Author

Dana DiFilippo

Dana DiFilippo

Dana DiFilippo comes to the New Jersey Monitor from WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station, and the Philadelphia Daily News, a paper known for exposing corruption and holding public officials accountable. Prior to that, she worked at newspapers in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and suburban Philadelphia and has freelanced for various local and national magazines, newspapers and websites. She lives in Central Jersey with her husband, a photojournalist, and their two children.

Jail’s roof repair a reminder of N.J.’s stalled reforms on youth incarceration

By: - March 16, 2022

A new roof for a state building is the sort of ho-hum thing most New Jerseyans would ignore. Even New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy didn’t think the roof — for a youth prison in Bordentown — was worth a mention in the $48.9 billion state budget proposal he unveiled last week. The roof at the Female […]

Bill would require food delivery drivers to beef up liability insurance

By: - March 15, 2022

New Jersey lawmakers advanced a bill Monday that would set high insurance liability limits for food delivery drivers, with industry representatives and even the lawmakers themselves saying the limits might be too high. The bill, sponsored by Senate President Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), would require drivers for companies like DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats to carry […]

Court ruling on police records a win for transparency, advocates say

By: - March 14, 2022

Public officials must release police disciplinary records in New Jersey when the public’s interest in them outweighs an officer’s confidentiality concerns, the state’s top court ruled Monday. Reformers, who have been fighting to open police records for years to increase accountability for misconduct, hailed the decision as a significant win for transparency. New Jersey Supreme […]

Bill would OK civil forfeiture funds for minority recruitment, training

By: - March 14, 2022

A bill now before the New Jersey Legislature would allow law enforcement agencies to spend civil forfeiture funds on diversity training for officers, minority recruitment, and community outreach. The legislation has raised eyebrows among criminal justice reformers, who have long lambasted civil forfeiture as a problematic police practice that disproportionately impacts low-income communities of color. “These are […]

Disgraced ex-Paterson mayor charged anew after making forbidden bid for office

By: - March 11, 2022

Former Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres was charged Friday with criminal contempt for launching a new mayoral campaign despite a 2017 criminal conviction that barred him from seeking public office again. Acting Attorney General Matt Platkin announced the fourth-degree charge against Torres, 63, who said last month he would challenge Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh in this […]

Murphy’s budget plan adds millions in K-12 school aid, expands free preschool

By: - March 10, 2022

New Jersey schools would get an extra $650 million in state funding and millions more to expand free preschool under the $48.9 billion budget proposal Gov. Phil Murphy announced this week. Murphy’s plan would boost K-12 funding to almost $19.2 billion. The governor detailed his school spending plan during a visit Thursday to James Monroe […]

Murphy budget proposal boosts criminal justice spending

By: - March 9, 2022

New Jersey’s correctional officers would get fatter paychecks, prisoner re-entry programs would get millions more in funding, and corrections oversight would be beefed up under the $48.9 billion budget proposal Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday. The plan, which Murphy detailed during an hourlong address in the Statehouse in Trenton, hints at the governor’s criminal justice priorities […]

Murphy proposes $60M ‘fee holiday’ for state parks, marriage and driver’s licenses

By: - March 8, 2022

If you’re one of those people whose eyes glaze over when talk turns to taxes and things like debt defeasance, Gov. Phil Murphy has one word for you: freebies. One of Murphy’s budget recommendations is a year’s worth of fee waivers for a hodgepodge of items, an idea mocked as a gimmick by the governor’s […]

N.J.’s top court delivers transparency win in records fight over jail guard’s retirement

By: - March 7, 2022

The New Jersey Supreme Court has ordered Cumberland County to publicly release a settlement agreement that allowed a correctional officer to retire in good standing, despite his admission he had “inappropriate relationships” with two inmates and brought contraband into the county jail. Monday’s ruling will protect public access to all settlement agreements involving public agencies, advocates […]

School mask mandate ends in N.J. as debate over masking continues

By: and - March 7, 2022

Monday morning marked the first time in two years Heather Schwarz walked into a Hazlet school building without her mask on. Schwarz, curriculum director for the 2,800-student district, told the New Jersey Monitor she thinks — after nearly two years of forced masking — everyone is ready to decide on their own whether to mask […]

N.J. comptroller’s office to examine police accountability statewide

By: - March 7, 2022

The Office of the State Comptroller is launching a new project aimed at ferreting out fraud, misconduct, waste, and abuse in law enforcement agencies statewide. The goal is to uncover systemic problems that can cost taxpayers a bundle when people sue police departments for civil rights violations or other wrongdoing. Researchers also will identify inefficiencies […]

On COVID’s two-year anniversary in N.J., mixed reviews for Murphy and team

By: , and - March 4, 2022

To some, Gov. Phil Murphy is a power-grabby politician whose bungled pandemic response nearly cost him re-election and who heartlessly abandoned his post for vacations in Italy and Costa Rica as thousands of New Jerseyans lie sick with the coronavirus. To others, Murphy is a hero whose quick action in the pandemic’s early days, and […]