Pennacchio proposes a change to protect parental rights

May 20, 2024

Today during the Senate hearing, Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) introduced a hostile amendment on the Senate floor to strengthen S-3156 and protect parental rights.

Read Senator Pennacchio’s full speech below:

Why are we expanding the scope of education with this bill?

The question is not whether we support these centers, but where they are placed.

Our education efforts and dollars must be focused on our children’s lost learning due to Covid and our states’ response to it. At a time when many of our children cannot read and write at grade level, we divert our attention from education.

A recent Harvard study found that math scores in New Jersey were lower in 2023 than in 2019. Our answer: “start a new program.”

At a time when state aid to school districts is being cut, forcing some districts to raise taxes up to 10% to make up the difference, the answer is “start a new program.”

We know the game plan. First, allow federally qualified health care centers. Then find and extend their funding.

By the way, the irony is not lost on me when Governor Chris Christie wanted to expand and fund these centers. The majority party fought him because they wanted money and efforts directed at Planned Parenthood to allow taxpayer-funded abortions to happen unfettered.

The irony is not lost on me that while this bill seeks to expand student choice in health care, this body has consistently fought against giving those same students the choice to leave their failing school systems.

Most importantly, I fear this bill continues the state’s march toward replacing parental rights with state-imposed jurisdiction and indoctrination over our children.

Parents have the absolute right to determine what is or is not in the best interest of their child. That right must be guaranteed. The amendment I am proposing would require parental consent for medical advice or services directed at a child at school.

Click here to watch Senator Pennacchio’s speech.

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