Noting that the Governor Wolf has refused to carry out his mandatory duty to act upon a resolution passed by the General Assembly that ends his emergency declaration, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25) and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34) today urged the state’s Commonwealth Court to “command” the Governor to terminate the declaration in accordance with the law.
“Governor Wolf’s failure to issue an executive order or proclamation ending the COVID-19 state of disaster emergency is unlawful, unreasonable, and without just cause,” the lawmakers said in the lawsuit filed today. “Governor Wolf has no discretion to refuse to issue an executive order or proclamation ending the COVID-19 state of disaster emergency.”
House Resolution 836, which was passed by the General Assembly with bi-partisan support, ends the executive order Wolf used to shut down employers, which was issued on March 6 and renewed on June 3. Scarnati and Corman said the governor has used the emergency declaration to change and suspend state laws, spend state and federal taxpayer dollars without the approval of the General Assembly and prevent shuttered businesses from reopening with new safety measures in place.
Governor Wolf said today in a news conference that he will not meet his obligation to issue an executive order or proclamation ending the COVID-19 state of disaster emergency.
According to the filing, “Section 7301(c) of the Emergency Management Services Code provides that if the General Assembly terminates a state of disaster emergency by concurrent resolution, then the Governor must immediately act, without discretion, to formally end his prior proclamation, stating as follows: ‘Thereupon, the Governor shall issue an executive order or proclamation ending the state of disaster emergency.’
“State law allows for the temporary suspension of civil liberties under dire circumstances,” Scarnati said. “We allowed the governor that time initially to flatten the curve. The need to suspend civil liberties in the interest of public health and safety has clearly passed.”
“By his own statement, the Governor has indicated that we are returning to a ‘new normal.’ Our laws do not provide for a Governor to create a ‘new normal,’ rather they provide for three separate but equal branches of government who have sworn to uphold the law,” Corman said. “To proceed to his ‘new normal’ without the legislative process and judicial review is wrong.”
Tom Wolf: Legislature Cannot End Disaster Declaration Unilaterally