State Lawmakers Condemn Mask Mandate and Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of Emergency Declaration

HARRISBURG - State Reps. Mike Jones (R-York), Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon), Stephanie Borowicz (R-Centre), and David Rowe (R-Snyder/Union) joined together to condemn the state Supreme Court’s unprecedented July 1 ruling striking down House Resolution 836, sponsored by Diamond, which would terminate Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 emergency declaration.

“This ruling should shake every liberty-loving Pennsylvanian to their core. This is an affront not only to their civil liberties and rights as American citizens, but it is clearly a political calculation made by a liberal court and our Democratic governor on the heels of a presidential election. 

“These two branches of our state government are not only out-of-step with Pennsylvanians, but they are reaching out of bounds for a ball that should never have left the field. This is an unprecedented power grab that puts enormous power into the hands of one person — Gov. Tom Wolf — and which disregards science and our state Constitution.

“As the legislative branch, we are now left with few options to reign in the governor’s overreaching and arbitrary authority. We will be exploring these options and have sought the help of U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who has pledged to ensure state governments do not overstep their constitutional authority during public emergencies.

“We hope that Pennsylvanians remain vigilant and continue to contact their elected officials, including the governor, to let it be known that they are not happy. We fear the governor has created a heated, unrestful and uncivil public environment with his bullying rhetoric toward counties and civilians who fight back against his arbitrary mandates that are negatively impacting their livelihoods.

“It’s time for the governor to listen to not just the people of Pennsylvania but to a diverse range of scientific and medical advisors, and to local officials who have experienced a number of ill-fated side-effects in their communities due to his edicts.”

The Supreme Court has sided with Wolf who has refused to end the emergency declaration after the concurrent resolution passed with bipartisan support in the General Assembly on June 9. Wolf’s refusal to abide by the law prompted the administration to take the matter to court.

Due to the court’s ruling, the emergency declaration put in place by Wolf in March and extended in June for another 90 days will remain in place, as well as the governor’s color-coded reopening process.

The state representatives also voiced concern over the Wolf administration’s new mask regulations.

“This week, Pennsylvanians were also told by Health Secretary Rachel Levine in an announcement ironically made just hours before the court’s ruling that they must now wear masks everywhere they go in public. The Wolf administration, after going back and forth on the issue, and after jokingly declaring they are unsure of the legality of requiring mask usage, has finally — months after the emergency declaration was established — decided to officially make masks mandatory.

“We wonder not only what medical studies and professionals the governor has consulted before making this determination, but also if Pennsylvanians will be able to hold the governor accountable for disseminating possibly harmful information in the first place. We also wonder how the administration will be enforcing this mandate. And we have to question if the governor has officially ended all possibility of being seen as credible by the people of Pennsylvania as we navigate the waters of COVID-19 for the remainder of 2020. 

“For the sake of the health and safety of Pennsylvanians and their civil liberties, we will work to see the governor’s edicts evaporate, just like COVID-19 by all indications is on a trajectory to do so, as soon as possible.”

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