EXCLUSIVE: Both Chambers of PA Legislature Enact Measure To End Governor Wolf’s Lockdown and Bypass the Governor’s Veto, Ending the Emergency Declaration – #ReOpen PA Wins! [UPDATED]
The Republican-led State Senate on Tuesday evening passed 31-19 and put directly into the record a resolution that ends Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 lockdown and emergency declaration, effectively ending the state shutdown immediately.
“Thirteen weeks is long enough,” said Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny. “Time to vote yes.”
Lawmakers cheered and applauded the tally in the House when it passed just after 9 p.m.
Lawmakers tell Lancaster-blog that the move means the governor cannot veto the measure, and that he will have to challenge it in the courts, which could take weeks to take up the case.
The General Assembly passed an amended version of HR836, which ends the governor’s lockdown order and emergency declaration effective immediately.
Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers and reopen advocates are alerting business owners throughout the Keystone State to reopen now and get back to “normal normal,” not the governor’s “new normal.”
This is the constitutional showdown that Lancaster-blog reported earlier this week.
“Once people have a taste of freedom they won’t go back. Even if the governor wins in the courts and retakes the power to shut down the state, he won’t have the political capital to order a new shut down,” State Rep. Russ Diamond, R-Lebanon, told Lancaster-blog.
“People won’t have it,” Diamond said.
Indeed, business owners throughout Lancaster County and the state are already openly defying the governor’s unilateral lockdown order and opening up entirely.
State Rep. Mike Jones, R-York, told Lancaster-blog that this is about restoring the checks and balances of the co-equal branches of the executive and legislative arms, as well as reigning in the governor’s consistent moving of the goalposts and evolving guidelines.
“It was one thing in the beginning to accept this lock down back in March, but the governor has kept moving the goalposts on what conditions would need to be met to reopen the state, he has ignored and rejected bipartisan legislation and he has done this with no transparency or accountability,” Jones said.
“The state is weaponizing business licenses,” Jones said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. What a terrible thing to say to a person – ‘you are not essential.’ It’s horrible to say when you take the responsibility to go to work to provide for your families, for your employees, for your partners with dignity instead of taking a government handout.”
“We are destroying more lives than we are saving with this lockdown,” he said. “Reopening saves lives. Their narrative that this is ‘profits over people’ is a lie.”
“And being a public health official does not make you a medical expert,” Jones said, a reference to Rachel Levine, the transgender pediatrician with no public health policy experience, a political appointee who has dutifully provided poor leadership and unsupported rationalizations to back the governor’s lockdown.
State Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York said that the idea of protecting lives and reopening the state is absurd.
“These are not mutually exclusive goals,” she said. “We can protect lives and restore livelihoods. Enough is enough.”