State senator participates in committee hearing by phone in protest over vaccine rules

A Republican state senator voted remotely Thursday morning rather than complying with the new State House COVID-19 entry policies.

News 12 Staff

Dec 9, 2021, 10:10 PM

Updated 953 days ago

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A Republican state senator voted remotely Thursday morning rather than complying with the new State House COVID-19 entry policies.
Sen. Joe Pennacchio participated in a committee hearing by phone, while sitting in his car in the parking lot of the Paramus Veterans Home.
Pennacchio says that he is fully vaccinated and has received a booster shot. But he wanted to highlight what he calls “the hypocrisy of Democratic leaders.”
New rules at the State House state that all visitors – including lawmakers – must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or have proof of a negative test.
"To think that you should show a vaccine passport as an elected official for me to vote in the State House, I think is wrong,” Pennacchio says. “If you’re trying to keep the virus out of the State House – first of all, why did you not give the same courtesy to the poor, frail and elderly residents in this nursing home - this veterans nursing home.”
The Murphy administration has been criticized for its handling of the pandemic, particularly for the state’s nursing homes. Nearly 100 residents of the Paramus Veterans Home died from COVID-19-related complications.
Regarding the rules at the State House, last week a group of Assembly Republicans brushed past state troopers who were enforcing the mandate in protest. This week, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin switched all Assembly meetings to virtual. The next in-person Assembly session is scheduled for Monday.


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