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New Jersey Senate Republicans

Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Michael Testa

Senate Passes Pennacchio & Testa Bill Bolstering Access to Government Records

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The Bipartisan Measure Addresses Limits in the Emergency Health and Powers Act that Interfere with Transparency 

Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senator Michael Testa that would lift restrictions on access to public and government records during declared emergencies was approved today by the Senate.

Legislation sponsored by Senator Pennacchio and Senator Testa that would lift restrictions on access to public and government records during declared emergencies was approved today by the Senate. (SenateNJ.com)

During the current pandemic, the Murphy Administration has repeatedly relied on sections of the Health Powers Act, enacted in 2005, to deny Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests for information about preparations and decisions relating to the virus outbreak.

“The Act was never intended to keep the public in the dark in times of crisis,” said Pennacchio (R-26), “but today it is being used to conceal data and information on decisions impacting public health and fiscal stability from public and legislative scrutiny.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean’s Floor Remarks in Opposition to FY 2021 State Budget

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean delivered the following remarks during today’s Senate session in opposition to the FY 2021 State Budget:

I rise today in opposition to the budget as presented today. Sadly, this budget is a wasted opportunity to restructure our State’s finances in a way that will responsibly and safely rebuild our economy, an economy truly ravaged over the past several months by the ongoing pandemic.

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean speaking in opposition to the FY 2021 State Budget at the New Jersey State House on September 24, 2020. (SenateNJ.com)

As you know, the Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee offered a number of suggestions that would have put us back on a thoughtful, reasonable fiscal course, including spending the CARES Act money earlier and more fully. There are billions still not spent months after it could have helped families and businesses across the state.

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Resolution Urging IRS to Relax FSA Rules for Health & Child Care Expenses During Pandemic Passes Senate

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A measure sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to encouraging the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to relax the rules of flexible spending accounts (FSAs) used to pay for medical and childcare expenses throughout the COVID crisis has unanimously passed the New Jersey Senate.

Sen. Tom Kean’s resolution encouraging the IRS to relax the rules of FSAs used to pay for medical and childcare expenses during the COVID pandemic has passed the Senate. (SenateNJ.com)

“New Jersey parents need more support as they balance raising their children and running a household while working from home during these unprecedented times,” said Kean (R-21). “On the same note, many with postponed elective surgeries want to ensure they can use their funds for said procedures or be refunded at the end of the year rather than be held to the ‘use it or lose it’ rule. Making healthcare and childcare FSAs more flexible during this difficult time will lighten the load and better help New Jersey families survive this pandemic.”

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Senator Kristin Corrado

Corrado Resolution Designating September as Newborn Baby ‘Safe Haven Awareness Month’ Clears Senate

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Senator Kristin Corrado’s legislation to help prevent unsafe infant abandonments and deaths by increasing awareness of New Jersey’s Safe Haven laws unanimously passed the New Jersey Senate.

Sen. Kristin Corrado’s legislation to help prevent unsafe infant abandonments and deaths by increasing awareness of New Jersey’s Safe Haven laws unanimously passed the Senate. (NJSafeHaven.org)

“We’ve all seen the tragic news stories of unprepared parents abandoning their newborn in dangerous and sometimes deadly manners,” said Corrado (R-40). “New Jersey has laws in place that allow the safe, legal, and anonymous drop-off of infants at hospital emergency rooms, police, fire, or EMS stations staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The more people we can make aware of this life-saving program, the more babies will be rescued.”

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Senator Kristin Corrado
Senator Michael Testa

Testa & Corrado Bill to Protect Military Combat Zone Pay from NJ Taxation Clears Senate

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Bill Exempts $225 Weekly Combat Zone Stipends from the State Income Tax

Combat pay earned by military men and women serving in dangerous regions around the globe would no longer be subject to New Jersey gross income tax under legislation sponsored by Senator Michael Testa and Senator Kristin Corrado and advanced today by the Senate.

Senator Testa and Senator Corrado sponsor legislation exempting combat pay earned by military men and women serving in dangerous regions around the globe from state income tax. (Wikimedia Commons)

“Brave young men and women like Vineland’s own Sgt. Dominick Pilla willingly leave the safety of their homes and the company of loved ones to defend our freedoms,” said Testa (R-1). “When they are assigned to combat zones, with added tension and risk, they receive weekly ‘combat pay’ stipends of an additional $225 in military compensation. For soldiers who reside in state, New Jersey wants a piece of that hazard bonus. It is time to end this despicable money grab by a state that is infamous for high taxes and over-spending.”

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon
Senator Michael Testa
Senator Sam Thompson
Senator Steve Oroho

Senate Republican Budget Committee Members Pan Murphy’s Wasteful, Tax-Raising, Bait & Switch Spending Plan

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The Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee panned Governor Phil Murphy’s wasteful, tax-raising, bait and switch spending plan prior to a committee vote on the proposal:

The Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee panned Gov. Phil Murphy’s wasteful, tax-raising, bait and switch spending plan. (Pixabay)

Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho (R-24):

“During this unique crisis that has caused so much pain for our families and economy, New Jersey deserved for its leaders to work together in a transparent, collaborative, and bipartisan process that welcomed public input into how we could help the state recover through this budget,” said Oroho. “Instead, we had a superficial hearing process that didn’t even have an outline of a budget to review, the public was excluded, and the details were negotiated in a private, partisan manner that could not have been more opaque. It’s disappointing that backroom Trenton politics has won out once again.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Calls on Health Commissioner to Approve Rapid Results COVID Test to Protect Nursing Homes from Virus

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Says State Department of Health Not Serving Governor Well

An affordable COVID test that produces results in minutes is available, and according to a published report, nursing homes would like to use it to test people coming into the facilities. Administrators, however, say the state will not allow it.

Senator Pennacchio said nursing homes should be allowed to use an affordable COVID rapid response test to screen nursing home visitors and protect vulnerable residents. (Flickr)

“It’s frustrating,” said Senator Joe Pennacchio, an out-spoken critic of the Murphy Administration’s nursing home policies that contributed to the loss of more than 7,000 senior residents of long-term care locations. “The state is concerned about the accuracy of these tests, but this could have implications for the entire state if it turns out to be reliable.”

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco
Senator Kristin Corrado

Bucco and Corrado: MVC Computer Outages Add to Suffering of Drivers

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco and Senator Kristin Corrado said computer network outages at New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission agencies this morning have only added to the suffering of drivers who continue to wait on hours-long lines for basic services.

Sens. Anthony M. Bucco and Kristin Corrado said computer network outages at MVC agencies this morning have only added to the suffering of drivers who continue to wait on hours-long lines for basic services. (SenateNJ.com)

“My phones lit up again this morning with calls from frustrated constituents demanding an explanation for this latest mishap at the MVC,” said Bucco (R-25). “On the most basic level, the good people of New Jersey deserve adequate and functional government, not the preventable chaos that’s happened daily at MVC agencies since they reopened in July. Today’s computer outages are another sign that the MVC isn’t doing enough to improve service.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Steve Oroho
Senator Tom Kean

Senate Republicans Launch Online Petition Urging Bipartisan Investigation of 7,000+ Deaths at Nursing & Veterans Homes, LTC Facilities

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Special Investigative Committee Would Hold Those Responsible Accountable, Develop Effective Reforms, Keep Resident Safe

Senate Republicans launched an online petition to enlist the public’s support to convince legislative leaders to allow a special bipartisan committee with subpoena power to investigate the massive loss of life in New Jersey’s nursing homes, veterans homes, and long-term care (LTC) facilities due to COVID-19.

The online petition can be signed at https://www.senatenj.com/petitions/nursinghomes/.

Senate Republicans launched an online petition to convince legislative leaders to allow a special bipartisan committee with subpoena power to investigate the massive loss of life in New Jersey’s nursing homes, veterans homes, and long-term care facilities due to COVID-19. (Flickr)

“Since May, Senate Republicans have called for a thorough, bipartisan, and transparent investigation into the massive loss of life at our long-term care facilities,” said Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-21). “We believe the families and loved ones of victims deserve to hear the truth and to know that those responsible will be held accountable. Current residents deserve to know that the failures that led to thousands of deaths have been thoroughly investigated and understood, and that effective reforms have been developed and implemented to keep them safe. Unfortunately, our repeated calls for the Legislature to form a special committee with subpoena power to perform this legitimate oversight of the executive branch have been ignored. Our online petition will give the public the opportunity to send the message that the Legislature shouldn’t shirk its responsibility to protect New Jerseyans.”

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Senator Steve Oroho

Oroho Bill Would Launch New Era of Construction Permitting

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Establishes Online Permit Processing Review System

Senator Steve Oroho’s legislation that would modernize the construction permitting and inspection process was advanced today by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

Senator Oroho’s legislation establishing the Electronic Permit Processing Review System to modernize the construction permitting and inspection process was approved by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. (SenateNJ.com)

Oroho’s bipartisan bill, A-1145/S-1739, establishes the Electronic Permit Processing Review System, a digital solution that would be available to accept requests and provide details around the clock.

“This is a necessary upgrade to help bring the permitting process fully into the digital age,” said Oroho (R-24). “It will bolster the entire process, from submission and review to scheduling, inspection and review, to approvals. The addition of an online, centralized digital system will simplify the complicated mechanisms and eliminate much of the frustration and inefficiencies that often delay important projects and cost money.”

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Republican Senators

Tom Kean

District 21 - Republican Leader

Kip Bateman

District 16

Chris Brown

District 2

Anthony M. Bucco

District 25

Gerald Cardinale

District 39

Kristin Corrado

District 40

Michael Doherty

District 23

Jim Holzapfel

District 10

Steven Oroho

District 24

Declan O'Scanlon

District 13

Joe Pennacchio

District 26

Robert Singer

District 30

Michael Testa

District 1

Samuel Thompson

District 12

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