June 1, 2013 |
Can America's banks be coaxed into adopting more consumer-friendly practices - and pushed if they don't change voluntarily? That's the hope of researchers at the Pew Charitable Trusts, who helped bring changes to the credit-card industry several years ago and have now turned attention to checking accounts. In a report issued Thursday, Pew's Safe Checking project measured 36 of the 50 largest U.S. banks against a set of 18 "best and good practices" that Pew developed from its research on consumers' financial risks.
May 28, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Over the last three weeks, Sen. Jeff Sessions tried everything he could to blow up a comprehensive immigration bill. The Alabama Republican offered 17 amendments, championed the concerns of border enforcement unions, and decried the cost to taxpayers. Ahead of a Senate Judiciary Committee vote, Sessions produced a letter denouncing the proposal signed by opinion makers such as Laura Ingraham and Michelle Malkin. Then he was on the losing end of a 13-5 rout. For hard-line foes of immigration reform, the lopsided outcome produced a moment of clarity about the challenges they face in repeating their 2007 feat in scuttling comprehensive border legislation.
May 24, 2013 |
Starting Tuesday, Cherry Hill parents will have to stop at the reception desk or main office in the district's schools to drop off homework, lunches, or musical instruments for their children. That restriction is one of several new measures going into effect as the result of a districtwide security assessment conducted in the wake of December's school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The rules, announced by Superintendent Maureen Reusche at a PTA meeting earlier this month, place limits on parents' presence in the district's 19 schools.
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.