Stressing that Governor Wolf’s extended lockdown of Pennsylvania is hurting families and doing irreparable harm to employers, the Senate today voted to approve a measure that would end the statewide shutdown, according to Senator Dan Laughlin.
House Resolution 836 terminates the executive order Wolf used to shut down businesses, which was issued on March 6 and renewed on June 3. The Governor has used the emergency declaration to change and suspend state laws, spend state and federal taxpayer dollars without the approval of the General Assembly and prevent shuttered businesses from reopening with new safety measures in place.
“Today, Pennsylvania is in a much different place than where we were in March. At that time, we were just beginning to see the impact of COVID-19 and we were ill-prepared to meet the challenges it created,” Senator Laughlin said. Unfortunately, even as the crisis subsided, the unchecked sovereignty of the executive branch began to show its ugly head. First, it was the arbitrary awarding of reopening waivers. Then, it was the steady stream of vetoes that stymied every attempt by the General Assembly to give local governments the power to restore their communities.”
The Resolution would also allow companies in Pennsylvania to operate safely and consumers to use their services without the need for a business waiver process that has been roundly criticized as being arbitrary and unfair.
“One man holds in his hand the exclusive power to allow counties to reopen, something that he has arbitrarily denied the people of Erie County,” Senator Laughlin said. “That was a move so callous that it has even drawn the ire of the Democrat legislators and officials in Erie.”
Senator Laughlin added that the state Constitution clearly states that the power to suspend laws belongs to the Legislature, not the Governor, and cited overwhelming support for a safe reopening of Pennsylvania.
“The Governor basically said at one of his closed and orchestrated press conferences that he would give up his rule only when he was good and ready to do so,” Senator Laughlin said. “That is not a democracy. There are other names for those kinds of governments. It is time for this to end.”
Under the Pennsylvania Constitution, the General Assembly has the authority to terminate a state of disaster emergency at any time by Concurrent Resolution. Upon adoption of the Resolution, the Governor must issue an executive order or proclamation ending the state of disaster emergency.
While House Resolution 836 ends the disaster proclamation, Senator Laughlin reminds everyone that there is still a need to practice the proper preventative measures such as social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks in public.
“House Resolution 836 ends needless governmental oversight, but it does not end our individual responsibility to take steps to curb the spread of COVID-19,” he said. “The dangers are diminishing, but the deadly disease is still out there and we all need to remember that fact.”
Contact: Matt Azeles firstname.lastname@example.org