New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Calls for Dormant SCI Committee to Act for Public Good, Reform DRPA

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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.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio called for the New Jersey Select Committee on Investigation to turn its attention to reforming the troubled Delaware River Port Authority. (Kevin Burkett/Flickr)

“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.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Grateful for Democrat Sponsorship of DRPA Reform Legislation

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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).

Senator Pennacchio announced today that Senator Sandra Cunningham has signed on as a sponsor of DRPA reform legislation. The DRPA operates four bridges, including the Ben Franklin Bridge, and a commuter rail line.

“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.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio-Sponsored Port Authority Reform is Good, But Why Do Dems Continue to Ignore DRPA?

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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:

Sen. Joe Pennacchio questioned why Democrats continue to ignore accountability and transparency reforms at the Delaware River Port Authority despite advancing legislation to address those issues at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. (Kevin Burkett/Flickr)

“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.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Urges More Democrat, Union Leaders to Support Legislation to Revitalize Atlantic City, Strengthen Pension System

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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.

Senator Pennacchio’s proposed constitutional amendment, SCR-134, would allow video slot wagering at New Jersey’s horse racing facilities. Revenues would support the state’s pension system and Atlantic City revitalization. (Pcb21/Wikimedia Commons)

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.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Stop Treating South Jersey Residents Like Second-Class Citizens

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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 Delaware River Port Authority is in charge of four bridges connecting South Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as the PATCO regional railway with stations such as Ferry Avenue, pictured. (George100/Wikimedia Commons)

“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.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

NJ State PBA and NJFMBA Back Pennacchio’s Plan to Allow Slots at Racetracks

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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 NJ State PBA and NJFMBA have announced their support for a constitutional amendment proposed by Sen. Pennacchio to allow slots machines at racetracks. (Jeff Kubina/Flickr)

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.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Introduces Constitutional Amendment to Partner Racetrack and Video Slots, Aid Public Pensions

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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.

Under the proposed constitutional amendment, New Jersey’s horse racing facilities could host slot machines with a portion of the profits supporting the state’s pension system and Atlantic city revitalization. (Meadowlands Racetrack/Facebook)

“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?”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Welcomes Support for Bi-State DRPA Reform Legislation

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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.

New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio discusses bi-state DRPA reform legislation during a press conference in front of the Ben Franklin Bridge in Camden, NJ on April 24, 2014. (Press Release)

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.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Citing Continued Newark Abuses, Pennacchio Renews Call for ‘Transparency In Government Act’

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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.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: I’ll Be the DRPA ‘Crisis Communicator,’ Free of Charge

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Senator Joe Pennacchio, sponsor of comprehensive bi-state legislation to reform the troubled Delaware River Port Authority, stated the following regarding news that the public agency is now spending $7,500 per month on a politically connected “crisis communicator” to try to look better, in light of missing emails in a federal probe and a host of other issues:

“I’ll be the DRPA’s ‘crisis communicator,’ free of charge. The message is simple: ‘We are sorry. We screwed up. Over the years, we have lost the proper focus and politics has clouded our good judgment. We have lost your trust by wasting and abusing your money, but we want to regain that trust and serve the best interests of hundreds of thousands of hard-working commuters. We finally embrace and encourage the passage of bi-state legislative reform, so that these issues never happen again and the DRPA is forever transparent and accountable to the public.’”

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