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.

Low-income families in N.J. least likely to have claimed expanded child tax credit, study finds

By: - March 17, 2022

The expanded child tax credit was a lifeline to low-income families, who spent the majority of the benefit on necessities like food, clothing, rent, and utilities, according to a new report by the Rutgers Center for Women and Work and the New Jersey State Policy Lab. And though nearly every household with children qualified for some form […]

N.J. Supreme Court reverses ruling that had expanded Miranda rights

By: - March 17, 2022

The New Jersey Supreme Court declined to make a sweeping change to Miranda rights rules in a 3-2 decision Wednesday that the two dissenting judges said will “erode faith in our criminal justice system.” The opinion reverses a lower court ruling that had been in favor of Anthony Sims Jr., a man convicted of a 2014 attempted […]

Lawmakers hear pleas for increased focus on mental health of students

By: - March 15, 2022

Amy Kennedy received a call this week that a former student of hers had died after a drug overdose. The funeral will be the third in the past six months for students she taught while she was a public school teacher, Kennedy said Monday as she urged lawmakers to take immediate steps to address the […]

Murphy plan would use $305M to build 3,000 affordable housing units

By: - March 14, 2022

As the affordable housing crisis worsens nationally, Gov. Phil Murphy wants to dedicate $305 million to construct affordable housing units, a plan advocates say would remove funding obstacles for thousands of homes across New Jersey. Murphy presented the plan during his budget address Tuesday, calling for $305 million in federal American Rescue Plan dollars to be […]

Lawmakers spar with labor commissioner over unemployment problems

By: - March 11, 2022

State senators grilled Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo during a contentious three-hour hearing Thursday, criticizing him over the state’s handling of the unemployment crisis at the height of the pandemic and questioning him about why they still hear from residents who say they haven’t received benefits they should have received long ago.  Senators relayed heartbreaking stories […]

Bill would require N.J schools to accept donations for school lunches

By: - March 10, 2022

New Jersey schools would be required to establish “school meal funds” to help students buy food in school or to pay down a student’s lunch debt under a bill a Senate committee will hear Thursday. Under the measure (S1661), money from the fund would be used only to help pay for students’ breakfasts or lunches, […]

N.J. bans business with Russia, Belarus over Ukraine invasion

By: - March 9, 2022

All public entities in New Jersey are barred from doing business with Russia and any companies with ties to the country after Gov. Phil Murphy signed a new law imposing the restrictions Wednesday. The bipartisan bill (S1889) was introduced less than two weeks ago in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It passed unanimously through […]

Murphy proposes $53M fund to aid undocumented immigrants

By: - March 8, 2022

Another relief fund could be coming for undocumented immigrants under a plan Gov. Phil Murphy proposed Tuesday in his budget speech.  The governor is seeking $53 million to provide one-time direct payments to residents who file taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number and did not receive pandemic stimulus aid. If approved by lawmakers, the […]

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 […]

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 […]