HARRISBURG – Rep. Ryan Warner (R-Fayette/Westmoreland) issued the following statement in response to the mandate issued by Gov. Tom Wolf and his secretary of Health to require all students, faculty and staff to wear masks in school starting next week.
“The people of Pennsylvania spoke back in May when we said ‘no’ to more edicts from this governor. Sadly, Gov. Wolf’s arrogance has again reared its ugly head with today’s masking announcement. He is intentionally dodging the constitutional amendments approved by voters and is instead circumventing the process by using the secretary of Health’s authority to issue a statewide mandate on masking – an issue that only weeks ago he stated should be decided at the LOCAL level.
“School boards in the 52nd Legislative District already made the decision to not require our kids, staff or teachers to wear masks. To them I say, this governor’s actions are nothing more than posturing. He can call it a mask mandate, but the bottom line is that it’s NOT a law. He tried to get the General Assembly to enact such a law. We said no, because we agreed with his prior statement and still believe that masking in schools should be a LOCAL decision.
“While I am angered by this governor again subverting democracy, I saw it coming. I am in the process of introducing legislation that proposes to amend Article IV of the Pennsylvania Constitution to impose restrictions on the secretary of Health to prevent the kind of overreach Pennsylvanians have been dealing with for nearly 18 months.
“If enacted, the constitutional amendment would prohibit the secretary of Health from ordering a closure of a business or other entity, and from mandating that an individual who has not been exposed to a contagious disease be required to physically distance from others; wear a universal face covering; shelter in place, quarantine or isolate from other individuals; or restrict travel. In a democracy, these are decisions that can and should be made by an elected legislature.
“Clearly limiting the governor’s powers to declare endless states of emergency wasn’t enough to convince him that people have had enough. I will continue fighting to preserve our system of governance the way it was intended by our Founding Fathers – with three separate but equal branches that would work together to keep each other in check and ultimately enact policies that are in the best interest of our citizens.”
Representative Ryan Warner
52nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler