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.

Judges say killer with multiple sclerosis should be released from prison

By: - May 3, 2022

An appellate panel has ruled a Morris County woman with multiple sclerosis who was convicted of killing her husband 12 years ago should be released from prison under a new law that expanded who can seek medical parole. The three judges Monday reversed a lower court’s decision that denied a petition for release by Amalia Mirasola, who has […]

All eyes on New Jersey as it grapples with letting cops use cannabis

By: and - April 29, 2022

During his decade in law enforcement, AJ Jacobs fell into a trap of cracking open a beer after a long, stressful shift in the suburbs of Phoenix. Jacobs didn’t spend much time with his family — he had the “super cop” mentality to work all the time, he said. But after 11 years on the […]

Bill would require more drug testing for bus drivers

By: - April 28, 2022

As lawmakers debate whether police officers should be able to consume cannabis while off duty, two Republican say they plan to introduce a bill requiring all public and private school bus drivers be drug tested twice a year.  Under current federal law, school bus drivers are subject to annual random drug tests. School districts or […]

Critics assail plans for a new power plant in Newark

By: - April 27, 2022

One by one, Newark residents and environmentalists sounded off Tuesday on why the Passaic Valley Sewage Commission should not build a new power plant in the city’s Ironbound section. A lifelong resident said she wouldn’t want to raise her children in Newark because of the air pollution. An environmental activist said a fourth power plant […]

Reports of antisemitism in N.J. reached record levels in 2021, group says

By: - April 27, 2022

At Princeton University in May 2021, Jewish students were verbally harassed outside an academic building. Four months later, a Teaneck man smashed the windows of a doctor’s office with a hammer, demanding to know whether patients were Jewish. And during Hanukkah that year, a sticker with a swastika was found outside a Mount Laurel synagogue.  […]

Lawmakers grill N.J. health commissioner on N.J.’s COVID response

By: - April 26, 2022

Lawmakers sparred with Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli during a budget hearing Monday, criticizing the state’s COVID response and blasting Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration for the high death toll in the state’s nursing homes. Persichilli appeared in front of the Assembly Budget Committee to discuss some of the initiatives the Department of Health wants […]

N.J. officials not worried about weed supply going into first weekend of recreational sales

By: - April 22, 2022

People had plenty of reasons to worry that New Jersey would fumble the rollout of recreational weed sales Thursday morning. Between the delays in launching the market to worries over low supply, some were concerned about how Day 1 would go. But the launch of recreational marijuana sales went relatively pain-free, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory […]

‘It’s cannabis Christmas!’ N.J. celebrates the first day of legal recreational marijuana

By: and - April 21, 2022

Nearly 48 years ago, Marie Holmes sparked a joint for the first time. Since then, she’s experienced the stigma surrounding cannabis usage, the ways consuming weed has changed, and finally, legalization in her home state. “And now I get to use my senior discount,” she laughed. “It’s been way too long since we needed this […]

Another power plant might still come to Newark, despite residents’ pleas to stop

By: - April 21, 2022

At 9 years old, Destiny Tate is already worried about the over-pollution of Newark. She has friends in her third-grade classes who have asthma and said the air stinks when she leaves her Ironbound home in the morning.  “A lot of people want to go outside and enjoy being outside and smell the nice air […]

Use federal COVID relief for housing, education, and health care, activists urge

By: - April 20, 2022

New Jersey is flush with federal pandemic relief funds, sitting on $3 billion still undesignated. Progressive activists see that as an opportunity for state officials to reach out to vulnerable populations and help all residents recover from the pandemic. During a virtual event Tuesday they dubbed a “People’s Hearing,” the activists criticized the state Legislature for […]

Masks no longer required on public transit in N.J., governor says

By: - April 19, 2022

Passengers are no longer required to wear masks on NJ Transit and other forms of public transportation in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday morning. The end of New Jersey’s two-year mask mandate for train, bus, and other public transit users comes less than a day after a federal judge tossed the national mask mandate […]

As judge mulls school segregation case, lawmakers look at potential solutions

By: - April 18, 2022

The biggest difference Kelly Ribeiro saw when she switched schools was how people reacted to the Brazilian cuisine her mom packed for her lunch. At Roosevelt Middle School in Lyndhurst, kids would make fun of her for the way her food smelled or tease her for the way it looked. She asked her mom to […]