Center produces new research to guide NJ policies

Credit: (Bernd Klutsch from Unsplash)
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When the New Jersey State Policy Lab was created final 12 months, Gov. Phil Murphy stated it might be important to a post-pandemic restoration, issuing detailed analysis and reviews that will assist drive public coverage within the state.

That work is beginning to floor as the middle has issued a rising listing of reviews, the most recent analyzing the distinctive challenges that girls within the workforce confronted through the pandemic.

“…we’ll need new and smart government policies to emerge as a stronger, fairer, and more resilient New Jersey,” Murphy stated of the middle’s work.

Chosen by an software strategy of the state’s greater training establishments, the Rutgers-based analysis heart was launched with a $1 million grant from the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and started its work in August 2021. The lab operates out of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

Elizabeth Cooner, its govt director, stated that every one its output is derived from rigorous, evidence-based analysis, with subjects steered by Rutgers professors and researchers.

“We touch upon a wide range of public policy issues,” Cooner stated. “We want our research to be a guide for lawmakers moving forward.”

New Jersey-specific analysis

So far, the Policy Lab has delved into wide-ranging subjects, from the legalization of marijuana to meals safety to the housing market. A dedication to fairness and inclusivity is one thing that Cooner stated is integral to the middle’s mission.

“We are driven by the goal to make the world a better place, starting with our little state of New Jersey,” Cooner stated. “We can come together to create policies that serve everyone in the state equally.”

“We can then guide decision-making based off of what we know,” she stated.

Credit: (NJ State Policy Lab/Rutgers)
The New Jersey State Policy Lab’s illustration of the way it works

State Sen. Andrew Zwicker (D-Mercer) is an avid advocate for the Policy Lab. As the communications chief on the Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University, Zwicker stated he understands the need for analysis initiatives devoted to New Jersey points. He stated that there’s an simple worth in nonpartisan analysis, but it surely’s futile if nobody sees it.

“The public deserves to have New Jersey-specific research and policy results backed up by facts outside of politics,” Zwicker stated.

The creation of the Policy Lab was meant to leverage enter from a big community of multidisciplinary students, neighborhood members, and coverage specialists. The vast number of stakeholders helps encourage progressive and equitable options to the state’s issues, Cooner stated.

“We need research to help us understand different problems around us, especially those that have arisen as a result of the pandemic,” she stated.

Keeping NJ at heart of innovation

Dr. Brian Bridges, the state Secretary of Higher Education, agreed that high-quality analysis is essential to make sure New Jersey stays on the heart of innovation. “This will be even more critical as our economy recovers from the pandemic, as the Policy Lab will examine how to address long-term issues facing the State and improve the lives of New Jerseyans,” Bridges stated in a press release on the launch of the middle.

In one in every of its most up-to-date research, printed in April, the Policy Lab examines the affect of COVID-19 on ladies within the office. The intention of this report is to information discussions on the place and methods to advance gender fairness in New Jersey to construct a extra inclusive economic system.

In a examine about meals waste and safety from 2021, the lab explored the problem of natural waste discount and its position in New Jersey’s future sustainability. “New Jersey has the potential to meet the national goal of reducing waste by 50% by 2030 and the state goal of reducing GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions by 80% of 2006 levels by 2050,” concluded the report.

At the tip of every of its main reviews, the Policy Lab lists coverage suggestions for lawmakers to make use of of their deliberation processes. Cooner stated the Policy Lab can also be creating a singular database that will characteristic the work of different universities from throughout the state. “It’s a collaborative effort,” she stated.

While it’s nonetheless early to find out the affect on coverage, Zwicker is assured that the Policy Lab has an necessary future forward. “I expect them to be more impactful as they continue on,” he stated.

And to date, it continues to have the assist of the governor, who included $1 million in new funding in his state finances for the 2023 fiscal 12 months.

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