workers will lose all of their pandemic unemployment assistance on Labor Day, September 6, when the programs are set to expire. This figure includes an estimated 392,644 New Jerseyans. If this sounds really bad, that’s because it is. [The Century Foundation / Andrew Stettner]
August 3 marked Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, a day that highlights the amount of time it takes the average Black woman to earn the same amount a non-Hispanic white man made in 2020 — a staggering 20 months. Not only are Black women making less than their white male counterparts for comparable work in general, but Black women also saw lower wages for essential front-line work and higher rates of job loss during the pandemic. [Economic Policy Institute / Valerie Wilson]
New research from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) consistently excluded Black women over the last 25 years. Although New Jersey stands at the higher end of the spectrum for TANF payments at $559 per month for a family of three, Black and Hispanic/Latinx families have been regularly cut off from receiving benefits due to arbitrary behavioral requirements such as drug tests. The report also outlines how states can remove restrictive requirements for Black families to receive assistance, as well as recalibrate policies to make assistance more equitable. [New Jersey Monitor / Ariana Figueroa]
The NJPP team keeps growing! If you’re an analyst looking for work at the intersection of transportation and environmental policy, our newest job posting may be for you! We’re also fast approaching the application deadline for our Movement Communications Strategist position for all you communications pros out there. [NJPP / Career Opportunities]
Big congratulations to NJPP President Brandon McKoy and NJPP Board Chair Marcia Marley for being named two of the state’s top policy minds by Insider NJ! This year’s Insider 100: Policymakers list also includes many of our partners, including some whose pets have been featured here, so make sure to give it a read! [Insider NJ]
Pets of NJPP
Meet Zoey, rescue cat of Margaret Illis of NJ7 Forward! Margaret told the rescue that she preferred cats “with personality” and Zoey certainly has that. She has never met a person she didn’t bite, and she regularly deposits headless presents on the doorstep. One time, she joined the Illis family during dinner on the patio with an enormous flapping bird in her mouth. She happily ate puzzle pieces during the pandemic, but now prefers harassing the Illis family’s pandemic pup. Meow!
Have a fact or figure for us? Tweet it to @NJPolicy.