Four State Senators today offered their strong support for a lawsuit filed by Butler, Fayette, Greene, and Washington counties against the Administration’s mandatory business closure order.
Senators Camera Bartolotta (R-46), Scott Hutchinson (R-21), Joe Pittman (R-41) and Pat Stefano (R-32) said the counties were more than justified in filing the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Rachel Levine.
The suit contends that the Governor’s business shutdown order is unconstitutional and calls for a permanent injunction against its enforcement. Further, the plaintiffs call for the elimination of the “arbitrary and capricious ‘waiver’ system” that allowed some businesses to operate while similar companies were required to stay shuttered.
“Governor Wolf closed many businesses in Pennsylvania that could have safely remained open following health guidelines. Now he is pursuing another convoluted and deeply flawed process of reopening counties,” said Senator Bartolotta. “Every day that we wait pushes more families and employers closer to the edge of the financial cliff. The Governor claims to use medical data to reopen counties, yet our Southwestern communities were left out despite having some of the lowest rates of infection in the state. Protecting lives and livelihoods is not mutually exclusive.”
“The Governor’s decisions regarding the continued closure of businesses across the Commonwealth have been confusing and frustrating,” Senator Hutchinson said. “It is unfortunate that these counties have been forced to file legal proceedings just to get the relief that should have been granted to them as part of reopening process. Butler County certainly met the Administration’s metrics for partial reopening on May 8. It certainly should have been added to the 24 counties that were authorized to ease restrictions.”
“Pennsylvania’s employers are suffering and this continued shut down of our local companies exasperates this problem. Unemployment rolls continue to skyrocket and the Department of Labor & Industry is simply overwhelmed,” Senator Pittman said. “Families are suffering and I sincerely hope the Governor will quickly come to his senses and act to ease these unnecessary restrictions and allow counties that I represent (Butler, Armstrong, Indiana and Westmoreland) get back to work. If not, this lawsuit may just serve as way to get that ball rolling.”
“All business is essential. Being able to pay your bills and feed your family is essential. The Governor chose to order the Stay at Home mandate county by county, but to restart; he chose to open by using a broad-brush regional approach,” Senator Stefano said. “ My entire senatorial district, which includes Fayette County, has had low numbers of cases and should not be lumped in with counties with higher outbreaks. I applaud and support these counties that have chosen to push back against this non-transparent methodology.”
(Senator Bartolotta) Katrina Hanna firstname.lastname@example.org
(Senator Hutchinson) Justin Leventry email@example.com
(Senator Pittman) Carlton Logue firstname.lastname@example.org
(Senator Stefano) Mark Fetzko email@example.com