Moves a Resolution to Create a Senate Select Committee
Senator Joe Pennacchio today attempted to implore his colleagues in the State Senate to open an investigation into the Administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Senator Pennacchio proposed Senate action on his resolution to create an investigative panel to review the Executive Branch’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. (SenateNJ.com)
Pennacchio hoped to have his resolution (SR-68) creating a special Senate committee entitled “Senate Select Committee on the Executive Branch’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic” moved onto the board as the bill of the day. Unfortunately, his effort failed to advance.
The Senator requested, and was granted, a point of personal privilege to address his fellow Senators, who convened for the voting session by phone.
The text of Pennacchio’s remarks as prepared for delivery are included below:
Thank you, Mr. Senate President,
These are no doubt trying times. It is precisely during these trying times that our forefathers gave themselves and future generations guidance through our Constitution of how “We the people would be governed.” The people of New Jersey have sacrificed and will continue to sacrifice to ensure the safety and good health of all.
However, these sacrifices demand that we as a legislative body do our due diligence and question and challenge the Administration’s executive orders, as well as the promulgation of these orders by the individual departments within this state. We must ask and have answers to:
Why were parks and beaches closed when there was NO scientific evidence ever that someone acquired the COVID-19 virus there, especially if practicing social distancing?
Where is the science that says large box stores can be opened and deemed essential, whereas smaller businesses who can practice equal or greater infection control and social distancing are denied? That science does not exist.
When New Jersey’s hard workers needed unemployment insurance the most to cushion their blow, the system by any standard failed them. Two months later, people are still waiting. It is unacceptable.
When the world knew that our most vulnerable population, our elderly in nursing homes were most susceptible, why then were they herded and isolated in long-term facilities along with a highly contagious pathogen with the result being devastating? If for no other reason, this body must give answers for these questions and many others. The 5,000 lost souls that perished in our nursing homes and their loved ones deserve answers. Let us not ignore those silent screams. Let this Senate body be remembered for what it did, not for what it did not do. Therefore, Mr. Senate President, I ask this Senate to form a Senate Select Oversight Committee to answer these and many more questions.