New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

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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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Urges Residents to Take Advantage of Extension to Senior Freeze Property Tax Relief Program

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Senator Joe Pennacchio, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, today urged all eligible residents to take advantage of an extension to the deadline to apply for the 2012 Senior Freeze property tax reimbursement program.

“Governor Christie’s administration has expanded access to property tax relief available to seniors and disabled residents by extending the deadline to the 2012 Senior Freeze (Property Tax Reimbursement Program) to September 16,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris). “I urge all eligible residents who missed the initial filing deadline to take time now to apply for this meaningful tax relief program.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Praises Budget’s Ban on Using State Aid for University Payouts

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Senator Joe Pennacchio applauded language included in the FY 2014 budget that prohibits state colleges and universities from using state aid to pay for payouts like the one given from Rutgers University to Coach Mike Rice in April.

Pennacchio (R-Morris) introduced a budget resolution following the Mike Rice scandal to dock Rutgers University approximately $2.1 million in state aid in the state’s FY14 budget, and require school officials to provide a report demonstrating how the payouts were funded out of administrative coffers without raising tuition or using state aid.

“While I am still calling for Rutgers University to show how the preposterous giveaways to Coach Rice were funded, I’m pleased this budget incorporates my suggestion to prohibit state aid from being used to pay off employees who fail in their public roles to educate youth,” Pennacchio said. “Taxpayers can now be assured that their money won’t be misspent on misguided payouts.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Record Pension Payment Continues Path Toward Solvency

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R- Morris) lauded the FY 2014 budget’s record pension payment as further proof that Republican leadership has reversed course and set the state’s pension systems on a path toward long-term solvency.

“After past administrations worried more about growing government than the rising cost to tax payers and solidifying the future of our public employees, Governor Christie’s $1.67 billion allocation for FY 2014 is the single largest pension payment in the state’s history,” Pennacchio said. “This record payment builds on the landmark pension and health benefits reform measure I sponsored two years ago.

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