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Informed Citizens

are Better Citizens

Become An Informed Citizen

Engage with NJSBF in a whole new way. By joining our contact list you’ll receive more information on Foundation programs, trainings, and publications. You’ll also receive the latest on NJSBF materials that strive to educate everyone in New Jersey—from students to senior citizens—about their rights and responsibilities under the law.

Latest News

Lawmakers Look to Curb Harm on Social Media Platforms

by Maria Wood According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 95% of kids ages 13 to 17 are on social media, with more than a third of them admitting “they use social media ‘almost constantly.’” In May 2023, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released an...

TikTok Bans Show Difficulty of Balancing National Security and Free Speech

by Emily Pecot Since its creation in 2016, TikTok, the short-form video-sharing app, has grown significantly. Currently, TikTok has approximately 1.1 billion active users worldwide—150 million of them are in the United States where the app launched in 2018.  According...

Garden State Aims to Give Students the Tools to Spot Fact from Fiction

by Sylvia Mendoza Growing up in the age of technology, the convenience of googling information on any topic is probably second nature to you. The problem is the possibility that the information you’re getting could be inaccurate (misinformation) or purposely...

Ticketmaster’s Practices Take the Spotlight

by Emily Pecot Seeing Taylor Swift live with thousands of other “Swifties” wasn’t supposed to be impossible. In November 2022, when tickets for Swift’s “Eras” tour went on sale, Ticketmaster customers encountered website crashes, sparse availability, unusable presale...

New Jersey Considers Lowering the Voting Age for Primaries

by Michael Barbella Are you itching to cast a ballot in your first election? If you’re 17, you may get the chance. New Jersey may be joining a growing number of states that are expanding electoral rights by adjusting the state voting age. Americans have been debating...

How Young is too Young to Work?

by Maria Wood Faced with a nationwide labor shortage since the COVID-19 pandemic, several states, including New Jersey, have loosened their child labor laws to help employee-strapped businesses hire more staff. According to a June 2023 report from the Economic Policy...

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Gun Safety

by Sylvia Mendoza When an active shooter entered the Michigan State University campus on February 13, 2023, killing three students and wounding five others, for some it would be the second mass shooting they survived. Several MSU students had also survived a shooting...

Throwing a Red Flag on Gun Safety

by Michael Barbella Federal gun safety legislation signed into law by President Joseph Biden in June 2022 includes $250 million for the establishment of state crisis intervention court proceedings, including extreme risk protection orders (ERPO). Depending on what...

The Challenges of Holding Gun Manufacturers Accountable

by Daryl E Lucas In almost every other industry, if you’ve sustained an injury, you have some course of redress through the courts. Not so with the gun industry, which includes gun makers, sellers and distributors. They are shielded by the Protection of Lawful...

Is Charging Parents for School Shootings a Solution?

by Jodi L. Miller A project undertaken by The Washington Post that analyzed school shootings from 1999, the year of the Columbine High School shooting, revealed that the average age for school shooters is 16. According to a 2019 assessment published by the U.S....

Is the U.S. Constitution Dead or Alive?

by Jodi L. Miller When the U.S. Constitution was written in 1787 it took at least 30 seconds to load a musket. Could the framers of the Constitution have envisioned automatic weapons? In a time when writing daily letters was the norm could they have imagined the legal...

Maintaining Checks & Balances in Moore v. Harper

by Jodi L. Miller  The United States government is a system of checks and balances. The Founders designed it that way so that no one branch—executive, legislative or judicial—has more power than another. In June 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Moore...

U.S. Supreme Court from Origins to Reforms

by Jodi L. Miller A national survey, conducted by Marquette Law School and published in November 2022, revealed that 56% of the public disapprove of the job that the U.S. Supreme Court is doing. A Gallup poll in September 2022 put the number at 58% disapproval. Ken I....

Electing a Speaker of the House—It Can Be Complicated

by Jodi L. Miller If you happened to see the 2023 Speaker of the House election process—whether through snippets on the evening news, or maybe you watched the coverage on CSPAN—take heart, because this wasn’t the longest battle to see who would lead the U.S. House of...

Updating an Old Act

by Jodi L. Miller Election rules and procedures in the United States can be complicated. That is especially true in presidential election years because we don’t have one presidential election, we essentially have 50 separate ones. In the U.S. Constitution, Article II,...

Are States “Labs of Democracy?” Yes and No

by Jodi L. Miller In civics education, generally the U.S. Constitution gets all the attention, but every state has its own constitution too and some of them pre-date the federal constitution. An often-quoted dissenting opinion, written in 1932 by U.S. Supreme Court...

Freedom of Speech Vital to Democracy

by Jodi L. Miller Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo wrote in a majority opinion that freedom of speech “is the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom.” Other countries don’t enjoy the same right to free speech that Americans do....

Freedom of the Press Guards Against Tyranny

by Jodi L. Miller Thomas Jefferson once said, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” He also said, “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into...

Allowing the Freedom to Practice Religion or Not

by Jodi L. Miller There are more than 300 religious denominations in the United States. From those who believe in one God, to those who believe in multiple Gods, to those who don’t believe in God at all, the First Amendment’s freedom of religion clause protects them...

First Amendment Freedoms Allow For Dissent

by Jodi L. Miller From the Boston Tea Party in 1773 to the Black Lives Matter Movement today, Americans have met oppression with protest. The Founding Fathers believed strongly in a citizen’s right to express dissent, preserving the right in the First Amendment to the...

What are the procedures involved in applying for disability and what paperwork will I need?

If you are a New Jersey resident, you would most likely be eligible for NJ Temporary Disability Benefits (NJTDB) for the first six months you are out of work. There is a 3-part form available on the NJ Department of Labor website—you fill out one part, your doctor...

Can my employer require me to take time off during my pregnancy?

An employer cannot require a pregnant employee to take leave when she is able to perform the functions of her job, and, in some cases, even when she cannot. The New Jersey Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which amended the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination...

Does worker’s compensation cover long-term problems and illnesses? Do I have the right to see my own doctor if I am initially treated by an insurance company doctor?

In addition to providing treatment and compensation for work related injuries, New Jersey Workers Compensation laws also provide coverage for occupational disease such as those caused by repetitive motions, loud noises, or exposures to toxins and chemicals. Although...

What expectation of privacy do students have when using a computer wholly owned and overseen by a school district?

Use of district-owned computers typically comes with a disclaimer and requires the signing of a technology agreement between the parents and district before each school year begins. These technology agreements usually consist of a compact that the student promises not...

I have a Will; do I need Estate Planning?

Wills are just one part of Estate Plans. Wills only control assets that are in one’s sole name and become effective after death. Wills do not control joint accounts or beneficiary designations; upon death, the joint owner/beneficiary receives that asset. Estate Plans...

Why do parents of minors need Wills? Minors cannot own assets.

If a minor inherits their parents’ estate, the Courts decide who controls the child’s inheritance until age 18. A father might not want the mother (having first right) to manage his money and she will pay court fees or bond premiums to access this money. Also, the...

What happens if I am involved in an accident while driving under the influence and someone else is injured?

Driving While Intoxicated and causing injuries to another is a criminal offense, Assault by Auto under N.J.S. 2C:12-1c. Criminal offenses are heard in the County Superior Court, not the local Municipal Court. In addition to the penalties for the underlying DWI...

What recourse do I have if I am discriminated against in the workplace?

The EEOC is the federal law enforcement agency that: • Enforces laws against workplace discrimination; o Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), o Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), o Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and o Genetic Information...

What laws protect employees against discrimination?

The State of New Jersey, Division on Civil Rights (DCR) is responsible for enforcing the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, which makes it illegal to discriminate in employment, contracting, housing, and places of public accommodation, as well as violations of the...

If I am in a domestically abusive relationship and I leave, how can I protect myself?

“New Jersey enacted the Prevention Against Domestic Violence Act (“PADV”) to afford an individual in an abusive relationship the maximum protection from abuse by his/her spouse or cohabitants that the law can provide. The PADV enables a victim of domestic violence to...

Lawmakers Look to Curb Harm on Social Media Platforms

by Maria Wood According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 95% of kids ages 13 to 17 are on social media, with more than a third of them admitting “they use social media ‘almost constantly.’” In May 2023, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released an...

TikTok Bans Show Difficulty of Balancing National Security and Free Speech

by Emily Pecot Since its creation in 2016, TikTok, the short-form video-sharing app, has grown significantly. Currently, TikTok has approximately 1.1 billion active users worldwide—150 million of them are in the United States where the app launched in 2018.  According...

Garden State Aims to Give Students the Tools to Spot Fact from Fiction

by Sylvia Mendoza Growing up in the age of technology, the convenience of googling information on any topic is probably second nature to you. The problem is the possibility that the information you’re getting could be inaccurate (misinformation) or purposely...

Ticketmaster’s Practices Take the Spotlight

by Emily Pecot Seeing Taylor Swift live with thousands of other “Swifties” wasn’t supposed to be impossible. In November 2022, when tickets for Swift’s “Eras” tour went on sale, Ticketmaster customers encountered website crashes, sparse availability, unusable presale...

New Jersey Considers Lowering the Voting Age for Primaries

by Michael Barbella Are you itching to cast a ballot in your first election? If you’re 17, you may get the chance. New Jersey may be joining a growing number of states that are expanding electoral rights by adjusting the state voting age. Americans have been debating...

How Young is too Young to Work?

by Maria Wood Faced with a nationwide labor shortage since the COVID-19 pandemic, several states, including New Jersey, have loosened their child labor laws to help employee-strapped businesses hire more staff. According to a June 2023 report from the Economic Policy...

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Gun Safety

by Sylvia Mendoza When an active shooter entered the Michigan State University campus on February 13, 2023, killing three students and wounding five others, for some it would be the second mass shooting they survived. Several MSU students had also survived a shooting...

Throwing a Red Flag on Gun Safety

by Michael Barbella Federal gun safety legislation signed into law by President Joseph Biden in June 2022 includes $250 million for the establishment of state crisis intervention court proceedings, including extreme risk protection orders (ERPO). Depending on what...

The Challenges of Holding Gun Manufacturers Accountable

by Daryl E Lucas In almost every other industry, if you’ve sustained an injury, you have some course of redress through the courts. Not so with the gun industry, which includes gun makers, sellers and distributors. They are shielded by the Protection of Lawful...

Is Charging Parents for School Shootings a Solution?

by Jodi L. Miller A project undertaken by The Washington Post that analyzed school shootings from 1999, the year of the Columbine High School shooting, revealed that the average age for school shooters is 16. According to a 2019 assessment published by the U.S....
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