HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — House lawmakers held a committee meeting to vote on the school mask mandate issued by acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam.
It’s unclear whether the legislature has the power to overturn the mandate as pediatric COVID cases are rising in Pennsylvania and nationwide.
The House Health Committee will move forward in challenging the school mask mandate issued by the acting health secretary. However, this came with some pushback.
“We’re not opposed to you know anybody wearing a mask if that’s what you chose to do but this is not law,” (R) Chair, Pa. House Health Committee Kathy Rapp said.
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At the Pennsylvania State Capitol, the health committee came to a decision. 15 votes for yes and five votes for no.
Health Chair Kathy Rapp says mask regulations should be made at the local level and the current mask mandate in place for schools is an “order” not law. “It’s imperative that people understand that our constitution the lawmakers are the people in the House of Representatives and Pennsylvania,” Kapp said.
Republicans say masks are not the issue and that state law is being followed. They want the Joint Committee on Documents to look over the health department’s order to see if it’s valid. Although some are convinced it’s not.
“There’s a very clear process to put a regulation in place the governors and administration did not do that so it’s not a valid regulation,” Rep. Brad Roae (R) said.
Democratic chair Dan Frankel references these actions as “political theatre” and says public health needs to be set on a different platform. Not part of a political divide.
“You know my Republican colleagues are trying to throw everything but the kitchen sink against the capacity of our state government to do its job and protect its citizens and in this case, its most vulnerable citizens our children,” Rep. Dan Frankel (D) said.
The next step is that this letter will be hand-delivered and reviewed to the Commonwealth Joint Committee on Documents, which includes leaders from both the House, Senate, and the Attorney General among others.