HARRISBURG – Senator Judy Ward (R-30) voted today to end Gov. Tom Wolf’s emergency declaration while ensuring Pennsylvania can take the steps necessary to recover.
“I listened when my constituents spoke loud and clear when they voted to approve two constitutional amendments in May that limited the length of disaster declarations and gave the General Assembly the sole power to extend a governor’s initial disaster declaration,” Senator Ward said. “The Senate action reflects the will of the people and is a necessary step to help the Commonwealth transition out of these draconian measures.”
House Resolution 106, which was approved by a 30-20 vote in the Senate, terminates the pandemic emergency declaration and ends the governor’s power to close employers, limit occupancy, suspend state statutes or issue stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19. The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 30-20. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the amended measure by a vote of 121-81, which does not need to go to the governor for enactment.
The Senate also unanimously approved House Bill 854, which will ensure all waivers that were previously effective under the COVID-19 emergency will remain in effect until Sept. 30, 2021, unless sooner terminated by the authority which initially authorized the waiver. This protects access to critical federal funding and waivers that benefit health and safety, such as the emergency authorization of telemedicine, temporary staffing at nursing homes and personal care homes, and other staffing issues in health care facilities. House Bill 854 as amended was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives and will be sent to the governor for enactment.
Today’s action builds on Senator Ward’s a plan passed Wednesday by the Senate that prohibits the state Secretary of Health from unilaterally acting to limit Pennsylvanians and ban vaccine passports.
Senate Bill 618 prohibits the Secretary of Health from mandating those who have not been exposed or in close contact with the exposed to wear a mask, stay at home or be socially distant. It prevents the Secretary from using the same laws to unilaterally force employers to close. The bill also prohibits the state, as well as counties, municipalities, school districts and colleges that are subsidized by state taxpayers from requiring proof of vaccination.
CONTACT: Cheryl Schriner