Voices of Pennsylvanians Blocked by Court Ruling

HARRISBURG – The House Republican leadership team issued the following statement in response to the state Supreme Court’s ruling on Scarnati v. Wolf, a ruling that strikes down the bipartisan vote to end the ongoing emergency declaration:

“Pennsylvanians have made it clear; they will not sit idly by while one person makes every decision regarding COVID-19. Throughout this event, Gov. Tom Wolf has refused to engage with the General Assembly, the elected voices of our Commonwealth’s residents, regardless of the implications of his decisions.

“Whether it’s an arbitrary shutdown order that benefits certain businesses while leaving more than 2 million Pennsylvanians relying on a broken unemployment compensation system, neglecting our most vulnerable nursing home residents, or vetoing bills to restart the economy, only to issue executive orders that accomplish the same goals minutes later, the governor must be held accountable by the Legislature, as is required by our Constitution.

Yesterday’s ruling, which came just moments after another unenforceable, unilateral mask order, sends a message to all Pennsylvanians: The governor and the Supreme Court do not want to hear from you.

The complaint filed on June 10th by Kleinbards’ Mather Haverstick, stated that Wolf’s refusal to follow the mandates of the concurrent resolution improperly steps on the Legislature’s powers. Wolf then countered the filing with an emergency petition to the Supreme Court implying that the Senate’s efforts to unilaterally end the emergency proclamation violates the presentment clause of the state’s constitution.

The courts 4 to 3 ruling stated that resolution seeking to compel Wolf to end the emergency cannot be enforced without being submitted to the governor to be signed or vetoed. Section 7301(c) holds both that the Legislature can end an emergency declaration “at any time” and that a governor’s emergency declaration continues until the governor decides to terminate it. The resolution needs to afford the governor the opportunity to exercise a veto, just like any other legislation. A veto can then be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses of the General Assembly.

“The House Republican leadership team and their members will continue to work in the House to find a path to helping all Pennsylvanians rebuild and recover from the governor’s decisions.”

The House Republican Leadership team is Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin), Appropriations Committee Chairman Stan Saylor (R-York), Majority Whip Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest), Policy Committee Chair Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter), Caucus Chair Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery), Caucus Secretary Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland/Somerset) and Caucus Administrator Kurt Masser (R-Northumberland/Columbia/Montour).

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