Harrisburg, PA – The PA House of Representatives and State Senate have both passed resolutions to end the COVID-19 emergency declaration for Pennsylvania.
According to Republican leadership, under the Pennsylvania Constitution (section 7301), 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.
However, others in the legislature counter that, according to the state constitution (Article III, Section 9), it would take a signature by the governor or a two-thirds override by both chambers of the legislature to revoke the emergency declaration.
Gov. Tom Wolf has indicated that he would disapprove, or effectively veto, the resolution. However, if it were to take place, his administration says it wouldn’t change the current reopening plan for Pennsylvania.
Statement from the PA House of Representatives:
On behalf of the millions of Pennsylvanians who remain out of work and who are struggling every day to feed their families, pay their bills and protect their livelihoods, the House passed a resolution to end the COVID-19 emergency declaration with bipartisan support.
“Since early March, Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth have dealt with the heavy hand of government as a result of this declaration,” House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom) said. “The governor has used the power afforded to him under this declaration without input from the Legislature, suspending state laws, spending money without legislative approval, and his most unfair action of all, shutting down the family-sustaining careers of millions of Pennsylvanians.”
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. This House vote completes the concurrent resolution process.
“Our residents have made their voices loud and clear. The COVID-19 curve is flat, and our hospital systems are not overrun with cases. Our business owners, workers and families no longer need to live under state-imposed quarantines,” Cutler said. “The General Assembly has taken several significant steps to ensure nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and those most at-risk for contracting the virus have the resources necessary to save and protect lives.
“Today’s vote reflects the actions of millions of Pennsylvanians who are already back at work, social distancing and making their own choices to protect themselves while also providing for their families and promoting equality for every resident of the Commonwealth.”