HARRISBURG – Rep. Ryan Warner (R-Fayette/Westmoreland) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s intention to ignore the concurrent resolution adopted by the General Assembly to end the COVID-19 disaster declaration:
“Given the governor’s track record of choosing to serve as dictator rather than governor throughout this pandemic, it is no surprise he is planning to once again ignore the will of the General Assembly and the nearly 13 million people we represent.
“It is the height of hypocrisy when the governor, acknowledging the likelihood this issue will go to court, makes the following statement: ‘I want to make sure that we, as clearly and unambiguously as possible, make the case that under our constitutional democracy, no branch of government -- none, not the governor, not the General Assembly, not the courts -- have the unilateral right to do anything, to impose their will on the people of Pennsylvania. This is unprecedented as far as I know.’
“For the last three months, the governor has been doing exactly what he says – and frankly, what the Constitution says – no branch of government has the right to do. He acted unilaterally to shut down businesses, doing irreparable harm to many of them. He forced millions of our citizens out of their jobs and then failed to provide a viable unemployment compensation system to serve their needs. He forced our nursing homes to take COVID-19-positive patients back into their facilities, contributing to the more than 4,100 deaths that have tragically occurred among our citizens in long-term care environments.
“The governor should stop and listen to his own words, follow the law that requires him to end the disaster declaration, and then work with the General Assembly on a path forward for the Commonwealth’s recovery.”
The General Assembly has clear authority to end the disaster declaration.
• Section 7301(c) of Title 35 (Health and Safety) outlines the governor’s power to declare disaster emergencies (which no one disputes). Within this section:“The General Assembly by concurrent resolution may terminate a state of disaster emergency at any time. Thereupon, the Governor shall issue an executive order or proclamation ending the state of disaster emergency.
• An April 13 ruling of the State Supreme Court that backed up the governor’s shutdown orders also stated “We note that the Emergency Code temporarily limits the Executive Order to ninety days unless renewed and provides the General Assembly with the ability to terminate the order at any time.
Representative Ryan Warner
52nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler