the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Trenton NJ, Senate Republicans launched an online petition to enlist the public’s support to convince legislative leaders to allow a special bipartisan committee with subpoena power to investigate the massive loss of life in New Jersey’s nursing homes, veterans homes, and long-term care (LTC) facilities due to COVID-19.
The online petition can be signed at https://www.senatenj.com/petitions/nursinghomes/.
“Since May, Senate Republicans have called for a thorough, bipartisan, and transparent investigation into the massive loss of life at our long-term care facilities,” said Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-21). “We believe the families and loved ones of victims deserve to hear the truth and to know that those responsible will be held accountable. Current residents deserve to know that the failures that led to thousands of deaths have been thoroughly investigated and understood, and that effective reforms have been developed and implemented to keep them safe. Unfortunately, our repeated calls for the Legislature to form a special committee with subpoena power to perform this legitimate oversight of the executive branch have been ignored. Our online petition will give the public the opportunity to send the message that the Legislature shouldn’t shirk its responsibility to protect New Jerseyans.”
Citing the massive loss of life in New Jersey’s long-term care facilities, which include nursing homes and State-run veterans homes, Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) introduced a resolution (SR-68) on May 11th to create the “Senate Select Committee on the Executive Branch’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Pennacchio’s efforts to force the Senate to vote on his resolution and form the committee were blocked by Senate Democrats on May 14th, July 30th, and August 27th.
While Democrats in the Senate Majority repeatedly blocked the proposed bipartisan investigation from being conducted, New Jersey’s LTC death toll has continued to climb from around 4,800 when SR-68 was introduced to more than 7,100 today.
“When I first called for a special investigative committee to be formed back in May, I was concerned that the failures that led to thousands of nursing home deaths were going to be swept under the rug to protect Governor Murphy for the tragic mistakes made under his leadership,” said Pennacchio. “Four months later, that appears to be exactly what’s happening. Our nursing homes have sustained a far greater loss of life than our nation suffered on 9/11, and another two-thousand LTC residents have died since May while Democrats have stonewalled our efforts to prevent more lives from being lost unnecessarily. It’s infuriating, frustrating, and tremendously sad. I can only hope that our online petition will demonstrate the public’s support for this effort and convince our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to do the right thing.”
“We need to talk to the administration officials who came up with the bad policies, veterans home administrators who were more concerned with optics than safety, and private sector operators who were subject to deadly State mandates to accept COVID-positive patients,” added Senator Steven Oroho (R-24). “We also have whistleblowers from within the Department of Health who have offered to provide us an inside view of what went wrong. There are a lot of important stories that still need to be told and invaluable insight that legislators can gain about what remains to be fixed. We hope the public will show its support by signing our online petition to compel our colleagues in the majority to work with us on this important effort.”