A proposal before the New Jersey legislature could weaken conflict-of-interest laws would make it easier for Pinelands Commission members to vote on issues in which they have a direct and indirect financial interest, Joe Hernandez reports for Newsworks. There are currently two major gas pipeline proposals at different stages of play in the 1-million-acre Pinelands and numerous other development plans come before the commission. The proposal comes from two Cape May County Democrats. Critics says it “creates an ethics loophole big enough to drive a truck through,” Hernandez writes.
In today’s reporting for the No Sh*t, Sherlock files, a (probably handsomely-paid) management consultant has concluded that New Jersey could get more bang for its tax-incentive bucks if it gave incentives to small startups rather than big companies such as JPMorgan Chase and Subaru (or, you know, casinos and their developers). Companies that are under 10 years old are the state’s net job creators, the report says (read more about it via NJSpotlight here). Those of you who want to read more on this topic should check out the state’s recent audit of select programs run by New Jersey’s Economic Development Authority, which is particularly down on some Camden deals. (Note from the editors: Route 40 is a startup and, though we know none of you need a reminder, life’s tough for small NJ businesses. You can read more about who we are and what we’re doing here. And you can consider becoming a supporting member here. Thank you to all of you who are already supporting us. Please feel free to pass along feedback or let us know if you’re interested in advertising.)
Seventeen people including an Essex County doctor were arrested in an investigation into an Atlantic County drug ring, reports Lynda Cohen for BreakingAC. The scheme distributed tens of thousands of high-dose oxycodone pain pills in Atlantic County. And separate but related: Stephen Stirling at NJ Advance dug into the numbers and found that only about 50 percent of the demand for substance abuse treatment in the state is being met – read more on that here.
In the rest of the news from the last 24 hours, Ted Greenberg of NBC confirms the prescription drug probe in AC, Margate and Ventnor is linked to last month’s search at Dr James Kauffman’s home and office, brighten up your day by looking at these photos of Cape May Zoo’s two snow leopard cubs, Longport’s new library will open next Friday, water advocates worry not enough people care about New Jersey’s water system and it needs a major overhaul, there’s a plan to replace Obamacare at the state level if it is repealed nationally, work has begun on the outside of the Taj Mahal, and a Longport team won the Red Bull Surf and Rescue races for the second-straight year. All that and more below: