Nikita Biryukov

Nikita Biryukov

Nikita Biryukov most recently covered state government and politics for the New Jersey Globe. His tenure there included revelatory stories on marijuana legalization, voting reform and Rep. Jeff Van Drew's decamp to the Republican Party. Earlier, he worked as a freelancer for The Home News Tribune and The Press of Atlantic City.

Newark ordered to negotiate vaccine mandate provisions with unions

By: - September 2, 2021

Newark is permitted to mandate its employees get vaccinated against COVID-19, but the city must negotiate portions of the order with unions that filed to block the directive, per a Public Employment Relations Commission decision released Wednesday. The decision is a partial win for police and firefighter unions, who along with other Newark municipal worker unions […]

Judges deny school districts’ appeal for changes to funding formula

By: - September 1, 2021

A three-judge panel shot down an appeal lodged by school boards in three shore counties seeking to tweak the school funding formula lawmakers approved in 2018. The school boards — including those in Brick, Jackson, Freehold, and others — sought to regain state aid lost under the funding formula changes. But the appellate panel denied the […]

New Jersey moves to boost naloxone availability

By: - September 1, 2021

New Jersey moved to expand the use of naloxone Tuesday by allowing pharmacists to dispense the opioid overdose antidote without a prescription and broadening the number of situations where the countermeasure can be used, moves that come amid a rising trend of overdoses. Activists have long sought to increase the availability of naloxone, which is […]

New Jersey could start administering vaccine boosters in September

By: - August 31, 2021

New Jersey could begin administering booster shots of the two-dose Pfizer and Modern COVID-19 vaccines on Sept. 20, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday. The booster push will see New Jersey re-open its vaccine megasites, which closed in June and July as health officials turned more of their attention to localized vaccination efforts. How many individuals […]

State won’t extend expiring unemployment benefits, Murphy says

By: - August 30, 2021

Roughly half-a-million jobless New Jerseyans will see their unemployment benefits lapse next week, and the state doesn’t plan to extend them, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday. The so-called unemployment cliff comes with the Sept. 6 expiration of federal unemployment benefits that have provided residents with hundreds of dollars each week during the pandemic. “We recognize […]

Governor Phil Murphy signing a bill

Largely uncontroversial unsigned bills factoring into Polistina swearing-in

By: - August 30, 2021

Many of the bills that would be made law if the state Senate calls a quorum to swear in Republican Vince Polistina cleared the chamber with bipartisan support, but the list isn’t without some controversial legislation. The 67 unsigned bills are wide-ranging and include measures that would mandate cultural sensitivity training for teachers, assign unemployment […]

Criminal charges for Passaic surrogate over estate dispute involving friend

By: - August 27, 2021

This story was updated with comment from an attorney for Toledo at 4:03 p.m. on Aug. 27. State authorities lodged a criminal charge against Passaic County Surrogate Bernice Toledo claiming she falsified a judgement during an estate dispute to benefit a personal friend. Toledo, 51, a Democrat, faces a single count of fourth-degree falsifying or […]

Calls grow for vaccine mandate in child care centers

By: - August 27, 2021

Gov. Phil Murphy’s new executive order requiring the state’s teachers be vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID-19 tests has a blind spot. The mandate imposed by Monday’s order extends to public and private preschools associated with a school board, but it does not cover licensed child care centers that don’t share such affiliations. Advocates said that […]

Stephen Sweeney speaking

Unsigned bills a factor in filling Senate vacancy

By: - August 26, 2021

Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s refusal to seat a new Republican senator was met with claims of partisan politics by GOP senators Wednesday, but the consequences of calling the senate back into session likely share some blame. If the Senate meets with a quorum to swear in Vince Polistina (R-Atlantic) to fill a vacancy, dozens of […]

Judiciary plan calls for demographic data collection, better access to court records

By: - August 26, 2021

The New Jersey Supreme Court unveiled its plan for reducing bias in the state’s judiciary branch on Wednesday. The nine-point plan includes a call for partnerships between lawmakers, state agencies, and jurists to increase job opportunities and training for drug court participants and those on probation, plus mandatory bias training for all court employees. “The […]

Murphy campaign request for earlier debates is denied

By: - August 25, 2021

The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission on Wednesday denied a request made by Gov. Phil Murphy’s campaign to move up the second gubernatorial debate and lone lieutenant governor debate. “As long as it’s within the prescribed statutory and regulatory timeframe, the commission isn’t called upon in the rules or the statute to get involved […]

Local leaders cheer return of UEZ funding, but criticism persists

By: - August 25, 2021

Questions about whether the Urban Enterprise Zone program actually helps residents living in designated communities have circulated for years. The 38-year-old program allows businesses in certain economically disadvantaged areas to charge consumers a reduced sales tax rate of about 3.3%, while providing them with a series of other tax breaks meant to revitalize distressed communities. […]