New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio, Rumana Claim Red Tape Holding Up Job Creation at Port of New Jersey

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New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Essex, Morris & Passaic) and Assemblyman Scott Rumana (R – Bergen, Essex, Morris & Passaic) today both questioned why the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, a bi-state agency, has delayed the port of New Jersey from filling approximately 600 vitally needed jobs.

The Waterfront Commission was created in the early 1950s to perform background checks and eliminate the presence of organized crime in the ports.  It also has veto authority over the actual number of new hires.

“Even though management and labor have both agreed that additional staffing is needed, it still must go through a third party just to get approval for those numbers.  What other business has to subordinate themselves to a third party when dealing with hiring practices?” questioned Senator Pennacchio.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio & O’Toole: BPU Right to Recommend JCP&L Rate Decrease

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Senators Joe Pennacchio and Kevin O’Toole released the following today after it was reported that the state Board of Public Utilities filed a brief recommending JCP&L should cut customer rates by more than $200 million because the utility had earned a profit above its approved amount. The Senators have urged the BPU to reject JCP&L’s application for a $31 million rate increase.

“I commend the BPU staff for heeding calls by Senator O’Toole and I to urge that thousands of people who already pay some of the highest utility rates in the country for unreliable service will not have to cough up even more of their hard-earned money,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris). “JCP&L failed its customers here time after time in past storms, yet now tried to grab more of their hard-earned cash to further line the pockets of its parent company. The attempted rate hike was flat wrong and I hope BPU commissioners will officially act on this recommendation and put money back in the hands of the customers too often left in the dark by JCP&L.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Mike Doherty

Senate Panel Again Advances Pennacchio, Doherty Measure to Study Rail Systems

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Senators Urge Assembly Action

The Senate Transportation Committee on Monday advanced legislation sponsored by Senators Joe Pennacchio and Mike Doherty to create a Passenger Rail Study Commission to determine how to best utilize existing rail infrastructure. The Senators’ legislation, SJR-14, was passed unanimously by the Senate in each of the last two sessions but died by state Assembly inaction.

“A thorough examination of the many rail systems throughout New Jersey to create a more streamlined, efficient and cost effective mass transportation system is long overdue,” said Pennacchio. “This study has overwhelming, bipartisan support in the Senate and is rightly being fast-tracked for approval yet again. I urge my colleagues in the Assembly to get on board and give this legislation the attention it deserves in order to ease out-of-control expenses levied on the backs of taxpayers and commuters.”

“All opportunities to cut costs through consolidations or mergers should be explored to assure commuters are receiving the best service possible and that taxpayers are being protected from duplicative costs and infrastructure projects,” added Doherty (R-Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset). “Senate Republicans stand ready to work with the Senate President on our shared goal of achieving efficiencies through consolidation. However, to achieve true reform all cost-cutting solutions must be explored and the full legislature must come to the table.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Democrats’ “Search for the Truth” Very Selective

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State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) released the following statement today following the Senate vote to form a special committee to investigate the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge:

“Although most New Jersey citizens would agree closing lanes on the GWB, causing traffic, inconvenience and potential safety and health issues is an important issue, an unlawful use of public power and should be investigated, many of us also see the hand of political partisanship at work.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio, O’Toole to BPU: Deny JCP&L Rate Increases

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Senators Joe Pennacchio and Kevin O’Toole today continued their call for JCP&L’s request to raise rates on its customers across the state to be denied and urged action on legislation to hold utility companies accountable for failed service. JCP&L, which has requested a $31 million annual rate increase, was scheduled to go before the state Board of Public Utilities today for an evidentiary hearing regarding costs occurred during past storms.

“It’s outrageous that during a time when energy costs are dropping JCP&L wants to raise rates on the very customers it has repeatedly failed,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris). “JCP&L needs to be held accountable for its failings, not rewarded on the backs of customers it too often left in the dark for days and weeks during Hurricane Irene, past snowstorms and Superstorm Sandy.”

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Senator Anthony Bucco
Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio, Bucco Introduce Measure to Preserve Greystone Park Property as Open Space

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Senators Joe Pennacchio and Anthony Bucco have introduced legislation to limit the sale of remaining state-owned portions of the Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital property and to require the land be maintained as open space, showing that there are creative ways to preserve land in New Jersey that don’t involve mass spending measures.

“We have already made great progress turning the Greystone property into open space for future and current generations to enjoy,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris). “This bill will assure that process continues and the remaining land is protected as well.”

The Senators’ bill provides that remaining Greystone property owned by the state and declared as surplus can only be sold to Morris County. Morris County is in turn limited to using the property for the purposes of recreation, conservation, historic preservation, farmland preservation and associated public services.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Announces Funding for 26th District School Projects

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Senator Joe Pennacchio announced today that $6.2 million in state funding has been approved to support $15.5 million in school construction projects across the 26th District. The funding approved by the Christie Administration will go to support projects in 10 school districts throughout the 26th District.

“This funding will be put to good use making schools across the district a safer and better place for students and teachers alike,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris, Passaic and Essex). “I thank the Governor for this investment in our students and communities. These projects will add jobs and go a long way in helping districts meet the needs of all students.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Washington Should Learn from NJ on “Common Core”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) said today that the Obama administration should look to New Jersey for how to address issues with Common Core State Standards.

While State Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf has pledged to answer questions raised by Senator Pennacchio and his colleagues as to the implementation and reasoning for CCSS, the Washington Post reported U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan reverted to disparaging those who had raised legitimate concerns. According to the news account, Duncan told a group of school superintendents he found it “fascinating” that “white suburban moms” were responsible for the opposition to the new standards because “their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were.”

“There have been a number of questions raised about CCSS, and the difference in how the Obama and Christie administrations have responded couldn’t be farther apart,” Pennacchio said. “Once again, the Christie Administration is showing Washington how government should be run.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Requests Education Commissioner Cerf Provide Information on “Common Core” Implementation

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) today, along with many members of the Senate Republican Caucus, sent the attached letter to state Department of Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf requesting information on the implementation and reasoning behind the state’s acceptance of the Common Core State Standards.

CCSS is a set of standards for New Jersey students adopted in 2010. Students will be tested on the standards beginning next year.

“There have been a number of legitimate questions raised about the implementation and reasoning behind CCSS that should be addressed,” said Pennacchio. “There’s little as important as assuring a quality education for our children and we need to make certain when there are significant changes made as to how that education is evaluated that those changes are understood and in the best interests of the future of all students. Transparency on issues like the cost of these changes and the security of the data kept on students is rightly expected by taxpayers and families alike.”

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Senator Anthony Bucco
Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Steve Oroho
Senator Tom Kean

Kean, Pennacchio, Bucco, Oroho Statement on Senate Passage of Measure Designating “Alex DeCroce Memorial Highway”

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Senators Tom Kean Jr., Joe Pennacchio, Anthony Bucco and Steven Oroho stated the following regarding today’s advancement of legislation they sponsor to rename State Highway Route 53 after the late Assemblyman Alex DeCroce:

“Alex DeCroce is eternally missed in the halls of Trenton, as well as his district,” said Republican Leader Kean (R-Union, Morris). “We miss his wit, his charm and his passion for improving New Jersey. He was an extraordinary leader to work with and we would not have been able to accomplish such significant achievements for our constituents without his deeply devoted service.”

“Alex DeCroce was one our state’s greatest leaders, a loving husband, father, grandfather and true friend,” added Pennacchio (R-Morris). “We miss him every day in the 26th district. Renaming this highway after a man whose years of dedicated service left an indelible imprint on the communities of Morris County is a true and fitting tribute.”

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