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: 13,127,988
Fully Vaccinated People: 6,291,903
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
Expanded unemployment benefits established by the CARES Act will expire this month for a whopping 80,000 New Jersey residents who are currently out of work. While some pro-business groups suggest this will incentivize more people to return to work, there is no evidence that ending unemployment benefits has any impact on employment as it doesn’t address the biggest issues keeping people out of the workforce. “The end of extended unemployment benefits won’t stop the spread of the virus or generate child care availability,” NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Peter Chen told NJ BIZ. Instead, families will be left with less to spend on groceries, rent, and other household necessities. [NJ BIZ / Daniel Munoz]
New Jersey has made big investments in replacing lead pipes in schools and homes, but one set of buildings requires special attention: child care centers. While approximately 400,000 children spend time in child care centers every day in New Jersey, testing and mitigation for lead at these buildings is minimal. “Infants and toddlers, especially those who are fed with baby formula, are at heightened risk for lead exposure through water, at a critical moment when their brains are developing and expanding rapidly,” NJPP’s Peter Chen explained in a new op-ed. Fortunately, a new report by Jersey Water Works provides five recommendations to help end the threat of lead in drinking water at child care facilities. Read more about them here. [MyCentralJersey.com / Peter Chen]
Advocates gathered in front of the State House last week to urge lawmakers to establish a New Jersey Reparations Task Force. The legislation, sponsored by members of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus, would establish a new task force to research and develop reparations proposals to address the harms caused by New Jersey’s role in the slave trade. Advocates for racial justice are calling for the proposal to be passed during the lame duck session so the state can finally begin to close the widening racial wealth gap and repair the traumas caused by slavery. [NJ.com / Ande Richards]
Despite increasing calls for police reform, police fatalities are on the rise in New Jersey, with at least 27 deaths at the hands of law enforcement so far in 2021. And with no public, searchable database to review fatal police encounters, not every death is captured, hiding the severity of police brutality. “Transparency is the first step in accountability,” said NJPP Policy Analyst Marleina Ubel, who published a recent report detailing how our current police-centered approach to public safety disproportionately harms people of color. [New Jersey Monitor / Dana DiFilippo]
Some great public health news out of New York: The nation’s first supervised drug-injection sites opened in Manhattan last week — and they’re already saved 15 lives! For those unfamiliar, supervised consumption services are sites where people can use drugs (like heroin) under the safety and support of trained health staff. Common across Europe and in some Canadian and Australian cities, these sites are proven public health tools that prevent overdose deaths, prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, and help connect people to support. Shout out to New York City for leading the way on evidence-informed drug policy in the U.S.! [NJ Spotlight News / Melissa Rose Cooper]
Big congrats to NJPP Research DirectorNicole Rodriguez for being featured in Senator Loretta Weinberg’s 2021 Women’s Power List for her work leading NJPP’s majority-women research team! Read the full list here. [Insider NJ / Senator Loretta Weinberg]
Pets of NJPP
Meet M, Susan Druckenbrod’s ferocious feline. M enjoys snacks, naps, and keeping on eye on the neighborhood squirrels. Meow!
Have a fact or figure for us? Tweet it to @NJPolicy.