Donors, Wages, Drug Dealers and More – Friday’s Roundup

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Dark Money
The budget and appropriations committee in the state senate forwarded a bill that would require groups that spend at least $3,000 to influence elections/policy in New Jersey to disclose their donors. There’s also a $10,000 threshold that triggers disclosures.

The primary sponsors are Troy Singleton and Linda Greenstein in the senate.

Politico’s Katherine Landergan reports Phil Murphy and leaders in the legislature–i.e. Steve Sweeney and Craig Coughlin–reached an agreement on a bill to raise the minimum wage for most workers to $15 per hour by 2024. Farmworkers, seasonal workers and small businesses’ employees would be on another, slower track.

Mental Health Parity
Elsewhere in legislature, the senate commerce committee adopted amendments to a bill that would require insurance companies to treat mental health and behavioral health the same way they do physical illnesses. It would also “modernize the definition of behavioral-care services to clearly include addictions, obsessive-compulsive disorders, autism and developmental disorders, among other conditions,” as Lilo Stainton neatly puts it.

Mike McGarry at the Press has an awesome profile of Ocean City boys basketball coach John Bruno, who’s been at it for 30 years.

Drug Dealers
This kind of got lost in the wash but the attorney general of Massachusetts filed an amended lawsuit this week naming members of the Sackler family, who have made billions of dollars selling OxyContin etc., that alleges among other things that various Sacklers personally directed the marketing of highly addictive substances even after the company’s board had been shown a map that linked up “suspected illegal prescribers” with reported opioid overdoses.

This story cites an email from 2001 in which Richard Sackler said the company, as Reuters puts it, “needed to shift responsibility away from Purdue and ‘hammer on the abusers in every way possible.'” In other words, we need to shame people who are addicted to our junk in order to improve our quarterly results.

We were on pace to have more than 3,000 drug deaths in New Jersey in 2018. It was 2,600 the year before that, 2,200 the year before that and over 1,500 in 2015. In Cumberland County, the numbers for the first 6 months of 2018 were up 100% compared to the same period from 2017.

For more feats of journalism…


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