TRENTON, NJ – Democrats in the New Jersey Senate are once again blocking an investigation into how Governor Phil Murphy handled the state’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses were shut down, schools were closed and senior living homes became ground zero for the pandemic’s spread. Hundreds of aging veterans in New Jeresey’s veteran homes perished.
Democrats are once again blocking the truth from being told to the people of New Jersey.
Senator Joe Pennacchio today implored his Democratic colleagues once again to act on legislation that would convene a special committee with subpoena power to investigate the Executive Branch’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The majority Democrats tabled Pennacchio’s motion, SR-32, to remove his resolution from committee and pass the legislative investigative panel.
“My Republican colleagues and I have been fighting for this investigation for years. It is desperately needed to uncover the effects of the State’s mandates and orders, and how they impacted the lives of New Jerseyans during the COVID pandemic,” Pennacchio said. “But today, for the sixth time since May of 2020, the Democrats denied our pleas.
“Rather than taking a leadership role in the quest for facts, truths and processes that allowed the horrific tragedy that swept through New Jersey’s veterans homes and senior facilities, the Democrats turned away, content in allowing a politically selected team of high-powered attorneys to drag their feet on an investigative whitewash that will cost our taxpayers millions of dollars,” noted a frustrated Pennacchio.
As long promised by Governor Murphy, an “independent review” of the State’s pandemic response was finally announced last week, and according to The Star-Ledger, the process will cost $400 per hour for partners and associates, and $90 per hour for paralegals and other staff.
“This will be a significant hit for New Jersey taxpayers, and it is completely unnecessary,” Pennacchio said. “Once again, however, politics has trumped good policy.”
The State agreed to commit almost $53 million to the families of more than 100 innocent people who died in State-controlled veterans homes as part of a legal settlement.
“We need to discover what’s in the body of the settlement. There should be a lot of answers in there explaining what the state did, and why the state did it,” Pennacchio said. “That valuable information is available right now. Why are we paying a large, powerful, expensive team of lawyers to get at it.
“The Legislature, with a panel with subpoena power could access more reliable information, faster, and without the massive invoices,” Pennacchio continued.