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 Scott Hutchinson.
House Resolution 836 terminates 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.
“This Resolution restores the basic checks and balances in government as set forth in the state Constitution,” said Senator Hutchinson. “We experienced unprecedented events this Spring and quick and decisive actions were required at that time. The conditions have improved dramatically over the past few weeks. Pennsylvanians met the challenges created by COVID-19. We flattened the curve and we have prepared for the future. We no longer need the extreme oversight provisions of Governor Wolf’s disaster proclamation. There was no need for him to renew it last week and this Resolution brings it to an end.”
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 arbitrary and unfair.
Senator Hutchinson 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.
“For the sake of expediency, the Governor is given authority through disaster proclamations to act swiftly and unilaterally in the short-term, but in the long term, the people’s representatives in the legislature must be involved in the decision making process,” said Senator Hutchinson. “House Resolution 836 reinforces that basic principle and restores the democratic process in Pennsylvania.”
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.