New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: NJ Will Have to Care for Influx of Homeless Residents If Marijuana Is Legalized

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) urged Governor-elect Murphy and legislators to consider the impact legalizing marijuana could have on homelessness in New Jersey, pointing to concerning trends in states that have already legalized the drug.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio urged Governor-elect Murphy and legislators to consider the impact legalizing marijuana could have on homelessness in New Jersey, citing concerning trends in Colorado. (CC0 Public Domain)

“Now that weed is legal in Colorado, homeless people are arriving in droves, while longtime residents are fleeing to other states,” Senator Pennacchio added. “Governor Hickenlooper implored the Colorado Legislature to use marijuana tax dollars to build new housing for the homeless – money that was supposed to pay for law enforcement, healthcare, and treatment. Governor-elect Murphy: don’t be surprised if you’re forced to do the same thing in New Jersey. That revenue you are counting on to pay for your agenda will soon disappear.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Calls on Murphy to Support Legislation Allowing State Taxpayers to Fully Deduct Property Taxes

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Legislation Would Eliminate $10,000 Cap on State Property Tax Deduction

Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) called on Governor-elect Phil Murphy to support his newly introduced legislation that would allow New Jersey homeowners and renters to fully deduct their property taxes, eliminating the existing $10,000 limit on the state property tax deduction.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio called on Governor-elect Phil Murphy to support his new legislation allowing New Jersey homeowners and renters to fully deduct their property taxes. (SenateNJ.com)

“Governor-elect Murphy and many state lawmakers of both parties have vocally opposed federal tax reforms that would limit the federal deductibility of property taxes to $10,000,” said Pennacchio. “At the same time, few have discussed the negative impact of New Jersey’s long-standing $10,000 limit on our state’s property tax deduction. Rather than simply criticizing officials in Washington, Governor-elect Murphy should see this as an opportunity to work with lawmakers in Trenton to fix something that we have the power to fix to make New Jersey more affordable.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Pennacchio Hosting Holiday Toy Drive at His Montville District Office

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Toy Donations Will Be Collected Through Friday, December 15th

Senator Joe Pennacchio’s legislative office will continue its holiday tradition of collecting toy donations to support local organizations that help children. All are encouraged to drop off new, unwrapped toys at the Senator’s district office in Montville.

Pictured are toys collected in 2016 for local organizations by Sen. Joe Pennacchio’s legislative office. Donations will again be collected at his Montville office through Friday, December 15, 2017 . (SenateNJ.com)

“The holiday season is a time for us to come together to support those in need, and teach our own children the value of making a difference in the lives of the less fortunate,” Senator Pennacchio (R-Essex, Morris, Passaic) said. “It is truly a privilege to open our doors as a collection site for children in need. I urge my constituents to take the time to make a donation and embrace the spirit of generosity that this season inspires.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Bill Would Provide Consumers Access to Three Free Credit Reports Annually

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Says Stream of Hacks & Data Breaches Increases Need for Consumer Vigilance

Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) has introduced legislation to help consumers to better protect themselves from credit fraud and identity theft following a string of massive hacks and security breaches that have exposed the personal details of millions of Americans.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio’s legislation would allow consumers to obtain three free credit reports annually to better guard against credit fraud and identity theft. (©iStock)

“Our most sensitive financial information is held in massive online databases that we’re promised are secure,” said Pennacchio. “Too often, however, we’ve found that the financial institutions and retailers that we trusted weren’t able to keep our private information safe. Their repeated failures have put virtually every American at risk for credit fraud and identity theft. We need to give people the tools to fight back.”

Pennacchio’s new legislation would allow New Jersey consumers to obtain three free credit reports annually from each of the credit reporting agencies.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Crime is Up in Colorado, Don’t Pay for Legal Pot With People’s Lives

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Pennacchio Points to Colorado’s Rising Crime Rate as Another Reason Not to Rush into Legalizing Weed in NJ 

Senate Republican Whip Joe Pennacchio (R-26) urged legislative leaders and Governor-elect Phil Murphy not to put innocent families at risk by rushing to legalize marijuana in New Jersey, in light of reports that crime rates have actually risen in Colorado since the state enacted full legalization of the drug.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio urged legislative leaders and Governor-elect Murphy not to put innocent families at risk by rushing to legalize marijuana in New Jersey. (Pixabay)

“Our first priority as legislators must be to protect the people we were elected to serve,” Senator Pennacchio said. “Crime rates in Colorado are rising faster than almost anywhere else in the country. That’s not a coincidence. We cannot allow this to happen in New Jersey. Governor-elect Murphy – don’t pay for legal pot with people’s lives. It’s not worth it.”

In New Jersey, violent crime has dropped every year for five straight years. In Colorado, the increase in crime in 2016 was more than 11 times the average increase in the 30 largest cities in the nation. Denver Police statistics show an increase in all types of crime rates since legalization, including a 20 percent increase in drug violations and a 237 percent increase in crimes such as public drunkenness.

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Senator Anthony Bucco
Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Steve Oroho

Bucco/Oroho/Pennacchio ‘Lake Hopatcong Fund’ Passes Senate Committee

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Legislation sponsored by Senate Republicans Anthony Bucco, Steven Oroho and Joe Pennacchio to establish the “Lake Hopatcong Fund” has passed the Senate Environment Committee.

Sens. Anthony Bucco, Steven Oroho and Joe Pennacchio sponsor legislation to establish “The Lake Hopatcong Fund,” which would dedicate $500,000 annually to preserve and maintain the lake. (Lake Hopatcong Foundation)

S-2389 would dedicate $500,000 annually to the “Lake Hoptacong Fund,” for the protection, preservation, restoration, maintenance, management and enhancement of New Jersey’s largest state-run lake. The funds would come from license fees required to operate power boats on nontidal waters.

“Lake Hopatcong brings in millions in revenue for the state each year,” Senator Bucco (R-Morris, Somerset) said. “Our economy will suffer if we don’t find a stable way to pay for annual weed harvesting and stormwater management. We shouldn’t have to scramble every year to find the money we need to keep boaters and swimmers safe. I believe that our bill is a fiscally-responsible solution to this problem. I will continue to do everything I can to get it signed into law.”

We fought hard to ensure the Fiscal Year 2018 budget included funding to protect Lake Hopatcong, but a one-time payment is not enough,” Senator Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) said. “The lake has become overrun with invasive weeds and the problem seems to get worse every year. Setting up a permanent, dedicated funding source for preservation and maintenance is the best way to ensure future generations can enjoy this treasured natural resource.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Not So Fast Legalizing Weed

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Senate Republican Whip Joe Pennacchio (R-26) today condemned the mad dash to legalize marijuana in New Jersey, citing the drastic increase in weed-related traffic fatalities in states that have enacted full legalization.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio condemned the mad dash to legalize marijuana in New Jersey, citing the drastic increase in weed-related traffic fatalities in states that have enacted full legalization. (Pixabay)

In Colorado, marijuana-related traffic fatalities rose 48-percent since the state legalized the drug in 2014. Pennacchio also noted that many police departments in New Jersey – the most densely populated state in the nation – do not have enough resources or accurate tools to spot and effectively prosecute stoned drivers.

“Governor-elect Murphy sees a $300 million tax revenue windfall. I see a mass of heartache and trouble,” Senator Pennacchio said. “New Jersey’s roadways are extremely congested and we don’t have a full-proof weed sobriety test. A mad dash to legalization, without taking the time to examine the consequences, is a recipe for disaster.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

On Behalf of NJ’s Children, Pennacchio & Webber Thank and Appreciate Advocates for Their Support of Child-Protection Legislation

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Legislation (S-2917/A-4442) sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio and Assemblyman Jay Webber has earned the support and advocacy of Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey and the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

A bill sponsored by Sen. Joe Pennacchio and Asm. Jay Webber to protect school children from chronic abusers has earned the support and advocacy of Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey and the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault. (©iStock)

The legislation would tighten-up reporting and disclosure requirements between and among education employers so that chronic child abuses will not escape detection or get recycled through the system to prey again on other children at different schools. The legislation would remedy the problem of insidious silence that has permitted the migration of child predators between and among schools and our children.

Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey and the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault have joined forces to push for sponsorship and passage of this child-protective legislation, according to their joint statement in support of S2917/A4442.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Named “Guardian of Small Business”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Passaic, Essex, Morris) was honored by the National Federation of Independent Business New Jersey chapter for his support of small businesses throughout New Jersey.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio was named a “Guardian of Small Business” by NFIB New Jersey. (©iStock)

“I’m happy to fight for small businesses, because they do so much for our state and their communities,” Senator Pennacchio said. “These are family-run operations and they put a lot of time and hard work into growing and protecting jobs for their employees. They will always have my support.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Sen. Pennacchio & Exonerees, Advocates Call for Action on Bipartisan Bill to Reduce Wrongful Convictions in NJ

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State Senator Joe Pennacchio, alongside exonerees, advocates, members of the NAACP, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senator Anthony Bucco, held a press conference on Oct. 5 calling on Legislative leaders to immediately act on his bipartisan legislation, S-3045, to reduce wrongful convictions in New Jersey.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio (at the podium), NAACP NJ President Richard Smith, Lesley Risinger, Founder of The Last Resort Exoneration Project; and AJ Nash, a wrongfully convicted and exonerated man, speak at an Oct. 5 press conference calling on Pennacchio’s, S-3045, to reduce wrongful convictions in New Jersey. (SenateNJ.com)

“Our  criminal justice system isn’t perfect. Even for an innocent person with an ironclad case, the journey towards exoneration is a steep climb, and the road to getting the restitution they deserve can be even harder,” Senator Pennacchio said. “I put forward a bipartisan solution to find out why the system is failing so many people months ago. The wrongfully convicted of New Jersey shouldn’t have to wait any longer for this Legislature to take action.”

Senator Pennacchio’s legislation (S-3045) would establish “New Jersey Innocence Study and Review Commission,” which would be charged with developing reforms to prevent wrongful convictions statewide. Inmates who are wrongfully convicted in New Jersey spend an average of ten years behind bars  before exoneration, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.

S-3045 was introduced in February. Following recent high-profile news reports of ongoing wrongful conviction cases, Sen. Pennacchio called the press conference to shed light his legislation.

“I strongly support Senator Pennacchio’s efforts to seek justice for wrongfully convicted individuals in New Jersey, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said. “Clearly, there is a critical need for this legislation. I hope that it will advance as swiftly as possible.”

Pennacchio was joined at the press conference by two people who were wrongfully convicted and exonerated: Rodney Roberts  and A.J. Nash.

Rodney Roberts  spent 17 years behind bars before being exonerated by DNA evidence and released from prison in 2014. A.J. Nash spent a decade seeking justice before being exonerated in 2013.  Both men are listed in the National Registry of Exonerations.

Also participating in the press conference were Lesley Risinger, Director of The Last Resort Exoneration Project at Seton Hall Law School, and NAACP New Jersey State conference President Richard Smith.

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