Senate Votes to Terminate Emergency Declaration, Keep Key Waivers

The Senate voted today to end the Governor’s COVID-19 emergency declaration while ensuring Pennsylvania can take the steps necessary to recover, according to Senator Dan Laughlin, who supported the measures.

House Resolution 106 terminates the pandemic emergency declaration and ends the governor’s power to close businesses, limit occupancy, suspend state statutes or issue stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19. HB 106 passed with only Republican votes.

The Senate also approved House Bill 854, which will ensure all waivers that were previously effective under the COVID-19 emergency will remain in effect until Sept. 30, 2021, unless sooner terminated by the authority which initially authorized the waiver. This protects access to critical federal funding and waivers that benefit health and safety, such as the emergency authorization of telemedicine, temporary staffing at nursing homes and personal care homes, and other staffing issues in health care facilities.

“After 15 months under the cloud of the pandemic, it is time to move forward and restore a sense of normalcy in Pennsylvania. It is now time to turn our full attention to recovery,” Senator Laughlin said. “While we acted today to end the Governor’s disaster declaration, we also approved legislation to keep waivers in place that provide for telemedicine, health care staffing initiatives and other vital services.”

Voters approved two constitutional amendments in May that limited the length of disaster declarations and gave the General Assembly the sole power to extend a governor’s initial disaster declaration. The Senate action reflects the will of the people and is a necessary step to help the Commonwealth transition out of crisis.

The measures return to the House of Representatives for concurrence on Senate amendments.


Contact:           Matt Azeles                                 

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