PA House to Consider Bill to Allow County Leaders to Reopen from ‘Green’ to ‘Green Plus’ if They Meet Certain Criteria
The Pennsylvania House state government committee on Tuesday advanced legislation to grant county governments the authority to move from green to a “green plus” reopening stage on their own.
HB 2549 now moves to full House for consideration. No date has been set for a vote on the measure.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming and Union) passed on a 10-15 vote and now goes to the full House for consideration.
Legislative insiders say that the bill has sufficient support in the House and Senate – the question becomes if Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf sees this as a threat to his authoritarian emergency powers.
You can read the text of the bill here, but the upshot is it empowers counties that are in the “green phase” as mandated by Wolf to independently decide to further open up businesses and public facilities as county officials see fit and if they meet certain conditions.
“A county which has been designated by executive action to be in the green phase may, after 14 days in the green phase, transfer to the green plus phase under this section if the county has not experienced a significant increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in that 14-day period,” the legislation states.
This can happen if the governing body of the designated county determines that it is in the best interests of the residents of the county to move to the green plus phase, and determines that there are sufficient medical assets available in the county to address the number of COVID-19 cases anticipated based on the historical rate of cases in the county.
County officials must also determine that there is sufficient testing in the county to monitor public health indicators and adjust orders and restrictions as necessary to ensure the spread of disease remains at a minimum.
If criteria are met, county leaders may develop and implement a countywide reopening plan for businesses subject to closure by the governor due to the spread of COVID-19 which shall require that businesses implement, to the extent possible, applicable guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.