New Jersey's 25th Legislative District

Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco Bill Package Backing Frontline Health Workers and First Responders Experiencing PTSD Advances

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco’s legislative initiatives to help frontline healthcare workers and first responders who are suffering from the “invisible wounds” of battling COVID-19 has passed the Senate Health, Human Services & Senior Citizens Committee.

Published reports indicate an alarming rise in PTSD and other mental health issues among medical workers who have fought against the coronavirus now for months.

Sen. Anthony M. Bucco’s legislative initiatives to help frontline healthcare workers and first responders who are suffering from the “invisible wounds” of battling COVID-19 has advanced. (Pixabay)

“While the number of COVID cases has fallen, the pain and trauma experienced by those fighting on the front lines show no signs of stopping,” said Bucco (R-25). “We need to protect our first responders with a variety of resources and tools to help them overcome this overwhelming crisis and stay grounded. Our healthcare heroes heeded the call and put themselves at risk during our time of great need, now it’s our duty to serve them.”

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Senate Bill to Reimburse Restaurants for False Openings

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Legislation to reimburse restaurants, bars and caterers that spent money on supplies in preparation for indoor dining’s return only to have that authorization rescinded was introduced in the Senate.

Legislation to reimburse restaurants, bars and caterers that spent money on supplies in preparation for indoor dining’s return only to have that authorization rescinded was introduced by Senate President Steve Sweeney, Sen. Vin Gopal, and Sen. Anthony Bucco. (Pixabay)

The bill, sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senator Vin Gopal and Senator Anthony Bucco, would fund the reimbursements by appropriating $30 million to the Economic Development Authority from federal block grants allocated to the state from the CARES Act.  The EDA would then provide direct financial support, by way of loans or grants, according to the bill.

“Many restaurant owners had already spent money they didn’t have, often on personal credit cards, to buy food, obtain PPE for staff, and renovate their dining rooms to serve customers safely,” said Senator Bucco (R-Morris/Somerset). “They incurred unnecessary losses through no fault of their own, in compliance with the governor’s orders, and deserve to be compensated through the $2 billion in federal financial aid that remains unspent by the State.”

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco
Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Kristin Corrado
Senator Michael Testa
Senator Steve Oroho
Senator Tom Kean

Republican Senators: Senate Must Act Now to Investigate Deadly Pandemic Mistakes

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Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, joined by Republican Senators Joe Pennacchio, Anthony M. Bucco, Steve Oroho, Kristin Corrado and Michael Testa, issued the following statement in response to coverage in The Star-Ledger questioning why the Legislature has failed to act on important hearings to investigate the State’s pandemic preparedness.

Senator Tom Kean and Senate Republicans today called for a Senate Select Committee to immediately begin investigating the Administration’s response to COVID-19. (SenateNJ.com)

“The hearings we called for more than two months ago aren’t happening, and we’re all angry and frustrated. Mistakes were made that cost thousands of people their lives in nursing homes, and we recognize the crucial need to understand what led to the mistakes. Delays and foot-dragging are costing us time we cannot afford to lose.

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco Blasts Borrowing Bill as Premature, Excessive, Unconstitutional

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Measure Will Saddle Taxpayers with Tens of Billions of Dollars in Fees and Interest for the Next 35 Years

Senator Anthony M. Bucco today implored the Legislature and the Governor “don’t mortgage our future in a state that is already overburdened in debt” moments before the Senate passed a bill authorizing almost $10 billion in debt with no voter approval.

‘Don’t mortgage our future in a state that is already overburdened in debt,’ Senator Bucco said before a vote authorizing almost $10 billion in debt. (Pixabay)

The bill (S-2697/A-4175) authorizes a borrowing scheme coveted by Governor Murphy to fill holes in the budget that Republicans said will cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars in fees and interest they will be paying back for almost four decades.

“Don’t take the easy way out,” Bucco told the Senate. “This is not a plan, it’s the easy way out. We’re not waiting to address this problem in a logical fashion, taking now-outdated projections based on difficult times and using that to justify massive borrowing to repair the budget. This will place the state in even worse condition for years to come.”

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco & Bramnick Offer Solutions to Long MVC Lines that Murphy Can Implement Immediately

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco and Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick offered a series of concrete solutions that Governor Phil Murphy could implement immediately to help remedy the chaos that has followed the Motor Vehicle Commission’s disastrous reopening.

Long lines at the Randolph MVC following it’s reopening after months of being closed due to COVID-19. Similar scenes are occurring at MVC agencies across New Jersey. (SenateNJ.com)

“More than two months ago, I asked for the MVC’s plan to reopen smoothly and they never responded,” said Bucco (R-25). “It’s clear they never developed an effective reopening plan, which has forced New Jersey drivers to wait in extremely long lines all day, overnight, and in sweltering heat in the hopes of getting the service they deserve. Despite what the governor has suggested, this isn’t the fault of New Jerseyans who have waited patiently for four months to obtain services that the MVC does not offer online. It’s clear more needs to be done, which is why Leader Bramnick and I are proposing concrete solutions that would offer immediate relief for drivers and reduce the urgent need to visit MVC agencies that have been overwhelmed.”

“Making people stand outside in the heat for seven hours or more in the middle of a pandemic is absolutely a disgrace,” said Bramnick (R-Union). “People are rightly outraged at the MVC reopening and Governor Murphy should take immediate action with the solutions we have proposed.”

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco: With Overdoses Up 20%, It’s the Right Time to Establish Overdose Awareness Day

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Cites Spike in Fatal Overdoses During Shutdown

Senator Anthony M. Bucco reiterated his call to create Overdose Awareness Day in New Jersey in response to the significant spike in opioid-related overdoses during the COVID-19 crisis.

Sen. Anthony M. Bucco reiterated his call to create Overdose Awareness Day in New Jersey in response to the significant spike in opioid-related overdoses during the COVID-19 crisis. (overdoseday.com)

“The COVID-19 outbreak is far from the only health crisis plaguing our state and our country,” said Bucco. “Too many lives have been lost in communities across New Jersey due to addiction and drug overdoses. In order to shine a light on this pressing issue, I am advocating to designate August 31st as Overdose Awareness Day on a local, county, and state level.”

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco Presses Murphy for Plan to Address Long Lines & Hazards at Randolph MVC

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Says Similar Scenes Occurring at NJMVC Agencies Across NJ

Senator Anthony M. Bucco (R-25) sent a letter (click here for PDF) to Governor Phil Murphy today calling for a plan to help Randolph Twp. and other New Jersey communities that have been overwhelmed by a crush of people who are seeking to conduct business at newly reopened New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) agencies.

People queued up at 3 a.m. this morning outside the Randolph MVC to try to gain service today after many failed to get through long lines yesterday. (SenateNJ.com)

Bucco noted that he made a request more than two months ago of MVC Chief Sue Fulton asking for an overview of the Commission’s plan to avoid the chaos that’s new occurring at MVC agencies across New Jersey. He never received a response.

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco: NJMVC’s Disaster Should Have Been Averted

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Senator Bucco Warned Chief Administrator of Backlogs and Requested a Plan Two Months Ago

Long lines, three-hour wait times, traffic blocking roads and highways. That’s the scene many New Jersey drivers are finding at Motor Vehicle Commission agencies across the state.

Senator Bucco warned NJMVC about severe backlogs and the need for a re-opening plan two months ago, but it was ignored and the result is playing out in extremely long lines and slow service today. (Wikimedia Commons)

“It is exasperating,” said Senator Anthony M. Bucco. “Agencies have been shut down for months, and there are significant backlogs of renewals and transactions that must be completed. I as much as predicted this two months ago and I asked the commission for a plan. They ignored me, they ignored New Jersey residents, and this is the result.”

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco: Savings from Original Furlough Bill Could Have Funded Homestead Benefit & Senior Freeze

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Governor Leaves $750 Million of Savings on the Table, Threatens to Slash Popular Property Tax Relief Programs

Senator Anthony M. Bucco said Governor Phil Murphy missed an opportunity to implement State employee furloughs back in May that could have provided more than enough savings to fund property tax relief programs that provide critical assistance to families and seniors:

Sen. Tony Bucco said Gov. Phil Murphy missed an opportunity to implement State employee furloughs back in May that could have provided more than enough savings to fund property tax relief programs that provide critical assistance to families and seniors. (©iStock.com)

“The Legislature sent Governor Murphy bipartisan furlough legislation back in May that could have saved the State an estimated $750 million, more than enough to fund the Homestead Rebate and Senior Freeze programs. Instead, he returned to the Legislature a watered down furlough bill that is unlikely to produce any substantial savings. This is unacceptable.

“Because the governor failed to enact the original legislation, the State budget is in a deeper hole. In fact, the administration says it may cancel Homestead Benefit credits on upcoming property tax bills and Senior Freeze reimbursements that otherwise would have been paid this month. It didn’t have to be this way.

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco Bill Extending Government and Private Projects Permits During the Public Health Emergency Signed into Law

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Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony M. Bucco to extend the duration of existing permit approvals from state, county and municipal agencies for the duration of the COVID-19 health emergency was signed today by Governor Murphy.

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Bucco to extend existing permit approvals from state, county and municipal agencies for the duration of the COVID-19 health emergency was signed into law today. (SenateNJ.com)

The majority of business and government projects came to a sudden halt when the coronavirus pandemic hit and the Governor locked down the state. The enactment of Bucco’s bill (A-3919/S-2346) ensures those projects can resume without costly delays.

“The economy was stopped in its tracks by COVID-19,” said Senator Bucco (R-25). “Work has been frozen by mandated precautions and strict social distancing orders. During indefinite delays, permit approvals can expire, jeopardizing important construction projects and placing public and private investment at risk. By extending permits during this health crisis, we can prevent important, already-approved work from being abandoned.

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