New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Subpoenas Necessary for Productive Investigation into State’s COVID Response

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Says Hearing Should be Held in Trenton

Senator Joe Pennacchio once again commended news that the Senate will establish a special committee to investigate the state’s COVID-19 response and asserted that the panel must be empowered to subpoena witnesses.

Senator Pennacchio said a thorough Senate investigation of the state’s COVID response requires the right to subpoena witnesses and documents, and should be held at the State House complex in Trenton. (SenateNJ.com)

“According to a report from NJ Advance Media, the Administration is anything but forthcoming with information and details, and without subpoena powers it will be very difficult for the investigation to accomplish its mission,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “A thorough examination of the life-changing edicts, executive orders and mandates that have been unleashed on New Jersey residents warrants a comprehensive, real-time, evaluation. That will not be possible if the committee cannot require testimony and documents.”

The pandemic is slowing, but it is still exacting a heavy toll in lives, jobs and Constitutional rights, Pennacchio noted.

“This investigation is highly time-sensitive. The state seems to be operating in crisis mode, and the end may be months into the future,” the Senator said. “Timely answers to the panel’s questions may save lives help in responsibly lifting  restrictions and return the state to normalcy.”

Additionally, Senator Pennacchio seeks committee meetings at the State House in Trenton.

“The Governor holds daily press conferences so the media and the public can participate in real time. There’s no reason the Senate cannot follow the same parameters to ensure transparency for the people of our state. In-person hearings are more dynamic and compelling, and offer more transparency,” Pennacchio added.

The Senator referenced press coverage in major news outlets as evidence subpoena power is essential:

  • “After Murphy laws, watchdogs warn gov’t transparency might be next coronavirus victim” – NJ Advance Media
  • “Want to know what NJ is doing to fight coronavirus? State refuses to release records,” – The Record
  • “What has NJ coronavirus task force done the past few months? Nobody will say,” The Record

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