Pennsylvanians Could Overturn Governor’s Emergency Covid Powers in May Referendum
On Friday, February 6, the Pennsylvania (PA) state legislature gave the final approval to put three state constitutional amendments on the ballot for a popular referendum scheduled for May 18. Two of these amendments address the power of the state governor to declare and renew emergency declarations and are both a direct result of conflict between the Republican-controlled legislature and the Democrat governor, Tom Wolf.
The first amendment, titled the Pennsylvania Emergency Declaration Amendment (2021), would add a section to the state constitution that would limit any disaster emergency declaration to a maximum of twenty-one days unless the state legislature voted to extend the order. Additionally, the legislature would be required to pass laws related to each class of emergency enumerated in the amendment and the governor would be forbidden from declaring another emergency based on “the same or substantially similar facts” without a resolution from the state legislature granting that power.
The second amendment, titled the Pennsylvania Legislative Resolution to Extend or Terminate Emergency Declaration Amendment (2021), would grant the state legislature the authority to extend or terminate an emergency declaration by a simple majority vote that is not subject to veto by the governor. This amendment is the direct result of a confusing conflict that took place in June 2020 after the state assembly passed a concurrent resolution to end the coronavirus disaster declaration. Supporters of the resolution argued that it was not necessary for the governor to sign it, while the governor obviously vehemently disagreed. The case went to the Democrat-controlled state supreme court (state supreme court justices are elected in PA) where it was ruled that the governor did have the authority to veto the resolution and prevent it from going into effect. This amendmen
Article from Mises Wire