New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Anthony M. Bucco
Senator Joe Pennacchio

Bucco & Pennacchio Strengthen Partnership with NJ African American Chamber of Commerce

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Panelists on ‘The State of Black New Jersey 2020 Economic Summit’

Senator Anthony M. Bucco and Senator Joe Pennacchio participated in ‘The State of Black New Jersey 2020 Economic Summit’ hosted by the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ).

Sen. Anthony M. Bucco and Sen. Joe Pennacchio participated in ‘The State of Black New Jersey 2020 Economic Summit’ hosted by the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey. (AACCNJ.com)

“The State of New Jersey can and must do more to create a level but competitive playing field for all businesses, and particularly for the minority community,” said Bucco. “I enjoyed engaging in a robust conversation and walked away with a deeper understanding of the challenges that minority-owned businesses continue to face. Better assisting Black-owned businesses will create more jobs, more opportunities, and more economic success in communities of color and across the Garden State.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Objects to Efforts to Remove Columbus Statue in Parsippany

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) released the following statement in reaction to a published report of the launch of an online petition seeking the removal of the Christopher Columbus monument in Parsippany.

Senator Pennacchio said it is time to stop destroying and defacing U.S. history and to focus on creating a better history for ourselves and future generations. (Wikimedia Commons)

A bust of Columbus was installed on a granite base on Parsippany Boulevard in 1992 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Italian explorer landing in the Americas.

“Our nation is facing an extremely difficult period and efforts are being made across the board to ensure we come out of this stronger, more unified and more inclusive of people of all ages, colors and origins.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Taxpayer-Funded Manatt Health Study of Nursing Homes a Whitewash

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Says legislative investigation into Administration’s nursing home policy is warranted now more than ever

While the state is lifting some of its coronavirus restrictions today and opening restaurants for limited outdoor dining, Senator Joe Pennacchio raised concerns that the 6,000 nursing home residents who died from COVID-19 are being forgotten.

Senator Joe Pennacchio said the taxpayer-funded Manatt Health report on New Jersey nursing homes was a whitewash and renewed calls for a legislative inquiry into the Administration’s policies that cost the lives of 6,000 vulnerable residents. (Flickr)

“If the state doesn’t learn from our mistakes, we will repeat them,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “We know things in our nursing homes went bad in a hurry, and we know that 6,000 vulnerable seniors died in forced isolation, unable to see their families for one last time. We know costly errors were committed, the Administration has been anything but forthcoming, and New Jersey residents have a long laundry list of questions that demand answers.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Moves Bill to Bolster Scrutiny of Administration’s COVID Approach

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Murphy has used emergency powers to deny OPRA requests

Senator Joe Pennacchio today introduced legislation (S-2575) to remove limitations in the Emergency Health Powers Act that obscure government transparency during crises like the current coronavirus pandemic.

Senator Pennacchio sponsors a bill that would remove limits in the Emergency Health Powers Act that obscure government transparency during crises like the current coronavirus pandemic. (SenateNJ.com)

Sections of the Health Powers Act, enacted in 2005, exempt information from the Open Public Records Act. The Murphy Administration has relied on sections of the Act to deny OPRA requests for information about preparations and decisions relating to the virus outbreak.

“The Act was never intended to conceal data and decisions that impacts public health and fiscal stability from public and legislative scrutiny, but that has been the reality,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “The State’s mistake-marred response to COVID-19 has cost thousands of lives and continues to devastate the state economy. To better understand the what led to the errors, and how to avoid them in the future, it’s necessary to have unobstructed access to correspondence, records and reports that have remained hidden.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Steve Oroho

Pennacchio/Oroho Seeking to Curtail Governor’s Powers with Constitutional Amendment

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Never again should New Jersey be subjected to open-ended executive orders

During times of emergency like the current COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senator Steve Oroho have a plan to restore policy-making balance to the state.

Senator Pennacchio and Senator Oroho have introduced a resolution for a state constitutional amendment that would ensure New Jersey would never again be subjected to open-ended executive orders. (New Jersey State Archives)

Governor Phil Murphy, who today announced he was lifting the months-long stay-at-home order, has utilized his pen and executive orders to circumvent the elected Legislature and avoid public scrutiny during his time in office. He plans to sign another executive order raising limits on the size of indoor and outdoor gatherings in the state.

Pennacchio and Oroho this week introduced a resolution (SCR-117) proposing a state constitutional amendment that would rein in gubernatorial powers.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Murphy’s ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ Moment

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Governor lacks empathy with suffering New Jersey citizens

As New Jersey businesses continue to struggle to survive under the state’s strangling coronavirus restrictions, the Governor who has ignored their pleas to safely open their doors joined a large protest march this weekend.

Senator Pennacchio criticized Governor Murphy for breaking his own coronavirus rules to participate in a protest march while New Jersey businesses suffer. (Photo from Gov. Murphy’s Facebook page)

“Murphy keeps telling us it’s too dangerous to conduct routine business,” said Senator Joe Pennacchio. “School’s can’t even hold graduations. The state’s economy is drowning under his arbitrary executive orders and edicts. His message to state residents comes through loud and clear. ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Administration’s Failed COVID Response Had Led the Way to a Property Tax Increase

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Says The State’s Problem Is Not That We Are Not Taxed Enough, But That We Spend Too Damn Much

Senator Joe Pennacchio criticized the passage of A-4175 in the General Assembly. This legislation would allow up to $14 billion in new borrowing to cover operating expenses.

Senator Joe Pennacchio criticized the passage of A-4175 in the General Assembly. (Pixabay)

“The governor has yet to clearly define what our budgetary expenditures will be for the next thirteen months, yet proceeds to encourage legislative democrats to increase borrowing by $14 billion,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “The bill relies on hefty sales tax increases to cover the costs. If those costs are not covered, every homeowner in the state of New Jersey will be charged an additional surcharge on their already suffocating property taxes. It makes no sense to ask for the money first and then have the governor explain how he will spend it later.”

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon
Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Kristin Corrado
Senator Steve Oroho
Senator Tom Kean

Republican Senators Urge Sweeney to Issue Preservation Letters to Health Department

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Following troubling accusations of dysfunction and potential misconduct within the Department of Health, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-21), Senator Kristin Corrado (R-40), Senator Steven Oroho (R-24), Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26), and Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13) wrote to Senate President Steve Sweeney today (click here for PDF) urging for preservation letters to be issued to the Department and appropriate parties who may be in possession of evidence in matters that may be reviewed by the bipartisan Senate Review and Recovery Committee.

Following troubling accusations of dysfunction and potential misconduct within the Department of Health, Senators Kean, Corrado, Oroho, Pennacchio, and O’Scanlon urged Senate President Sweeney to issue preservation letters to the Department and appropriate parties who may be in possession of evidence in matters that may be reviewed by the bipartisan Senate Review and Recovery Committee. (SenateNJ.com)

The full text of the letter is below:

June 2, 2020

Dear Senate President Sweeney,

As you are aware, the Senate Republican caucus has called on the Senate to form a select committee to conduct a comprehensive review of the State’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. Specifically, several areas of concern have emerged and highlighted the need for legislative oversight, including the unconscionable number of deaths that have occurred at New Jersey’s long-term care facilities. We thank you again for sharing our concerns and announcing jointly with our caucus on May 22, 2020 your commitment to the formation of the bipartisan Senate Review and Recovery Committee.

We write you today in light of troubling accusations of dysfunction and potential misconduct within the Department of Health, as identified by whistleblowers within the department. Among other assertions, published reports have pointed to the possible misuse of federal funds and suggested that Assistant Commissioner Christopher Neuwirth was terminated in an attempt to hide misconduct within the Administration. Additional accusations were raised in correspondence from the whistleblowers to you and Leader Kean, leading to serious new questions about the Administration’s handling of the crisis, particularly as it pertains to long-term care facilities.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio to Federal Government: ‘Take Over Long-Term Nursing Facilities Now’

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In light of growing, serious concerns about the New Jersey Health Department’s effectiveness during the deadly coronavirus pandemic, Senator Joe Pennacchio wrote to Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, asking the federal government to take control of the state’s long-term care facilities.

Senator Pennacchio today asked the administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to assume oversight of New Jersey’s long-term care facilities. (Wikimedia Commons)

The full text of the letter follows:

June 2, 2020

Dear Administrator Verma,

I am writing to you today because New Jersey is in a crisis. It has failed to protect our most vulnerable residents and the need for federal oversight and intervention is glaring. As of June 1, 2020, the number of COVID related deaths at state-regulated nursing homes stands at 5,930, a number of lost lives that sadly grows with each passing day. To date, one out of every 10 long-term nursing facility residents in New Jersey has died.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

State Department of Health’s Chaos led to Nursing Home Deaths

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Pennacchio questions why Senate Select Committee has yet to be announced

After published reports of a “scathing letter from health department insiders” suggested the state’s many pandemic failures resulted in preventable deaths, Senator Joe Pennacchio questioned the delay in establishing a Senate special committee to investigate the Administration’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

New Jersey residents deserve answers to glaring questions about the Department of Health’s approach to protecting the public from the coronavirus, said Senator Pennacchio after another published report cited dysfunction within the department. (SenateNJ.com)

“We have more questions than answers, and this report is proof positive that we need to act now before more lives are lost,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “I, and many others, have voiced concerns with the functionality of the health department. It’s becoming obvious problems within the department have contributed to, or directly led to, thousands of deaths.”

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