Stressing that Governor Wolf’s extended lockdown of Pennsylvania is hurting families and doing irreparable harm to employers, the Senate today voted to approve a measure that would end the statewide shutdown, according to Senator Joe Pittman.
House Resolution 836 would end the executive order Wolf used to shut down businesses, which was issued on March 6 and renewed on June 3. The Governor has used the emergency declaration to change and suspend state laws, spend state and federal taxpayer dollars without the approval of the General Assembly and prevent shuttered businesses from reopening with new safety measures in place.
Speaking to his colleagues prior to the vote on the measure, Senator Pittman said the Governor has used the power bestowed by the emergency proclamation to imposing overbearing restrictions on the people of Pennsylvania.
“The last three months our Governor has been in charge by executive order. It was Governor who told people of Pennsylvania they couldn’t buy a home. It was the Governor who told the people of Pennsylvania they couldn’t build a home. It was the Governor who told the people of Pennsylvania they couldn’t leave their home,” Senator Pittman said. “It was the Governor who told the people of Pennsylvania they couldn’t buy a car. It was the Governor who told the people of Pennsylvania what businesses are and are life sustaining. It was the Governor who told the people of Pennsylvania they no longer had the right to work and operate their businesses, to provide for their families and loved ones. We let it happen. Now is the time we reclaim our co-equal status.”
The Resolution would also allow companies in Pennsylvania to operate safely and consumers to use their services without the need for a business waiver process that has been roundly criticized as being arbitrary and unfair.
Senator Pittman added that the state Constitution clearly states that the power to suspend laws belongs to the Legislature, not the governor, and cited overwhelming support for a safe reopening of Pennsylvania. During his remarks on the Senate floor, Senator Pittman stressed the need for the Legislature to recover its status as a co-equal branch of state government.
“This Resolution is about checks and balances. The Constitutional crisis we are under, starting about three months ago, has actually been years in the making. For years, Democrat and Republican Governors alike have clawed away at our co-equal status as a branch of government,” Senator Pittman said. “Through executive orders, rules, regulations, policies, procedures and even press releases, for years the Executive Branch has overreached. That overreach has caused us to have a fourth branch of government known as the bureaucracy, an unelected, unaccountable bureaucracy that has invaded this Capitol, our homes, our schools, our places of work, our places of worship, our places of play. This Resolution is about the restoration of co-equal government.”
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.
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