New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

  • Sen. Joe Pennacchio watches as Gov. Chris Christie signs his legislation at the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey headquarters in Trenton, N.J. on Jan. 4. (Full Story)

  • Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-26) speaking at a New Jersey State House press conference on S-2026, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” on December 5, 2016. (Full Story)

  • Sen. Joe Pennacchio received the “Alex DeCroce Public Leadership Award” at the Morris County Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Annual Economic Outlook Luncheon. (Full Story)

  • Sen. Joe Pennachcio joined Republican colleagues and state business leaders representing thousands of employers at a State House press conference on June 22, 2015 to oppose job-killing income and business tax increases proposed by Democrats. (Facebook)

  • Sen. Joe Pennacchio (right) presented the Morris County Distinguished Service WWII Medal to John Tullio (center), pictured with Fred Fucetola (left). (Facebook)

  • Sen. Joe Pennacchio speaking as a panelist with The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey at The State of Black New Jersey Conference on April 16, 2015. Also pictured are Asw. BettyLou DeCroce and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean. (Facebook)

  • Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) discussing bi-state DRPA reform legislation during a press conference with Pennsylvania officials in front of the Ben Franklin Bridge in Camden, NJ on April 24, 2014. (Press Release)

  • Senator Joe Pennacchio took the oath of office during the reorganization meeting of the 2014-2015 New Jersey Senate on January 14, 2014 to represent the people of the 26th Legislative District. (Facebook)

  • Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) addresses a speaker during a Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee public hearing on the fiscal year 2014 State Budget on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (Patti Sapone/The Star-Ledger)

  • Maritza B. Byrne was confirmed by the New Jersey Senate to be a Judge of the Superior Court on February 7, 2013. Byrne joined Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) on the floor of the Senate for her confirmation vote.

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Has Questions for Fired Veterans’ Homes Bosses

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Says They Should Receive Some of the First Subpoena’s When Senate Convenes Select Committee to Investigate COVID Response

Days after Governor Murphy announced a change of command at the COVID-ravished state-run veterans’ nursing homes in Paramus and Menlo Park, Senator Joe Pennacchio said the replaced administrators have some explaining to do.

Senator Pennacchio wants fired veterans’ homes administrators’ names on the subpoena list for Senate Select Committee COVID investigation. (SenateNJ.com)

“As a legislator, I have plenty of questions that need to be answered, and I know the countless families who lost loved ones to the virus outbreak in these homes have questions,” said Pennacchio (R-26).

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: ‘Now We’re Talking About a Second Wave. I’d Really Be Interested to Find Out What Happened with the First Wave.’

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Senator’s Words Challenged Senate Veterans Committee to Unearth to Truth

Senator Joe Pennacchio before voting on a Senate Joint Resolution (SJR-80) calling on Congress to release funds to offset COVID-19 related losses to New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs-run veteran memorial homes.

Senator Pennacchio renewed his call for a Senate Select Committee with subpoena powers to investigate the COVID tragedy within the walls of veterans and nursing homes. (Pixabay)

“One has to ask why we’re asking for money from the federal government when our veterans’ homes are all state run. Why are we not using the more than $2 billion of CARES funds the state received? Why didn’t we utilize the USS Comfort, the Javits Center, field hospitals, or at least their staffs and the personal protective equipment when they were here? Why did we send them away?

“The state, by its own admissions, says 7,100 dead seniors in long-term nursing facilities. One out of every 10 long-term nursing facilities residents are dead. Continue Reading…

Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Kristin Corrado
Senator Steve Oroho

Pennacchio, Corrado & Oroho Welcome New Leadership at New Jersey’s Veterans’ Homes

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Call for More Accountability and Transparency in Wake of Tragic COVID Outbreaks

After news of a leadership shake-up at the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Senator Joe Pennacchio, Senator Kristin Corrado and Senator Steve Oroho called the changes “necessary and long over-due.”

After news of a leadership shake-up at the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Senator Pennacchio, Senator Corrado and Senator Oroho called the changes ‘necessary and long over-due.’ (SenateNJ.com)

“While I am pleased this is an attempt to address some of the administration’s failures, there still is much work to be done after the disastrous COVID toll in all of our nursing homes,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “An independent legislative review, a Senate Select Committee with subpoena powers, is still necessary to determine how more than 7,100 people died in nursing homes across the state to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Governor Willing to Investigate Trump; Why Aren’t Senate Democrats Willing to Investigate 7,100 dead Nursing Home Residents?

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Governor Murphy acknowledged that his administration is investigating President Trump’s fundraiser in Bedminster as a possible violation of his own executive orders, but the pandemic conditions inside New Jersey veterans’ and nursing homes remain obscured.

While the Governor is investigating the President’s fundraiser, Senator Pennacchio today renewed his call for a Senate Select Committee investigation of the administration’s handling of COVID inside veterans and nursing homes. (Pixabay)

“During the final days of the presidential election, Murphy wants to roll out his own version of an October Surprise,” said Senator Joe Pennacchio. “What we really need is an investigation into the deadly operations in our long-term care residences.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: As Bodies Keep Piling Up, New Jersey Senate Does Nothing

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Review Determines 47 More Veterans’ Homes Residents Died from Virus, Bringing Total Close to 200

The COVID death toll at New Jersey veterans’ homes has been increased by almost 50 after a review of state records, a development that exemplifies the need for more investigation, said Senator Joe Pennacchio.

The COVID death toll at NJ veterans’ homes was increased by almost 50 after a review of state records. Senator Pennacchio said that exemplifies the need for more investigation of the state’s pandemic policies. (SenateNJ.com)

Pennacchio, since May, has been calling for a Senate Select Committee with subpoena powers to scrutinize the Murphy Administration’s policies and decisions impacting coronavirus in long-term care facilities.

“The situation in the veterans’ homes may be emblematic of all the nursing homes in New Jersey,” said Pennacchio. “The state has full control over the veterans’ facilities. While the Administration has been quick to point fingers at private homes, the loss of life in veterans’ centers has been far worse.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: NJ Legislature Should be Embarrassed by Massachusetts Investigation into Deaths in Senior Facilities

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Says the Loss of Life at Veterans’ and Nursing Homes Demands Inquiry

The coronavirus pandemic began hitting New Jersey and Massachusetts at close to the same time, and it wasn’t long before both states were seeing a disturbing loss of life in veterans’ homes and nursing homes.

Senator Pennacchio said Massachusetts nursing home investigation demonstrates need for the Senate to convene a Legislative panel in New Jersey. (SenateNJ.com)

A half year later, Massachusetts has completed an inquiry into the problems that led to tragedy, and a grand jury has indicted several top officials from a particularly hard-hit veterans facilities.

“Massachusetts took the bull by the horns,” said Senator Joe Pennacchio, who has been calling for a Senate Select Committee to investigate the state’s handling of COVID in long-term care facilities since May. “I take no pleasure in hearing that anybody has been criminally indicted, but I am trying to get at the truth and I can’t understand why our Legislature is sitting on its hands.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Michael Testa

Senate Passes Pennacchio & Testa Bill Bolstering Access to Government Records

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The Bipartisan Measure Addresses Limits in the Emergency Health and Powers Act that Interfere with Transparency 

Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senator Michael Testa that would lift restrictions on access to public and government records during declared emergencies was approved today by the Senate.

Legislation sponsored by Senator Pennacchio and Senator Testa that would lift restrictions on access to public and government records during declared emergencies was approved today by the Senate. (SenateNJ.com)

During the current pandemic, the Murphy Administration has repeatedly relied on sections of the Health Powers Act, enacted in 2005, to deny Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests for information about preparations and decisions relating to the virus outbreak.

“The Act was never intended to keep the public in the dark in times of crisis,” said Pennacchio (R-26), “but today it is being used to conceal data and information on decisions impacting public health and fiscal stability from public and legislative scrutiny.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Calls on Health Commissioner to Approve Rapid Results COVID Test to Protect Nursing Homes from Virus

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Says State Department of Health Not Serving Governor Well

An affordable COVID test that produces results in minutes is available, and according to a published report, nursing homes would like to use it to test people coming into the facilities. Administrators, however, say the state will not allow it.

Senator Pennacchio said nursing homes should be allowed to use an affordable COVID rapid response test to screen nursing home visitors and protect vulnerable residents. (Flickr)

“It’s frustrating,” said Senator Joe Pennacchio, an out-spoken critic of the Murphy Administration’s nursing home policies that contributed to the loss of more than 7,000 senior residents of long-term care locations. “The state is concerned about the accuracy of these tests, but this could have implications for the entire state if it turns out to be reliable.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Steve Oroho
Senator Tom Kean

Senate Republicans Launch Online Petition Urging Bipartisan Investigation of 7,000+ Deaths at Nursing & Veterans Homes, LTC Facilities

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Special Investigative Committee Would Hold Those Responsible Accountable, Develop Effective Reforms, Keep Resident Safe

Senate Republicans launched an online petition to enlist the public’s support to convince legislative leaders to allow a special bipartisan committee with subpoena power to investigate the massive loss of life in New Jersey’s nursing homes, veterans homes, and long-term care (LTC) facilities due to COVID-19.

The online petition can be signed at https://www.senatenj.com/petitions/nursinghomes/.

Senate Republicans launched an online petition to convince legislative leaders to allow a special bipartisan committee with subpoena power to investigate the massive loss of life in New Jersey’s nursing homes, veterans homes, and long-term care facilities due to COVID-19. (Flickr)

“Since May, Senate Republicans have called for a thorough, bipartisan, and transparent investigation into the massive loss of life at our long-term care facilities,” said Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-21). “We believe the families and loved ones of victims deserve to hear the truth and to know that those responsible will be held accountable. Current residents deserve to know that the failures that led to thousands of deaths have been thoroughly investigated and understood, and that effective reforms have been developed and implemented to keep them safe. Unfortunately, our repeated calls for the Legislature to form a special committee with subpoena power to perform this legitimate oversight of the executive branch have been ignored. Our online petition will give the public the opportunity to send the message that the Legislature shouldn’t shirk its responsibility to protect New Jerseyans.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Committee Clears Pennacchio Bill Supporting Multigenerational Households

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Creates Commission to Study Options to Long-Term Nursing Facilities

Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio to make it easier for senior citizens to live with family members and avoid moving to long-term care facilities was approved by the Senate Community & Urban Affairs Committee today.

Senator Pennacchio’s legislation to make it easier for senior citizens to live with family members and avoid moving to long-term care facilities cleared the Senate Community & Urban Affairs Committee today. (Pixabay)

Pennacchio’s bill, S-2727, would establish the Multigenerational Family Housing Continuity Commission to research, solicit and consider public input, and adopt recommendations on how to most effectively advance the goal of enhancing multigenerational family housing opportunities.

“The commission will consider the merits of more sensible rules that could strengthen families and communities. They will determine strategies to encourage local officials to work with families to keep them together, not split them apart,” said Pennacchio.

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