New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Innocent People Are Languishing in Prison. The Time for Action is Now

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Following Friday’s Exoneration of Two Innocent Men, Sen. Pennacchio Calls for Action on His Bipartisan Bill to Reduce Wrongful Convictions of NJ

Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) today called on Legislative leaders to immediately post his bipartisan bill creating the “New Jersey Innocence Study and Review Commission” for a committee hearing.

Pennacchio is calling for action in light of Friday’s news that Eric Kelley and Ralph Lee, two innocent men who have spent the past 24 years seeking exoneration, have been freed from prison.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio (at the podium), NAACP NJ President Richard Smith, Lesley Risinger, Founder of The Last Resort Exoneration Project; and AJ Nash, a wrongfully convicted and exonerated man, speak at an Oct. 5, 2017 press conference on Pennacchio’s bill to reduce wrongful convictions in New Jersey. (SenateNJ.com)

“Ralph Lee and Eric Kelley’s case proves that our criminal justice system is in need of reform. No one should have to wait 24 years behind bars for a crime they did not commit,” Senator Pennacchio said. “Although I am relieved to see the outcome in their case, the reality is that our work is far from over. There is no telling how many innocent people could be languishing behind bars at this very moment.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Bill to Hold Utilities Accountable for Power Outages Passes Senate Committee

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Bill First Introduced Before Sandy to Improve Utility Reliability, Storm Preparedness & Accountability Advances With Bipartisan Support

The Senate Economic Growth Committee has passed legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio to hold utility companies accountable for their failure to provide reliable service.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio’s bipartisan bill would hold utility companies accountable for failing to provide reliable service. Pictured: a New Jersey street without power following Superstorm Sandy. (SenateNJ.com)

“Right now, a negligent utility only pays $100 a day in fines,” Senator Pennacchio (R-26) explained. “That penalty is not only completely ineffective, it is an insult to the thousands of families who have suffered for days, or even weeks without power. How much money have they lost because of these outages? Probably a lot more than $100 a day. We must hold these companies accountable for getting the lights back on as quickly as possible.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Bill Expands 6 Point ID Validation to Include First Responders Cards Passes

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) that would expand upon the documentation accepted by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) as part of its 6 Point ID Verification program to include EMT and paramedic certification cards has passed the New Jersey Senate.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio’s bill expands 6 point ID verification to include first responder cards. (Wikimedia)

“New Jersey’s 6 point ID Verification process is a powerful crime-fighting tool,” Pennacchio (R-26)  said. “It’s our first line of defense against identity theft, fraud, or even terrorism. We don’t have to sacrifice our strict security standards in order to make easier for people who spend their time-saving lives to visit their local MVC.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Kristin Corrado

Pennacchio & Corrado Bill to Combat Corruption Passes Senate

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Bill Aims to Stop Corruption on NJ State Investment Council In Wake of Pension Scandals

Legislation sponsored by Senate Republicans Joe Pennacchio and Kristin Corrado to combat corruption on the State Investment Council, by forbidding members from voting on investments that present a financial or familial conflict of interest, has passed the New Jersey Senate.

Sens. Joe Pennacchio and Kristin Corrado’s bill would combat corruption on the State Investment Council, by forbidding members from voting on investments that present a financial or familial conflict of interest. The bill was introduced in response to scandals involving the council and the state pension system. (Pixabay)

“State Investment Council members should serve the people of New Jersey, not themselves,” Senator Pennacchio (R-26) said. “We cannot turn a blind eye to the despicable violations of public trust that have occurred in recent years. People who handle taxpayer dollars must be held accountable.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

PASSED: Pennacchio Urges Federal Passage of ‘Huntington’s Disease Parity Act’

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Pennacchio: Removing 24-Month Medicare Waiting Period Will Save Lives

A concurrent resolution sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) urges the immediate federal passage of the “Huntington’s Disease Parity Act” has passed the New Jersey Senate.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio’s  bill urges federal passage of the “Huntington’s Disease Parity Act.” (SenateNJ.com)

“Today, I urge the President and Congress to pass the ‘Huntington’s Disease Parity Act’ immediately,” said Pennacchio. “This Act would waive the 24-month waiting period for Medicare eligibility for our neighbors, family members, and friends who are disabled by Huntington’s disease.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Bill Creates The Title of ‘Commissioner’ Dropping Outdated ‘Freeholder’ Term

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Pennacchio: Through Change New Jersey is More Inclusive of All Residents Participating In Local Government

Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) allows county governments to adopt the inclusive title of “commissioner,” replacing the pre-revolutionary term of “freeholder” has passed the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio’s bill would create public awareness of county government positions. (SenateNJ.com)

“County freeholder is not a term known to many New Jerseyans,” said Pennacchio. “Allowing counties to adopt the name of ‘county commissioner’ while replacing ‘freeholder’ will increase public awareness and bring county government into the 21st century.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Urges Action on Legislation to Hold Utilities Accountable for Ineffective Power Outage Response

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Legislation to Improve Utility Reliability, Preparedness & Accountability Has Languished Since 2012

Outraged by repeated power outages following recent nor’easters that left tens of thousands of New Jerseyans without electricity for days on end, Senator Joe Pennacchio is pushing for action on legislation that would hold utility companies accountable for their failure to provide reliable service.

A New Jersey street without power following Sandy. (SenateNJ.com)

“After a string of long-term power outages in 2011, I began working on an effort to require utility companies to improve their preparedness and reliability, and to hold them accountable when they fail to restore service in a timely fashion,” said Pennacchio. “When Sandy resulted in even longer outages, the critical need for this legislation became even more evident. Our recent week-long outages following this winter’s nor’easters proved the point yet again. After six years of inaction, we can no longer ignore the need to improve the reliability of the electric service that our families are dependent on to be safe and secure in their homes.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Statement in Support of President Trump’s Executive Orders on Steel & Aluminum Tariffs

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) issued the following statement of support regarding executive orders signed yesterday by President Donald Trump to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum:

Sen. Joe Pennacchio expressed support for executive orders signed by President Trump to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. (Wikimedia Commons)

“I would like to lend my voice in support of President Trump’s placement of tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum. In doing so he is once again following up on a campaign promise. We as a country should no longer sit on the sidelines under the guise of ‘free trade,’ and watch our industries, our jobs, and our communities wither away. Free trade works when there is an honest and level playing field.

“With President Trump’s executive order America now begins to practice trade which is fair, reciprocal, and no longer encourages the de-industrialization of America.

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Senator Anthony Bucco
Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio/Bucco/Ruiz Legislation to Protect Students from Chronically Abusive Teachers Heads to Governor’s Desk

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Seeks to End Process of “Passing the Trash”

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26), Senator Anthony Bucco (R-25), and Senate Education Committee Chair M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29) to help flag teachers with allegations of child abuse or sexual misconduct during a school’s hiring process has received final legislative approval and heads to Governor Murphy for his signature.

The bipartisan legislation will help to flag teachers with allegations of child abuse or sexual misconduct during a school’s hiring process. (Flickr)

“It’s been a long road, but I’m glad to see that our effort to protect students from chronically abusive teachers is finally heading to the Governor’s desk,” said Pennacchio. “Parents need to trust that schools are able to screen out teachers with histories of sexual abuse before they ever get into a new classroom. That’s what our bill will ensure.”

The legislation, S-414, seeks to end the practice of “passing the trash,” a process through which teachers under investigation or subject to allegations of abusive behavior or sexual misconduct move from one school to the next to avoid being held accountable for their actions.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Amendment to Eliminate $10k Cap on State Property Tax Deduction Blocked

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Offered as Sensible Alternative to Governor Murphy’s Charitable Contribution Scheme

A tax relief amendment offered by Senator Joe Pennacchio as a sensible alternative to Governor Phil Murphy’s scheme to mask property taxes as charitable contributions was blocked by the Senate today.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio’s tax relief amendment was offered as a sensible alternative to Gov. Phil Murphy’s scheme to mask property taxes as charitable contributions. (SenateNJ.com)

“Nobody in New Jersey is happy with the federal limitation of the SALT deduction to $10,000,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “Governor Murphy’s response, however, is a gimmick that is almost certain to be shot down by the IRS. There are more sensible approaches to tax relief that we can and must advance.”

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