(The Center Square) – Republican Pennsylvania state Sens. Scott Martin, Kristen Phillips-Hill, Pat Stefano and Judy Ward have introduced a constitutional amendment to limit overreach from the executive branch after an emergency declaration expires.
Senate Bill 959 would exclude public mandates, guidance or directives from being issued, unless clearly prescribed and authorized in current law, without an official emergency declaration order in effect.
“The people of Pennsylvania made it clear that a collaborative government is their preferred government,” Phillips-Hill said. “The governor and his administration continue to ignore the will of the people with no emergency declaration in place. This proposed constitutional amendment only reiterates what Pennsylvanians told us this past May when they voted to limit the length of and executive powers provided by an emergency declaration.”
SB 959 has been referred to the Senate State Government Committee.
Two similar pieces of legislation limiting gubernatorial proclamations and executive orders to 21 days have been approved by the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee.
House Bill 2070 would amend the state constitution so an executive order or proclamation by the governor could not remain in effect for more than 21 days without a concurrent resolution from the General Assembly.
Under House Bill 2069, the governor would not be presented a bill to disapprove a regulation that has been approved by the General Assembly.
The legation was created in response to what Republicans believed was an overreach of authority by Gov. Tom Wolf during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Democrats on the House State Government Committee described the bills as a “dangerous path” and a “knee-jerk reaction to a once in a century pandemic where the branches of government didn’t agree, and now we’re taking that power away.”