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.

Murphy to announce health care for undocumented children in budget address

By: - March 8, 2022

Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to announce an $11 million plan to provide health care for thousands of undocumented children in his budget address Tuesday afternoon, the New Jersey Monitor has learned.  The initiative would be an expansion of his “cover all kids” pledge, which he made in his budget speech last year. More than […]

Bill advances that would eliminate a ‘burdensome’ test for would-be teachers

By: - March 8, 2022

To become a public school teacher in New Jersey, you have to obtain a bachelor’s degree, complete a teacher preparation program, student teach for at least 12 weeks, and pass at least one Praxis exam. You also must pass a performance-based test known as edTPA, which requires turning in a portfolio of lesson plans, video […]

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 […]

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 […]

N.J. school segegration case in judge’s hands after hearing

By: - March 3, 2022

A potentially historic case that could determine whether New Jersey’s schools are unconstitutionally segregated now lies in the hands of Superior Court Judge Robert Lougy, who declined to make a decision Thursday after hearing nearly three hours of arguments. Lawyers focused on a motion filed by plaintiffs requesting Lougy decide schools are unconstitutionally segregated, rather […]

N.J.’s school segregation lawsuit returns to court this week

By: - March 2, 2022

A lawsuit hinging on a study that found New Jersey schools are some of the most segregated in the country will return to the courtroom this week, with plaintiffs hoping for a major shift in state policies regulating where children attend school. The lawsuit claims New Jersey’s requirement that public school students attend schools in […]

Crowds race to apply for immigrant worker fund before deadline

By: - March 1, 2022

With hours left before applications for the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund closed, dozens of people lined a sidewalk on South Warren Street in Trenton, documents in hand. One by one, they made their way to a community organizer who helped them fill out an application for their last chance at some of the millions set aside […]

N.J.’s school mask mandate to stay in place until next week

By: - February 28, 2022

Gov. Phil Murphy is not lifting his mask mandate for schools early, despite new guidance from the federal government that says students in places like New Jersey may not have to wear masks indoors. The Murphy administration said Monday it will keep March 7 as the end date for required masking in schools and child […]

Bill seeks to expand protections for employees who breastfeed

By: - February 28, 2022

The Assembly is slated to vote on a bill Monday that would clarify protections for breastfeeding employees and ensure they’re accommodated under New Jersey’s anti-discrimination statute. The measure (A795) aims to further protections offered under a 2018 law signed by then-Gov. Chris Christie that requires New Jersey employers to allow women to breastfeed or express […]

Cannabis panel paves way for THC concentrate sales

By: - February 25, 2022

No date has been set for the long-awaited launch of New Jersey’s recreational cannabis industry, but cannabis officials are already moving for dispensaries to sell a wider array of THC products.  During the Cannabis Regulatory Commission’s meeting Thursday, officials unanimously voted to pass a waiver for medical marijuana providers to produce and sell cannabis concentrates.  […]

Teachers ask legislators for solutions on short staffing

By: - February 24, 2022

For two years, school officials have sounded the alarm over veteran teachers burning out because of short staffing, the impact on education when teachers have more than 20 students in one classroom, and the plummeting number of college graduates pursuing a career in education.  On Tuesday, educators met again with lawmakers on the Committee for […]

Fears grow that Black businesses will be left out of recreational marijuana market

By: and - February 23, 2022

Jersey City plant shop owner Shayla Cabrera has eyed the cannabis industry for years, dreaming of growing and selling her own cannabis crop in a market where sales are expected to top one billion dollars the first year. As a Black woman, Cabrera has an edge in the highly competitive race to snag the limited number of […]