New Jersey's 25th Legislative District

Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco Bill Allowing Retired State Workers to Return to the Job to Help Deal with the Coronavirus Crisis Advances

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Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony M. Bucco that would help meet increased demand for public employees during the COVID pandemic was approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today.

Senator Bucco’s bill providing for the temporary employment of former public workers to fill voids during the Public Health Emergency or State of Emergency cleared the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. (Flickr)

The bill (S-2376) provides for the temporary employment of former public workers who retired from the Public Employees’ Retirement System, the Police and Fireman’s Retirement System or the State Police Retirement System during the Public Health Emergency or State of Emergency.

“This is a sensible approach to providing crucial services during the crisis,” said Bucco (R-25). “We can utilize the abilities of recent retirees who are thoroughly trained, experienced, tested and ready to help. The state is facing unprecedented challenges due to the virus, and the usual rules and regulations don’t always work to the public’s advantage. We need to adapt.”

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco: Administration Insiders Say Murphy’s COVID Decisions Not Data Driven

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco reiterated his concerns that a host of COVID-19 responses ordered by the administration of Governor Phil Murphy have not been driven by data as the governor has repeatedly claimed.

Sen. Tony Bucco reiterated his concerns that a host of COVID-19 responses ordered by Gov, Phil Murphy have not been driven by data as the governor has repeatedly claimed. (©iStock)

“We’ve all heard the governor repeat his refrain that ‘data determines dates,’ but we have a pile of mounting evidence to the contrary,” said Bucco (R-25). “Health experts in the administration who have the data that should be guiding the State’s COVID-19 response efforts have said they were never consulted before announcements were made by Governor Murphy. To the contrary, those career public health officials were only asked to help justify the governor’s completely arbitrary decisions after those decisions had already been made. It’s absolutely unbelievable.”

Those concerns were highlighted in an article published today by The Record, “Are Murphy’s NJ reopening decisions data-driven? Health experts say they’re being ignored.”

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco: Murphy Needs to Dedicate CARES Act Relief Funds to Morris County

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Says Governor Needs to Stop Playing Favorites with Coronavirus Response

Senator Anthony M. Bucco said a new commercial rental assistance program announced yesterday using CARES Act money wouldn’t help Morris County, showing that Governor Phil Murphy continues to play favorites through his coronavirus response.

Sen. Tony Bucco said a new commercial rental assistance program announced yesterday using CARES Act money wouldn’t help Morris County, showing that Gov. Phil Murphy continues to play favorites through his coronavirus response. (Pixabay)

“Once again, the hardworking, taxpaying residents of Morris County have been overlooked by Governor Murphy in their time of need,” said Bucco. “We have suffered just as much as anyone in New Jersey during this public health emergency, yet we’ve gotten none of the support we need through the $2.4 billion of federal CARES Act money that was provided to the State of New Jersey to help all of its residents.”

A $6 million commercial rental assistance program announced by the governor yesterday will only be available to support businesses in 64 municipalities that are covered by the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority, none of which are in Morris County.

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco: Restaurants Will Close Permanently Without Some Reopening of Indoor Dining or Direct State Support

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco warned that restaurants across New Jersey that have suffered steep economic losses since March will soon go out of business permanently if they are not allowed to reopen their dining rooms or provided direct financial support from the State’s share of billions in unspent CARES Act funding.

Sen. Anthony Bucco warned that restaurants across New Jersey that have suffered steep economic losses since March will soon go out of business permanently if they are not allowed to reopen their dining rooms or provided direct financial support from the State’s share of billions in unspent CARES Act funding. (SenateNJ.com)

“Four months after Governor Murphy ordered New Jersey restaurants to close their doors, many are on the verge of going out of business permanently, if they haven’t already,” said Bucco (R-25). “Limited outdoor dining and pick-up and delivery orders have only replaced a fraction of the revenues that many local eateries were generating before the crisis. Unless the governor allows restaurants to resume some measure of indoor dining immediately or provides direct financial relief, many will close forever. That would be a tremendous and unnecessary loss to communities across New Jersey.”

Bucco noted that New Jersey received nearly $2.4 billion in CARES Act money from the federal government in March to support the needs of small businesses, non-profits, and local governments impacted by COVID-19. More than $2.1 billion of those federal funds remains unspent.

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco Bill to Create Overdose Awareness Day in New Jersey Advances

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Calls for Statewide Initiative to Combat Addiction and Fatal Overdoses

Amid a devastating spike in drug overdose deaths during the pandemic, Senator Anthony M. Bucco’s legislation to establish an annual Overdose Awareness Day in New Jersey cleared the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee today.

Senator Bucco’s legislation to create Overdose Awareness Day in New Jersey was advanced by the Senate health committee today. (OverdoseDay.com)

Under Bucco’s bill, SJR-85, August 31 of each year would be designated to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related death.

“Far too many lives have been lost in communities across the State due to addiction and overdose,” said Bucco (R-25). “The COVID outbreak has triggered a 20 percent increase in overdose fatalities. I am advocating for this somber annual reminder on a local, county and state level because public awareness of the risks and extent of the problem is necessary for us to control the threat to families of every demographic. Information can be empowering to those who often feel helpless against this deadly threat.”

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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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