North Jersey News Roundup for Aug. 21, 2020

A dozen New Jersey counties that didn’t previously qualify for federal monies to fight the coronavirus pandemic will share $37 million in aid, announced Gov. Phil Murphy and Rep. Josh Gottheimer. In a by-county breakdown, Morris County will receive a total of $7.1 million, Sussex $1.8 million and Warren $1.4 million. The funding will reimburse counties for COVID-19 related expenses, to maintain testing sites, and testing plans the counties will need to submit for approval from the state’s Department of Health.

Joe Biden accepted the Democratic presidential nomination on the final night of the party’s convention. In his speech, Biden urged Americans to have faith that they could “overcome this season of darkness” and that while he is a Democratic candidate, he will be “an American president…This is not a partisan moment. This must be an American moment.” The New York Times

Sen. Cory Booker addressed economic issues in contrasting the agendas of President Donald Trump and Joe Biden. “Working people are under attack, the wealth gap grows, our middle class shrinks, and poverty persists,” Booker said as part of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention. “Last week, Donald Trump said, ‘Our economy is doing good,’ while 40 million Americans are at risk of losing their homes. Thirty million aren’t getting enough food to eat and 5.4 million people have lost their health care because of this crisis. He has failed us.” New Jersey Globe

A New Jersey Senate committee approved seven measures designed to improve the ability of people to vote during this year’s presidential election amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Among the bills passed include doubling the number of drop boxes in each county to 10; allow people to drop off ballots in person up to two weeks before Election Day and give voters the right to fix perceived ballot problems that might lead county election officials to reject their votes. NJ Spotlight

Gov. Phil Murphy will deliver an outdoor budget address at Rutgers University’s football stadium Aug. 25. The formal budget address will be the second this calendar year, as the pandemic has upended revenue forecasts and forced Murphy’s administration to rethink its spending plans for the nine months beginning Oct. 1.

A federal audit of New Jersey nursing home residents who were sent to hospitals in 2016 found that long-term care facilities were likely missing red-flags suggesting patient abuse. In a report issued through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office, inspectors said that the lack of documentation for conditions like bed sores, sepsis or head injuries raised concern that cases of abuse or neglect were not being properly reported. Of the 4,402 hospital claims involving Medicaid recipients, 311 were a result of potential abuse or neglect at a nursing facility in New Jersey.

New Jersey Senate Republicans have raised their displeasure with the state’s Supreme Court after it approved a borrowing plan provided by Gov. Phil Murphy which would allow him to borrow up to $10 billion. State Sens. Joe Pennacchio (R-26) and Steven Oroho (R-24) voiced dissent against the measure, arguing the borrowing would become a burden on future generations. “New Jersey taxpayers will be paying for this mandate for decades to come,” said Pennacchio.

New unemployment applications spiked for the first time in two weeks in New Jersey. Another 25,405 workers applied for new unemployment benefits for the week ending Aug. 15, bringing the total number of claims to 1.5 million since the coronavirus pandemic forced business across the state to close in mid-March. Many of the new applications are for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federally-funded benefit for workers who don’t typically qualify for traditional unemployment, including independent contractors and self-employed workers. News12 New Jersey

New Jersey’s lone indoor fall sports had their seasons postponed under a return-to-play plan announced by New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association. Gymnastics and girls volleyball seasons were delayed to a new special season that will begin with practices on Feb. 16 and competition on March 3. The outdoor fall sports—football, cross country, field hockey, girls tennis and soccer—will begin practice Sept. 14, with games set to start about two weeks later. The Daily Record

And finallyThe Yankees-Mets Subway Series opener was postponed due to members of the Mets testing positive for COVID-19. The Record

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