New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Anthony M. Bucco
Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio & Bucco Call for Gov. Murphy to Sign Special Education Extension Bill

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Senators Ready to Lead Charge to Override a Veto

Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senator Anthony M. Bucco called for Governor Phil Murphy to sign a bill into law that would allow students with disabilities whose education has been impacted by the pandemic to stay in school for an extra year.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio and Sen. Tony Bucco called for Gov. Phil Murphy to sign a bill into law that would allow students with disabilities whose education has been impacted by the pandemic to stay in school for an extra year. (Pixabay)

The Morris County senators said they were ready to lead the charge to override should Governor Murphy veto the legislation.

“Parents of students with disabilities are extremely concerned that the pandemic stole a critical year of education from their children,” said Bucco (R-25). “For these extremely vulnerable students, getting that year back would be nothing less than life-changing. Families are telling us they need more than Governor Murphy’s sympathy, they need his signature on the bill. His lack of action is leaving families in limbo and prohibiting their ability to plan for their children.”

The legislation, S-3434, requires boards of education to provide special education and related services to certain students exceeding age of eligibility for special education and related services.

Advocates are concerned that Governor Murphy still hasn’t signed the bill that was sent to his desk nearly two weeks ago with nearly unanimous legislative approval.

If the bill isn’t signed into law by June 30, special education students who have reached 21 years of age would no longer qualify for services.

Pennacchio said the estimated $11.1 million cost shouldn’t be an issue when the Murphy administration has $11.5 billion in new cash available, including $5 billion in unanticipated state revenues and $6.5 billion in federal relief funds for pandemic response and recovery efforts.

“There is no excuse for Governor Murphy to delay action on this bill even a single day longer,” said Pennacchio. “School districts are setting budgets right now for September and they need to know what to expect. When the Murphy administration has record amounts of cash in the bank, he cannot legitimately claim that money is an issue. A veto of this bill would send the clear message that Governor Murphy doesn’t care about our most vulnerable children. We certainly hope the governor does the right thing. If he doesn’t, however, we’re ready to lead the charge to override his despicable veto.”

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