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.

Lawmakers weigh six-month bag ban delay for food pantries

By: - March 17, 2022

New Jersey’s ban on disposable plastic bags is set to go into effect in May, but the state’s food banks and pantries could be exempted from those rules for a while longer. On Thursday, the Assembly State and Local Government Committee will weigh a bill exempting the aid organizations from the law for an additional […]

After decade in limbo, lawmakers may debate bill to criminalize bribery for office seekers

By: - March 16, 2022

A bill that would extend the state’s bribery laws to candidates for political office is set to be heard by an Assembly committee Thursday after nearly 10 years in stasis. The bill’s introduction and its apparent renewal were spurred by bribery charges against two former assemblymen whose cases were dismissed after judges ruled the state’s […]

Residents urged to seek aid as utility shutoff moratorium lapses

By: - March 15, 2022

State officials urged residents behind on their utility bills to seek aid from the state or their utility providers Tuesday, warning the end of a winter moratorium could lead to shutoffs for hundreds of thousands of residents. “The funding is there. We want you to come forward and apply for it. We do not want […]

Lawmakers weigh changes to bail reform, citing uptick in gun violence

By: - March 15, 2022

It would be harder for people charged with some gun crimes to be released from jail before trial under a bill advanced by an Assembly panel Monday, a move opposed by advocates who fear a rise in incarceration split heavily along racial lines. The bill, approved by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee, shifts the […]

Gunmaker can argue against N.J. subpoena in court, appellate panel rules

By: - March 11, 2022

Smith & Wesson, the firearms manufacturers targeted by New Jersey over alleged consumer fraud violations, will get the chance to argue against a subpoena in federal court after a U.S. appellate panel revived a lawsuit that had been dismissed by a lower court judge. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday ruled a federal district […]

Bill would waive graduation testing requirement in 2023

By: - March 11, 2022

An Assembly committee unanimously advanced a bill Thursday that would waive a requirement that 11th graders pass a new test in order to graduate, citing fears that two years of disruptions at school have left students unprepared for the exam. Lawmakers, led by Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex), had initially sought to lower the passing score […]

Another 852 inmates to get early pandemic release Sunday

By: - March 10, 2022

The state will release another 852 inmates Sunday as part of a pandemic-era program to limit the spread of COVID-19 behind bars, the Department of Corrections announced Thursday, bringing the total number of people released under the program to more than 6,000. The releases are allowed under a law Gov. Phil Murphy signed in 2020. […]

Expanded rebate programs, no new taxes headline Murphy’s $49B budget proposal

By: and - March 8, 2022

Gov. Phil Murphy proposed the state spend $48.9 billion in the first budget address of his second term Tuesday, eschewing tax hikes for the second consecutive year amid surging revenues and billions in unspent federal aid. “This budget is rooted in a renewed commitment to moving our state forward, creating opportunity for every family, and […]

N.J. workers would see higher family leave, disability payments under bill

By: - March 8, 2022

Less than three years after the enactment of reforms that expanded New Jersey’s temporary disability and family leave programs, lawmakers are looking to tweak some numbers. The Senate Labor Committee on Monday approved a bill that would raise the weekly payment cap for individuals on such leave from 70% of the state’s average weekly salary […]

Lawmakers to weigh using federal stimulus to repay unemployment loans

By: - March 7, 2022

Senate lawmakers will weigh a bill Monday that would use federal aid dollars to pay off loans taken to prop up New Jersey’s unemployment trust fund. New Jersey borrowed hundreds of millions from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits when pandemic-related job losses led to the depletion of the trust fund, which pays out […]

Pandemic response winds down as governor says virus enters endemic stage

By: - March 4, 2022

New Jersey appeared to enter a new stage of the pandemic Friday as Gov. Phil Murphy suspended virus press briefings that were a linchpin in the administration’s virus response, but officials warned of a continued threat even as the governor said the state would continue to wind down its virus restrictions. The governor’s last briefing […]

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 […]