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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As a heads up, I’m taking over Friday Facts for two weeks while Louie is out of office.
Good news for people with periods: New Jersey is taking steps to help address period poverty by making menstrual hygiene products more accessible and boosting screenings for certain reproductive health issues. One bill proposes a program to provide period products for New Jerseyans experiencing homelessness, helping remove the stigma surrounding menstruation and making sure menstrual hygiene is not a privilege, but a right. “These residents already face daunting challenges to live healthy and happy lives, and should not have to risk their health and wellness as they try to find a permanent and stable home,” said NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Brittany Holom-Trundy. [Press of Atlantic City / Eric Conklin and Selena Vazquez]
Renters in New Jersey — particularly immigrants and renters of color — struggle to afford rising rent costs and live in unsafe housing conditions, according to a report from Make the Road New Jersey. Surveying 400 tenants, the report found that while renters face these obstacles, they also face barriers when applying for aid. While the state lawmakers grapple with what it means to make New Jersey affordable for all, the report includes policy recommendations like strengthening rent control laws, addressing living conditions, and expanding rental assistance, while targeting outreach to immigrant communities so families don’t have to struggle to make ends meet. [NorthJersey.com / Ashley Balcerzak]
While these communities struggle to make ends meet, the stark reality is that less than one percent of New Jerseyans hold over $746 billion in wealth. The wealth inequality uncovered in a new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) both reflects and exacerbates racial inequity, and limits economic opportunity for families in New Jersey and nationwide. “Runaway wealth inequality is an enormous problem for New Jersey, but the good news is that we have the tools to fight it,” said NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Sheila Reynertson. “Closing the tax loopholes that have helped build so much of this nation’s extreme wealth is a commonsense way that lawmakers in Trenton and D.C. can combat inequality and promote opportunity.” Read the full report by clicking the link. [ITEP / Carl Davis, Emma Sifre, and Spandan Marasini]
New Jersey’s first electric bus #22901 is here! The all-green bus will be joined by seven others by the end of the year and will provide real-world data to determine the future of electrics when it hits the road at the end of October. Battery range is the biggest factor in determining where the buses will run, but electric buses are more suitable for urban routes where residents will see the benefits in improved air quality. Given that so many New Jerseyans rely on public transportation on a daily basis, the transition to an electric fleet will help bring New Jersey closer to environmental justice and improved public health for its residents. [NJ.com / Larry Higgs]
Medicare’s open enrollment period begins this Saturday for over 1.7 million New Jersey seniors. Residents who are covered under Medicare can make changes to their plan and tweak their coverage to find a plan that works best for them. Free help is available through the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP, run by the Department of Human Services. [NJ Spotlight News / Lilo H. Stainton]
With less than a month to go until the election on November 8, representatives from all congressional districts as well as some state and local elected offices are up for a vote. See who’s on your ballot and make sure to register to vote before October 18. [vote.nj.gov]
Pets of NJPP
Meet Ghost, the furry friend of one of NJPP’s faithful Twitter followers. He hates water, German Shepherds, and PILOT programs. Woof!
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