Senate Votes to Terminate Emergency Declaration, Ensure Key Waivers Remain

HARRISBURG – The Senate voted today to end Gov. Tom Wolf’s emergency declaration while ensuring Pennsylvania can take the steps necessary to recover, according to Senator Mario Scavello (R-40) who supported the measures.

House Resolution 106 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 House of Representatives the approved the measure, which will be enacted without having to go to the governor.

“Pennsylvania residents have spoken through their support of the constitutional amendment and they made a clear decision that they want to see us work together,” Scavello said. “We are the boots on the ground, and we hear directly from our constituents which qualifies us to be part of the process. The emergency has ended and we can now begin the important work of rebuilding our economy which was decimated by the Governor’s unilateral decision-making.”

The Senate also 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.

The amended House Bill 854 was agreed upon by the House of Representatives and will be sent to the governor for enactment.

Voters approved 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. The Senate action reflects the will of the people and is a necessary step to help the Commonwealth transition out of crisis.

“This is the right thing to do,” Scavello said.

 

CONTACT: Christine Zubeck czubeck@pasen.gov (717) 787-6123