House Republicans hopeful they can override Gov. Wolf’s veto on sports bill

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — On Wednesday, the State House will vote to override Governor Wolf’s veto of a bill that would give schools the power to decide how many spectators are allowed at sporting events.

Republicans believe they have the support to make this happen.

The last time lawmakers pulled off an override on a governor’s veto was 10 years ago under Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell.

Right now, the Governor’s mandate allows 250 people for outdoor gatherings and 25 people indoors.

“There’s a virus out there, and that virus really likes it when you bring a lot of people together. That’s what we know, and you ignore that at your peril,” said Gov. Tom Wolf (D) Pennsylvania.

“The governor has refused to work with us, and tomorrow we’re gonna take the power of the people back,” said Jason Gottesman, Pennsylvania Republican Caucus Spokesperson.

Judge William Strickman may have already given that power back, ruling that the Governor’s crowd limits were unconstitutional. On Tuesday, he doubled down, saying the state failed to show “imminent and irreparable” damage that will occur without the limits, after Attorney General Josh Shapiro asked for a delay on the ruling while filing a repeal.

“Judge Strickman’s ruling is a confirmation of everything we’ve been saying. The Constitution doesn’t change just because we’re in a pandemic, and the constitution can’t accept a new normal,” Gottesman said.

“I’m always amazed at politicians thinking they can somehow wave the magic wand and suspend reality. Next, I’m waiting for somebody to come and say ‘we’re going to suspend the law of gravity,” Wolf said.

Eastern Lancaster County School District is already taking advantage of the ruling. Our media partner, Lancaster Online, reported that the district voted Monday to considerably expand attendance, allowing roughly 180 people indoors and 990 outdoors.

Other districts, like Central Dauphin, are taking a different route by allowing no spectators at all. The district said police will be on-site to make sure the 250 person capacity isn’t exceeded. Fans also aren’t allowed to even stand by the fence.

The vote is the last stand for lawmakers, and Republicans think they’re ready to make the play.

“Frankly what we’re seeing is many Democrats fed up with the Governor telling them how they need to be representing their constituents,” Gottesman said.

The house is coming in for a special session to vote at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

They need 135 votes to achieve the override, and if every lawmaker votes to override the veto the same way they voted for the bill, they will have more than enough.

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