CORRECTION: A previous version of this article claimed the Senate would not consider the resolution. This information has been updated.
(WHTM) — On Tuesday, May 18, Pennsylvania voted yes to limiting the governor’s emergency powers. The proposal by republican party lawmakers was in direct response to how Governor Wolf handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
On May 25, Governor Wolf responded to the General Assembly’s attempt to extend only certain portions of the needed COVID-19 disaster declaration.
“Last week, the administration outlined the powers and actions taken under the disaster declaration and vower to work with the General Assembly as they acquired this new power under the constitution,” said Governor Wolf. “The administration outlined the election certification process and provided information under the disaster declaration.”
After the vote that took play May 18, the governor’s emergency disaster power now ends after 21 days and lawmakers are the only ones to have the authority to extend it or end it with a simple majority vote.
“First the legislature is taking this prior to the certification of the election. Without this certification, the constitution has not actually been amended,” said Governor Wolf.
According to Wolf, the legislature is attempting to terminate specific actions that are not set forth in the disaster proclamation including occupancy, stay at home orders and business closures.
“Third, after a productive meeting with the legislature last week, the administration learned of their actions from a press release,” said Governor Wolf. “The voters gave the legislature tremendous responsibility. The administration stands ready to work with the legislature, but this is a discouraging development.”
According to Wolf, the constitutional amendment now grants the legislature the authority to terminate or extend in whole or in part the disaster declaration, and the specific orders that are both separate and apart from the proclamation.
On June 8, the House approved House Resolution 106, which will terminate Governor Wolf’s COVID-19 emergency disaster declaration from March 6, 2020.
The resolution will be considered by the Senate.
“Over the past 16 months, Pennsylvanians have had their lives upended, their livelihoods destroyed, and their liberty interrupted by Gov. Wolf’s inconsistent and unilateral use of powers under the COVID-19 emergency disaster declaration. When the voters approved these constitutional amendments just a few short weeks ago, their message was loud and clear: It is time to end the governor’s emergency powers. We could not agree more. The emergency is over. Our hospitals are not overrun, successful vaccines are available and abundant, our schools are prepared to teach in person and Pennsylvanians are back to work. The time is now to end the declaration,” Speaker Cutler and House Majority Leader Benninghoff said in a statement.