May 16, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Citing problems exposed by the Boston Marathon bombings, senators weighing amendments to a sweeping immigration bill agreed Tuesday to boost security provisions around student visas. The Senate Judiciary Committee agreed by voice vote to an amendment by Republican Sen. Charles F. Grassley of Iowa meant to ensure that border patrol agents at U.S. ports of entry have access to information on the status of student visas. The committee action follows recent revelations that a student from Kazakhstan accused of hiding evidence for one of the Boston bombing suspects was allowed to return to the United States in January without a valid student visa.
May 15, 2013 |
TRENTON - Gov. Christie will get his first chance to change state gun laws after the Senate granted final approval Monday to several bills. A handful of measures aimed at reducing gun violence passed both Democratic chambers with bipartisan support, including a bill that requires state authorities to report certain mental-health records to the federal background-check database. That bill passed the Senate, 36-1, Monday. State and federal laws already ban gun ownership for those who have been involuntarily committed for mental-health treatment.
May 5, 2013 |
The stock market is in a groove. The Standard & Poor's 500 has climbed six months in a row and finished the week at a record high. Sounds good, right? A qualified "yes" may be the best answer, considering that in the last three years, stocks began to tumble in May, and rallies turned to routs by midsummer. Recent history doesn't necessarily suggest another market decline, but some flash points that triggered the previous routs are still with us. The global economy can't seem to break out of slow-growth mode.
May 2, 2013 |
TRENTON - They're now called "Newtown families. " They wear bright green ties, ribbons, and pins. They hand out bracelets that bear the names of their children. Lawmakers hug them and cry. With federal gun control legislation stalled in Washington, they came to New Jersey on Tuesday to ask the Legislature to make the state's gun laws, already among the toughest in the nation, more strict. Specifically, they want Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) to let the Senate vote on a bill that would reduce the legal magazine capacity to 10 rounds from 15. "That is one critical component that's very dear to our hearts," said Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son, Dylan, was one of 20 children killed in the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
April 21, 2013 |
TRENTON - Gov. Christie wants to add new gun penalties to state law, ease restrictions on the involuntary commitment of the mentally ill, mandate photo IDs for firearms purchases, and forbid children from buying violent video games without parental permission. Those are just a handful of more than a dozen proposals on violence that Christie, like other state and national lawmakers, is offering in the aftermath of the mass shooting Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
April 7, 2013 |
TOPEKA, Kan. - Kansas legislators gave final passage to a sweeping antiabortion measure Friday night, sending Gov. Sam Brownback a bill that declares life begins "at fertilization" and would block tax breaks for abortion providers and ban abortions performed solely because of the baby's sex. The House voted, 90-30, for a compromise version of the bill reconciling differences between the two chambers, only hours after the Senate approved it,...
March 29, 2013
HALFWAY houses have been part of the landscape of the state-prison system for so long, we tend to take them for granted. We shouldn't. They aren't cheap to operate. It costs taxpayers $108 million a year to place offenders in 51 so-called community corrections centers around the state. This year, there will be 4,700 men and women released from state prisons to spend time in these halfway houses, at a cost of about $23,000 per inmate. Halfway houses are supposed to ease the transition from prison to the streets, providing job training and substance-abuse treatment for soon-to-be-ex-prisoners.
March 24, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Senators working on a sweeping immigration bill scrambled Friday to sketch out a deal before Congress takes a two-week recess, even as a last-minute dispute over wages for lower-skilled workers flared between business and labor groups. The public clash between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO over wages for lower-skilled workers underscored the high stakes involved in legislation that would dramatically reshape the U.S. immigration and employment landscape, putting 11 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship while allowing tens of thousands of new high- and low-skilled workers into the country.
March 18, 2013 |
Sure, they faced famine in their homeland and early prejudice in this country, but here's the bottom line on the Irish: They're doing pretty darn well. They're better-educated and earn higher salaries than average, their rate of poverty is lower, rate of home ownership higher, and job status solidly managerial. "It is very good to be Irish," said Siobhan Lyons, executive director of the Irish Immigration Center in Upper Darby. In the United States, nearly 35 million people claim Irish ancestry, more than five times the population of Ireland itself, and on Sunday they'll celebrate the quasi-national holiday of St. Patrick's Day. What began as a religious observation to honor the man who introduced Christianity to Ireland - supposedly using a three-leafed clover to teach the trinity of father, son, and holy ghost - has evolved into a green-and-orange celebration of all things Irish.
March 14, 2013 |
DENVER - Fiercely debated ammunition limits cleared Colorado's Democratic legislature Wednesday and were on their way to the governor, who has said he will sign the measure into law. The 15-round magazine limit would make Colorado the first state outside the East Coast to ratchet back gun rights after last year's mass shootings. Colorado's gun-control debates have been closely watched because of the state's gun-loving frontier heritage and painful history of mass shootings, most recently last summer's movie-theater attack that killed 12 and wounded 70. "I am sick and tired of the bloodshed," said Rep. Rhonda Fields, sponsor of the ammunition limit and a Democrat whose Denver-area district includes the theater.