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 Elder Vogel.
House Resolution 836 would end 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.
“We no longer risk seeing a deluge of COVID-19 cases that our health systems cannot handle. We know now who the virus affects most severely, and we have developed strategies to protect the most vulnerable among us,” Senator Vogel said. “It is time to move forward, but we cannot in a climate where the Governor uses the powers provided by a disaster declaration to stymie the other branches of government. We no longer need one branch of government to make split-second decisions. We are now capable of a return to some sense of normalcy in the way our government operates.”
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.
Senator Vogel 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.
“Termination of the disaster declaration will not impact our ability to fight COVID-19 in any way or fashion,” Senator Vogel said. “What House Resolution 836 does is it restores the principles that our system of government is based upon. It will allow us to move forward together to rebuild Pennsylvania in the cooperative way that the framers of our state Constitution intended.”
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.
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