New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Murphy’s Vote-by-Mail Decision Feeds into Despair

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Instead of Giving Residents Hope, this Message Shows the Governor’s Policies are Controlled by Fear

Senator Joe Pennacchio today called the right to vote one of our most paramount rights, and once again criticized Governor Murphy’s governing by edict.

Sen. Pennacchio said the polls should be open as usual for the primary election, rescheduled for July 7, and criticized the Governor’s decision to have a ‘mostly vote-by-mail’ election. (SenateNJ.com)

Murphy declared the July 7 primary, delayed from the original June 2 date, will “mostly be vote-by-mail.”

“Residents have made sacrifices to do everything the Governor asked us to do to flatten the curve and prevent the spread of the virus,” Pennacchio said. “The curve has flattened and continues to flatten, but Murphy has given up on moving the state forward and returning to normalcy. He is a governor of executive orders and emergency declarations.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Calls for Investigation of Executive Branch’s COVID-19 Response During Senate Session

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Moves a Resolution to Create a Senate Select Committee

Senator Joe Pennacchio today attempted to implore his colleagues in the State Senate to open an investigation into the Administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Senator Pennacchio proposed Senate action on his resolution to create an investigative panel to review the Executive Branch’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. (SenateNJ.com)

Pennacchio hoped to have his resolution (SR-68) creating a special Senate committee entitled “Senate Select Committee on the Executive Branch’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic” moved onto the board as the bill of the day. Unfortunately, his effort failed to advance.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Legislation Would Help Commercial Tenants, Landlords Survive Coronavirus Crisis

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Says Bill is a Win-Win for Businesses and Commercial Property Owners

Senator Joe Pennacchio has introduced legislation that would provide state income tax credits for landlords who voluntarily grant rent forgiveness to commercial tenants during the pandemic crisis.

A bill that would help commercial landlords and tenants who are suffering financially under the coronavirus lockdown has been introduced by Senator Pennacchio. (WikiMedia Commons)

“As the marathon of this financial recession drones on, more and more businesses are slipping deeper into debt and fast-approaching bankruptcy,” said Senator Pennacchio. “This bill encourages landlords to throw a life preserver to struggling businesses that are going under. The courtesy of emergency rent forgiveness could be the difference that helps businesses survive. Nobody benefits when employers close down, and landlords don’t want to see empty commercial buildings.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Asks Commissioner for Clarification of Nursing Home Deaths Related to COVID-19

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Letter Seeks Explanation of Details from Conference Call with Legislators and Hospital Officials

In a letter to health department Commissioner Persichilli, Senator Joe Pennacchio asked if nursing home residents who pass away in hospitals are counted as deaths in long-term facilities, or hospital deaths.

Sen. Pennacchio is seeking clarification from health commissioner Persichilli regarding the state’s policy for classifying COVID-19 deaths related to long-term care facilities. (Flickr)

“The logic escapes me,” said Pennacchio. “More than half the COVID-19 deaths in the state are nursing home patients. The actual number could be higher, but this statistical loophole may be obscuring the extent of the crisis within our senior facilities.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: New Jersey Nursing Home COVID-19 Policy was ‘Follow the Leader’ with New York

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NJ Department of Health Response Seemed Lost

New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio has obtained copies of both New Jersey and New York memoranda to long-term nursing facilities in their states. Both correspondences admonish the facilities to take in infected COVID-19 patients. New Jersey went so far as to prohibit even the testing of patients for COVID-19 entering long-term nursing facilities.

Senator Pennacchio highlighted letters to long-term nursing facilities from both New Jersey and New York states, indicating that New Jersey’s correspondence mirrored Gov. Cuomo’s directives and have lead to the deaths of more than 10,000 vulnerable senior residents in both state. Click to enlarge. (SenateNJ.com)

“New Jersey’s letter to these facilities was dated March 31, 2020, while New York’s was almost one week prior on March 25, 2020. Seems to me that New Jersey was taking directions from New York on its handling of COVID-19 patients in nursing homes,” said Pennacchio.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Citing Nursing Home Deaths, Pennacchio Renews Call for Senate Select Oversight Committee on Pandemic

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Introduces Resolution Calling for Legislative Investigation to Begin Immediately

Recent reports show that 50 percent of all New Jersey COVID-19 deaths have occurred in the state’s long-term care facilities, which has prompted New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio to once again call for an immediate investigation by a Senate Select Oversight Committee.

Frustrated by the disturbing number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, Sen. Pennacchio is introducing a resolution that would establish a bipartisan Senate Select Committee on the Executive Branch’s Response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (SenateNJ.com)

“We have learned that 4,800 poor souls lost their lives in New Jersey’s long-term care facilities,” said Senator Pennacchio (R-26).  “These facilities fall under the direct regulatory oversight of the State of New Jersey’s Department of Health.  It makes no sense to order those facilities to accept all patients, regardless of whether they were COVID-19 infected, and impose a ban on virus testing on patients entering those facilities, yet the department did exactly that. Ultimately, it wound up adding to the devastation these long-term nursing homes have experienced.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: State Imposed ‘No Test Order’ for Admission to Nursing Homes

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New Jersey Highest in Nation in COVID Deaths at Long-Term Care Facilities

Senator Joe Pennacchio has obtained a letter sent by the New Jersey Department of Health dated March 31 directing hospitals and nursing care facilities not to inhibit transfer of hospital patients with COVID-19 entering post-acute care settings such as long-term nursing and rehabilitations facilities.

A letter from the state health department dated March 31, obtained by Sen. Joe Pennacchio, prohibited long-term care facilities from requiring COVID-19 testing for incoming residents. (Flickr)

The letter (copy attached) also states “post-acute care facilities are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized patient/resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.

“New Jersey has continually cited testing as a way to identify and respond to COVID-19.  Therefore, it doesn’t make sense that we would specifically not want to test patients who would enter isolated nursing homes containing our most vulnerable population,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris, Essex, Passaic).

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: New Jersey Failed Our Most Vulnerable Population

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50% of New Jersey’s COVID-19 Deaths Occurred in State Regulated Nursing Facilities

Statement from Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26):

On January 21, the State of Washington announced its first confirmed case of COVID-19. Within a month, the virus had taken hold and people were dying. It was quickly evident that many of the deaths were in nursing care facilities.

The outbreak made national news and should have gotten national attention, including from elected officials and health care agencies in New Jersey.

Fifty percent of the COVID-19 deaths in the state have occurred in nursing home facilities, and Sen. Joe Pennacchio attributed that to New Jersey’s failure to heed early warning signs. (Flickr)

Unfortunately, New Jersey’s failure to heed the warning signs and its inaction to support our long-term care facilities has been nothing less than devastating. Of the 8,000 deaths that have occurred in New Jersey due to the coronavirus, a full 50% have occurred in New Jersey’s nursing home facilities.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: ‘Knucklehead’ Signs Are Indefensible

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Senator Says State Residents, Who Have Made Hard Sacrifices, Deserve Better

Senator Joe Pennacchio released the following statement after Governor Murphy Governor had “knucklehead” signs posted on state highways:

Senator Joe Pennacchio defended New Jersey residents after a post on Governor Murphy’s Facebook page referred to some as ‘knuckleheads.’ (Facebook)

“I strongly condemn the flippant language the Governor has used in press conferences and on these signs. It is disrespectful to the citizens of New Jersey who have – and will continue to – make hard sacrifices to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Criticizes Lack of Clergy Members on Recovery Commission

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Senator Calls for Administration to Immediately Reach Out to Religious Leaders to Develop Plan for Reopening Houses of Worship

The members of the Governor’s Restart and Recovery Commission were announced last week, and Senator Joe Pennacchio called the absence of a clergy representative a “glaring omission.”

The Governor’s Restart and Recovery Commission, Senator Pennacchio said, should include a member of the clergy to encourage the reopening of all places of worship. (Public Domain)

“In times of crisis, residents turn to their faith for strength and comfort,” said Pennacchio. “There is growing pressure on the Administration to lift the prohibition on worship service gatherings. There should have been room on the commission for a representative from the clergy to ensure Constitutionally protected religious rights are upheld.”

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