Friday Facts and Figures is a weekly newsletter with data points, analysis, and commentary on the biggest policy debates in New Jersey and beyond.
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COVID-19 Cases: 675,713 | Deaths: 20,432
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
Just as the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and amplified racial inequities across the state, access to vaccines is similarly stratified along race and class lines. Of the 1.37 million vaccine shots administered for which demographic data were recorded, only 3.6 percent have gone to Black residents; 5 percent of shots have gone to Hispanic/Latinx residents. In an effort to advance greater vaccine equity, the state has a new “vulnerable populations plan” that includes pop-up vaccine clinics and partnerships with community groups, civic centers, and places of worship. [NJ Spotlight News / Lilo Stainton]
Life expectancy in the United States dropped by one year during the first half of 2020, the largest recorded decrease since World War II. Life expectancy for Black residents decreased by 2.7 years, to 72; 1.9 years for Hispanic/Latinx residents, to 79.9; and 0.8 years for white residents, to 78. “Black and Hispanic communities throughout the United States have borne the brunt of this pandemic,” said Dr. Kristen Bibbins-Domingo, a health equity researcher and dean at the University of California, San Francisco. [AP News / Marilynn Marchione]
On Thursday, Senator Bob Menendez unveiled legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, creating a pathway to citizenship for 11 million immigrants. The proposal, described as a humane response to a four-year assault on immigrant families under the Trump administration, would allow almost all immigrants without documentation to apply for citizenship, offer expedited status for those brought to the U.S. as children, increase legal immigration, and invest $4 billion in Central American nations to reduce migration from the region. [NJ.com / Jonathan D. Salant]
New Jersey is taking a big step toward advancing environmental justice with a $100 million investment in electrifying the state’s transportation sector. The initiatives, announced on Tuesday by Governor Murphy, include electrifying buses, garbage and delivery trucks, and heavy-duty cargo handling equipment at the state’s ports. This should help combat climate change and reduce pollution in the state’s urban centers, where automobile transportation is the largest source of greenhouse-gas emissions. [NJ Spotlight News / Tom Johnson]
State lawmakers are meeting this afternoon in a last-ditch attempt to legalize and decriminalize recreational cannabis. Negotiations hit a snag earlier this week, and time is ticking. There are currently two marijuana bills on Governor Murphy’s desk, but he has threatened to veto them over a contradiction in the two bills on penalties for underage use of marijuana. The deadline for Governor Murphy to act on those bills is fast-approaching, as the Assembly’s next quorum will trigger the deadline. The next Assembly quorum is scheduled for next week. [NJ.com / Amanda Hoover and Brent Johnson]
Act Now to Legalize Cannabis!
Last November, New Jerseyans voted to legalize recreational cannabis by a two-to-one margin. Since then, state lawmakers have failed to reach a deal on enabling legislation. As a result, more than 6,000 residents have been arrested for marijuana offenses. Use this action alert from the ACLU-NJ to urge your lawmakers to reach an agreement on legalization and decriminalization now! [ACLU-NJ / Act Now]
Pets of NJPP
We have two pets this week! Meet Dottie and Teddy, the coworking cats of Rebecca Roberts. While Dottie is older than Teddy (they are 15 months and 6 months old), Teddy already outweighs his sister. Rebecca is convinced Teddy is going to be a giant. One thing they share in common: on a scale of 0-10, their floof level is 11.
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