Author

Sophie Nieto-Munoz

Sophie Nieto-Munoz

Sophie Nieto-Muñoz, a New Jersey native and former Trenton statehouse reporter for NJ.com, shined a spotlight on the state’s crumbling unemployment system and won several awards for investigative reporting from the New Jersey Press Association. She was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her report on PetSmart's grooming practices, which was also recognized by the New York Press Club. Sophie speaks Spanish and is proud to connect to the Latinx community through her reporting.

Electric school bus bill sparks debate during N.J. Assembly session

By: - May 27, 2022

Republican and Democratic lawmakers clashed in the Assembly Thursday over a GOP assemblywoman’s push to derail discussion of a bill championed by environmentalists. The measure (A1282) would require the Department of Environmental Protection to implement a program replacing diesel school buses with electric buses over three years at as many as 18 school districts, at […]

Senate rejects Democrat’s request for probe of nursing home deaths

By: - May 26, 2022

State Sen. Nia Gill on Thursday demanded lawmakers vote in favor of forming an oversight committee with subpoena power to investigate the 9,100 COVID-19 deaths in New Jersey nursing homes, but Gill’s move was rejected by a narrow vote. Gill (D-Essex) characterized a probe into the deaths as one of “transparency and accountability” for the […]

Assembly hearing package of bills aimed at reducing food insecurity

By: - May 26, 2022

The state Assembly is set to vote on a package of bills addressing food insecurity Thursday. The measures all involve the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP and more commonly known as food stamps. The federally funded program provides assistance to low-income families who need help buying groceries. More than 1 million people, including […]

First month of adult-use cannabis sales in N.J. brings in $24 million

By: - May 24, 2022

One month into the nascent cannabis industry’s launch, consumers have purchased $24 million in recreational weed, regulators said during a meeting Tuesday where more permits for dispensaries were approved.  Another five medical-only dispensaries will soon be able to start selling adult-use cannabis, joining the 12 dispensaries that started selling recreational weed on April 21. The […]

Public school enrollment dropped 18K since start of pandemic, state data shows

By: - May 20, 2022

Enrollment in New Jersey’s traditional public schools fell by about 18,000 in the two years since the pandemic led to school closures and other classroom disruptions, according to new enrollment data from the state Department of Education. The losses came in the state’s urban centers and suburban districts alike. In October, Passaic reported 800 fewer […]

N.J. lawmakers seek to curb cannabis use

By: - May 16, 2022

As New Jersey nears the end of its first month of legal recreational marijuana sales, lawmakers have introduced a series of bills aimed at restricting what types of workers can use cannabis off the job. One measure (S2518), sponsored by Sen. Robert Singer (R-Ocean), would amend the state’s recreational marijuana law to ban cannabis consumption […]

Top cannabis official faces lawmakers during five-hour hearing

By: - May 13, 2022

It’s been three weeks since New Jerseyans started heading to local dispensaries to pick up legal, recreational cannabis – the start of what’s expected to be a multi-billion dollar industry that launched nearly four years after lawmakers began seriously discussing marijuana legalization. And in front of Senate President Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) and the Senate Judiciary Committee on […]

Bill would require in-person motor vehicle services for senior citizens, people with disabilities

By: - May 12, 2022

All Motor Vehicle Commission locations would be required to provide in-person services to senior citizens and people with disabilities under a new bill set for introduction this week. Sen. Tony Bucco (R-Morris), who said he plans to introduce the measure Thursday, said the requirement would end the “confusing, inconvenient policies that have plagued New Jersey […]

Proposed constitutional amendment takes aim at school redistricting

By: - May 11, 2022

While a Superior Court judge weighs whether New Jersey schools are unconstitutionally segregated, two Republican lawmakers want to amend the state constitution to bar the kind of school redistricting experts say could help desegregate schools in the Garden State. Sussex County Assemblymembers Hal Wirths and Parker Space introduced a proposed constitutional amendment last week that aims […]

Senate panel advances bills that seek improvements to unemployment system

By: - May 10, 2022

Lawmakers hoping to get jobless residents their unemployment benefits faster advanced two bills Monday aimed at improving New Jersey’s unemployment system. One bill (S2357) would make about a half-dozen changes to how the Department of Labor processes unemployment benefits, while the other (S2396) would require an annual report of the department’s work. Both bills passed […]

Using tracking devices without someone’s consent should be a crime, N.J. lawmakers say

By: - May 9, 2022

Apple AirTags are intended to give people a way to keep track of things they often misplace, like wallets and keys. But increasingly, those small tracking devices are being used to stalk people and commit other crimes, and legislators want to make that illegal.  “There’s all kinds of great uses of this technology of tracking […]

N.J. labor department chief again criticized for handling of unemployment claims

By: - May 5, 2022

Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo took another beating from lawmakers during a budget hearing Wednesday, with legislators criticizing his department for taking so long to dole out jobless benefits during the pandemic. Nearly every lawmaker on the Assembly Budget Committee shared a story of someone who has reached out to their office in need of help […]