Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26), Senator Kristin Corrado (R-40), Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), and Senator Steven Oroho wrote to Senate President Steve Sweeney today (click here for PDF) urging that a recently announced Senate committee review new concerns regarding the State’s COVID-19 response to group homes and other facilities that care for residents with disabilities. They also reiterated their call for the new Senate Review and Recovery Committee to be given subpoena power to compel the appearance of witnesses.
Senators Pennacchio, Corrado, O’Scanlon, and Oroho urged Senate President Steve Sweeney to allow a recently announced Senate committee to review new concerns regarding group homes and other facilities that care for residents with disabilities, and to give the committee subpoena power to compel the appearance of witnesses. (SenateNJ.com)
The full text of the letter is below:
May 29, 2020
Dear Senate President Sweeney,
Two weeks ago, our Senate Republican caucus wrote to you calling for the formation of a Senate Select Committee to investigate the Murphy administration’s response to COVID-19, including the orders that contributed to the loss of life in New Jersey’s long-term care facilities.
We are thankful that you listened to our requests and announced jointly with Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean the formation of a bipartisan Senate Review and Recovery Committee for this purpose. This is a positive step that will allow New Jersey to learn from its mistakes and improve our State’s response as we look to reopen safely.
While much of the focus in recent weeks has been on the administration’s serious lapses regarding nursing homes, veterans homes, and other long-term care facilities, new reports have highlighted similar concerns with the response by the Division of Developmental Disabilities. As the new Senate committee embarks upon its critically important review, we believe it is imperative that the needs of all of our vulnerable communities be examined, including residents with disabilities who live in group homes, apartments, and other facilities regulated by the State.
Finally, we would like to reiterate our belief that this new committee must have subpoena power to compel witnesses to appear. Without this authority, it appears likely that the administration will prevent the testimony of key officials who have direct knowledge of the matters under review. We must ensure that lawmakers have the ability to obtain the answers we need to develop the protections every New Jerseyan expects and deserves.
Senator – 26th Legislative District
Senator – 40th Legislative District
Senator – 13th Legislative District
Senator – 24th Legislative District