Morris County Senators Joe Pennacchio and Anthony Bucco introduced a resolution urging the return of Joanne Chesimard from Cuba. Chesimard was convicted of murdering New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster during a 1973 stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. She escaped to Cuba from prison and was granted asylum by Fidel Castro, and the New Jersey State Police and the FBI are offering up to $2 million for information leading to her capture.
“Joanne Chesimard’s long overdue return to U.S. law enforcement should have been a no-brainer for the President to execute during his negotiations with Cuban leaders,” Pennacchio said. “This is a woman who caused tragedy by ending the life of a man dedicated to protecting and serving New Jersey residents and our freedom. She is on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List and has been shielded from justice by adversaries, so we urge our President to demand this justice for New Jerseyans and America as he works to restore ties with Cuba.”
Senator Joe Pennacchio called for the now dormant New Jersey Select Committee on Investigation to turn its attention to reforming the troubled Delaware River Port Authority.
“It’s abundantly clear that Democrats have used the legislature’s joint Select Committee on Investigation as a political tool to advance their own agendas, not to enact reforms for the people of New Jersey,” said Pennacchio, (R-Morris). “With the committee effectively put into recess today, Democrats have a last chance to put its broad powers to use for the good of taxpayers and commuters by turning its focus to bringing needed changes to the DRPA.”
Senator Joe Pennacchio announced that State Senator Sandra Cunningham has agreed to co-sponsor Senate Bill 2013 to reform and bring accountability to the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA).
“I welcome Senator Cunningham’s strong support of this vital issue,” said Pennacchio. “As a respected leader within her caucus, she brings additional energy and welcomed transparency to this issue.”
Senator Joe Pennacchio issued the following statement after the Assembly today passed legislation he sponsors reforming and bringing accountability to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey:
“It’s all well and good that Assembly Democrats finally passed this needed reform legislation for the commuters and taxpayers of North Jersey,” Pennacchio (R-Morris) said. “However, as they patted themselves on the back today, Democrats in both houses continued to neglect South Jersey residents and the need to bring accountability and transparency to the Delaware River Port Authority.”
Pennacchio Urges More Democrat, Union Leaders to Support Legislation to Revitalize Atlantic City, Strengthen Pension System
Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) urged Democrat legislative leaders and education and communications union officials to join two of the state’s largest public sector unions in supporting legislation to support both the revitalization of Atlantic City and the pension system.
In August, Senator Pennacchio introduced a constitutional amendment, SCR-134, to allow video slot wagering at the New Jersey horse racetracks. Under the proposal, which has been publicly endorsed by the Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association and the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association, revenue from the expanded gaming would be divided to support both the state’s pension system and the revitalization of Atlantic City.
Senator Bashes Double-Standard for Port Authority Reform Legislation
Senate Transportation Committeeman Joe Pennacchio said the New Jersey Legislature must stop neglecting its responsibility to serve all residents and start passing legislation to ensure accountable and transparent port authorities at both ends of the state.
“The escalating turmoil and troubles at the Delaware River Port Authority clearly show the need for New Jersey’s Senate to join Pennsylvania’s in unanimously passing bipartisan-supported reform bill S-2013,” Pennacchio said. “It’s mind boggling that we could come together here in New Jersey to unanimously pass needed reforms for the similarly troubled Port Authority of New York and New Jersey yet completely fail to act on legislation to bring the same level of accountability and trust to the DRPA.”
The Pennsylvania Senate approved an identical version of Senator Pennacchio’s legislation, S-2013, by a vote of 50-0 on Wednesday.
Two of the state’s largest public sector unions have endorsed SCR-134, a constitutional amendment proposed by New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris/Essex/Passaic) that would give the Legislature the authority to establish slot machine gambling at New Jersey’s four horse racetracks.
The so-called “racinos” would be run by a consortium of Atlantic City’s existing casinos. Fifty percent of those proceeds would be constitutionally dedicated to New Jersey’s public worker pension system, 40 percent would go to the consortium of Atlantic City casinos running the video slot machines and 10 percent would be provided for infrastructure and entertainment enhancements in Atlantic City.
Pennacchio Introduces Constitutional Amendment to Partner Racetrack and Video Slots, Aid Public Pensions
Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) has introduced a constitutional amendment to allow video slot wagering at the New Jersey horse racetracks. SCR134, which would need voter approval, allows the legislature to authorize slot machine wagering at New Jersey’s current four racetracks.
“Allowing slot machine wagering at New Jersey’s race tracks could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to support the pensions system and the revitalization of Atlantic City,” Pennacchio said. “There is an inevitability to racetrack “racinos” in New Jersey. Why not use the moment to strengthen and encourage Atlantic City and its casinos as well as increasing the solvency of our public workers pensions?”
Assistant Senate Republican Leader Joe Pennacchio urged legislative Democrats who agree on the need to address issues with the Delaware River Port Authority to follow through on their public comments by joining Pennsylvania in support of legislation to reform the troubled agency.
Pennacchio applauded the Senate President for publicly agreeing that the DRPA needs greater transparency and accountability, as well as to focus solely on its bridges and regional railway. Also, during today’s Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, Senator Pennacchio pointed out that the very same issues that concern Democrats about the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey are also issues of concern with the DRPA.
In the wake of reports that the Newark school district spent $22,000 per month for over a year on catered meals and take-out food, Senator Joe Pennacchio renewed his call for passage of the “Transparency in Government Act” to prevent abusive spending of public funding.
“Newark school district officials’ audacity to spend hundreds of thousands of public dollars on catered meals while in the midst of a $42 million budget deficit is indefensible and further proof of the need for taxpayers to have access to information of how every one of their hard-earned dollars is spent,” said Pennacchio (R-Essex, Morris, Passaic). “Unfortunately, this type of wasteful spending of state tax dollars, like the millions of tax dollars wasted by the City of Newark detailed in a recent state Comptroller report, occurs outside the public eye time and time again in authorities and cities across the state.”