Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives failed to override Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of House Bill 2787, legislation that would ensure decisions about school sports and spectators can be made at the local level.

However, despite this sports decision by Gov. Wolf, some school districts are actually permitting more fans in the stands in the wake of a federal judge’s ruling that tossed statewide pandemic limits on crowd size.

The state Department of Education has asked schools to voluntarily comply with Gov. Tom Wolf’s since-invalidated gathering restrictions, which had been set at 25 indoors and 250 outdoors.

The Wolf administration is appealing last week’s ruling that such restrictions are unconstitutional, but a number of districts have already opted to go their own way.

That means thousands of spectators could be in attendance at some weekend football games.

Governor Wolf talks about the veto in this new conference video, round the 30:00 mark.

***

Read the comments from the PA House of Representatives GOP group:

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives failed to override Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of House Bill 2787, legislation that would ensure decisions about school sports and spectators can be made at the local level.

In response, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) made the following statement:

“We have said from the beginning that this effort is more than just about school sports. It is about safely providing families the best educational opportunities for their children both inside and outside the classroom and ensuring certainty and consistency in the resumption of these activities.

“Unfortunately, today more Democrats decided to cave to political pressure by flipping their vote instead of standing up for their constituents. Until more Democrats are willing to stand up for the people of Pennsylvania instead of standing with their political party or their governor, the Commonwealth will remain mired in the governor’s emergency rule. We continue to call on them to stand with us—a united Republican caucus—against this governor’s overbroad, inconsistent and contradictory orders, especially when they have voted in support of these proposals before.

“House Republicans will continue to put forward a legislative agenda that stands up for children, families and small businesses—the very people forgotten by this governor’s overbroad, confusing and inconsistent orders during this pandemic.”

 

HARRISBURG – Rep. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland/Somerset) issued the following statement today after an effort to override Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of his legislation to support parents and students failed by a vote of 130-71.

House Bill 2787, which would ensure decisions about school sports and activities, including policies regarding spectators, are made at the local level, originally passed the House with 155 “yes” votes, more than enough to meet the two-thirds majority necessary to override the governor’s veto.

“I am dumbfounded by the 24 members who decided loyalty to their governor was more important than our kids and their families. All the students want is the opportunity to play and perform; all their loved ones want is the opportunity to watch their children shine and learn the many important lessons that go along with participating in team sports and group activities. The members who voted against the override – particularly those who initially supported the bill and now changed their vote – should be ashamed of the disregard they have shown to the people they were elected to represent.

“The governor gave local school officials the authority to make decisions about how to return students to learning this fall. His unwillingness to give them the same authority to make decisions about sports, activities and spectators is nothing more than a continuation of his power grab. Sadly, he cajoled enough of his members into supporting him instead of the citizens of this Commonwealth.”

 

***

Read the press release from Gov. Tom Wolf on the failure of the House to override the veto:

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf thanked House Democrats for upholding COVID-19 mitigation measures that protect the health and safety of Pennsylvanians. The governor released the following statement:

“I am thankful to the House Democrats for continuing to stand with me and showing a commitment to working collaboratively to protect the people of Pennsylvania during this ongoing public health crisis. Pennsylvanians should be thankful as well.

“Throughout this pandemic, my administration has maintained that school districts should have local control on decisions over school sports and extra-curricular activities and has no intention of changing course on this recommendation. Important mitigation measures such as face coverings and consistently maintaining social distancing of at least 6 feet must continue to be implemented to help contain the spread of the virus.

“The bill would have done nothing more than create legislation for something that already exists. Instead of wasting time on a veto override attempt on a superfluous bill, the Republican legislature needs to start taking this pandemic seriously by focusing on the health and safety of our children, staff, and teachers in their learning environments, minimizing exposure to COVID-19, and preventing the spread of this deadly virus.

“The Republican legislature should take action on my plan to help Pennsylvania and instead of taking votes on meaningless bills, should provide funding for child care, fund hazard pay for frontline workers, pass legislation to give sick leave to Pennsylvanians and legalize adult-use cannabis to provide funding for businesses impacted by the pandemic.”