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.

N.J. medical cannabis patients fear state won’t have enough supply soon

By: - April 13, 2022

Amy Marie Keller dislocates up to 100 joints each day. The 46-year-old, who suffers from the connective tissue disorder Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, is nearly homebound, in constant pain, and uses a cane to walk on the few days she goes out. Her body doesn’t produce collagen correctly, which causes her fingers to bend backward when she […]

N.J. medical centers given green light to sell recreational weed

By: - April 11, 2022

It’s been 1,619 days since Gov. Phil Murphy took office promising legal weed in the Garden State and we may be just weeks away from the start of sales. Thirteen medical marijuana dispensaries will soon be able to sell marijuana to any adult 21 years and older after the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission voted Monday […]

In some N.J. towns, groups attempt to block legal weed sales

By: and - April 6, 2022

When New Jersey voters approved a 2020 referendum to make recreational marijuana legal, the residents of Princeton emerged as some of legalization’s biggest champions. Seventy-five percent of voters in this progressive college town gave legal weed a thumbs-up, compared to 68% of voters statewide. But nearly two years later, as talk turns to where to […]

Thousands still waiting for money from immigrant workers fund

By: - April 4, 2022

On December 10, Josè Martinez sat with an organizer at the American Friends Service Committee to apply to the state’s Excluded New Jerseyans Fund. It’s been nearly four months, and Martinez still hasn’t received his money, he said. He was notified in mid-March the state had accepted his and his wife’s applications, but they haven’t […]

Extended unemployment benefits will end for 20K N.J. workers

By: - March 31, 2022

Tens of thousands of people will lose their weekly unemployment benefits starting next week. The Department of Labor announced the federal unemployment program known as Extended Benefits will end for about 20,000 New Jerseyans on April 9. The program provided up to 13 weeks of additional jobless benefits for people who exhausted their 26 weeks […]

Bill would require state documents to be translated into 15 languages

By: - March 30, 2022

More than 150 languages are spoken in homes across New Jersey, one of the most diverse states in the country. Yet, important state documents and forms are usually required to be printed in only one language: English. A new bill seeks to increase that number to 15 languages, a move its supporters say would encourage […]

New division in U.S. Attorney’s Office will focus on civil rights cases

By: - March 29, 2022

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is creating a new division dedicated to enforcing federal civil rights law in New Jersey, one that will double the number of its prosecutors handling civil rights enforcement. The new division will have the “sole focus” of enforcing both civil and federal civil rights laws, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said […]

Lawmakers want N.J. high schools to start classes no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

By: - March 28, 2022

Dan Cassino starts getting his son ready for school around 7 a.m., and they leave their Glen Ridge home at 8 to get to school before the bell rings at 8:30. But next year, Cassino’s son is starting high school, where the first classes begin at 8 a.m., meaning they’ll have to get started even […]

N.J. commission says state isn’t ready to start sales of recreational weed

By: - March 24, 2022

The commission overseeing the state’s cannabis industry on Thursday gave conditional approval to dozens of potential weed growers and labs, but did not set dates for the start of recreational marijuana sales. The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission also halted a move to allow the existing eight medical marijuana dispensaries to start selling recreational weed […]

Advocates call on Legislature to desegregate N.J. schools

By: - March 24, 2022

It could be months before a Superior Court judge decides whether New Jersey schools are unconstitutionally segregated, but state lawmakers are already hearing potential solutions to the problem from activists who want to revamp how the state educates its children.  The Joint Commission on the Public Schools convened Wednesday to hear from school officials and […]

First budget hearing sees push for more child care funding, help for businesses

By: - March 22, 2022

During the nearly four hours that represented the first round of hearings on Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed $48.9 billion state budget plan, state lawmakers heard calls from advocates, business leaders, and constituents urging them to boost funding further. In testimony before legislators, witnesses asked for everything from increased wages for child care and nursing home workers […]

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 […]