HARRISBURG – In working to restore some semblance of normalcy to the people of the 63rd District and fully restart the economy across the state, Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest) today cast several historic votes in the state House in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today marks 180 days of the governor’s emergency disaster declaration, and earlier this week, after dark, he decided to extend it for another 90 days, even though enormous strides have been made in flattening the curve and ensuring health care resources for those infected,” Oberlander said. “Our residents, business owners and communities need to get their lives back. We need businesses to fully reopen, we need to jumpstart our economy, and we need our kids back in school and on the playing field.”
The day’s major vote came with an unsuccessful override of House Resolution 836, which would have brought an end to the governor’s emergency declaration. Even though all 109 House Republican members supported the override, 136 were needed. The final vote was 118-84.
“I’m disappointed the override vote wasn’t successful, but that doesn’t diminish the weight of our message,” Oberlander added. “The Pennsylvania General Assembly is a co-equal branch of government. Our residents have voices, and it is time the governor listened to them. We are all tired of his inconsistent messages that are not based on science and data, along with him changing the goalposts to keep Pennsylvanians in the dark.”
Other votes of the day included those involving high school athletics: House Bill 2787, which would allow local school districts to make decisions regarding fall sports and activities, and House Bill 2788, which would allow students and families to have the option to continue the student’s education and extracurricular activities for an additional year to make up for the loss of instruction and competition during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.
“These votes just aren’t about sports, but about the lessons learned on the field,” she added. “Children need interaction with their peers, they need to learn critical life skills, and they need opportunities to thrive. We must give our local officials and parents the ability to make the decisions that best meet their local needs, and these proposals do that.”
Both bills passed with overwhelming, bipartisan majorities and now go to the state Senate.
“Our area hasn’t been immune from deaths and serious illness, and my heart grieves for those impacted families,” Oberlander said. “But I am also frustrated that our communities have taken a horrendous blow and have suffered greatly. Many of our local businesses will not reopen, and people are still not getting the benefits for which they’ve applied. These latest votes are our way of sending a very strong and clear message that we’re done being ignored.”