"What's black and white and read all over?"

Thursday, November 17, 2005
Posted 7:08 PM by

Some interesting stuff from New Jersey

Here's my take on a few articles I found at work today that most New Jersey residents should pay attention to, but they probably won't:

Duh, what's a conflict of interest?

Presidents and governing board members of New Jersey public colleges and universities have 30 days to end business relationships with their institutions or resign, according to an executive order signed Wednesday by acting lame-duck Gov. Richard J. Codey.

The order against conflicts of interest comes on the heels of state and federal authorities' scrutiny of financial practices at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. But Codey spokeswoman Kelley Heck said Wednesday that the executive order was part of Codey's broader efforts at reform.

Reform? This from the same state that produced James McGreevey and his indicted friend, Charles Kushner. I don't think so.

Health vs. wealth

Nervous about calls for a smoking ban, New Jersey casinos warned Thursday of economic doom for the gambling halls, saying smoke-free blackjack tables and slot parlors would cause job losses and cut the state's share of casino revenues.

Snuffing out cigarettes in gambling halls would drive gamblers to other states, costing the state $93 million in revenue in the first two years, $80 million of which is earmarked for programs benefiting New Jersey seniors and disabled persons, according to the analysis undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers and paid for by the Casino Association of New Jersey.

"A ban on smoking will not deter people who enjoy casino entertainment from smoking," said Resorts Atlantic City casino president Audrey Oswell, who heads the nine-member association. "Rather it will give them a reason to choose to play in a casino in a neighboring state. A ban on smoking will put New Jersey at a competitive disadvantage, as neighboring states will benefit from New Jersey's loss."

This as Governor-elect Jon S. Corzine is about to inherit a projected multi-billion state budget deficit.

Court records access defined

The acting administrative director of the New Jersey Judiciary on Thursday released a set of guidelines for court staff across the state on providing public access to court records.

An informal inquiry from Judge Philip S. Carchman's office found that the process for releasing records varied from courthouse to courthouse and even from division to division.

The new guidelines start with an "Openness Principle," that says "in the interest of an open and transparent court system, all case-related court records are open to public inspection unless there is a specific statute or court rule that exempts them."

Bravo, your honor. Bravo.
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