PA House, Senate Vote To Terminate Wolf Emergency Disaster Declaration

Governor Tom Wolf and former PA Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.

Pennsylvania State Republicans have voted to end Governor Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 emergency disaster declaration.

The state House and Senate both approved a resolution Thursday to terminate the pandemic declaration. Wolf first issued the declaration in March 2020 and renewed it several times.

Legislators in the House voted along party lines. In the Senate, Democrat Lisa Boscola and Independent John Yudichak joined 28 Republicans to approve House Resolution 106.

The approval comes just weeks after PA voters greenlit two amendments limiting the governor’s emergency powers. It ends Wolf’s ability to use COVID-19 as a reason to close businesses, impose occupancy limitations, or issue stay-at-home orders.

Those who voted in favor of the resolution to end Wolf’s declaration said the were acting on behalf of their districts.

“My constituents have spoken loudly,” said Senator Cris Dush (R-25). “They want this over.”

Ending the emergency declaration also ended several waivers both parties found beneficial. Wolf said this “threatens Pennsylvanians.”

However, the legislature addressed this issue almost immediately. The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 854, extending these waivers through September 30, 2021.

Some of these waivers helped the healthcare industry adjust to the pandemic. One allowed retired doctors and nurses to come back to work with a temporary license.

“A collective effort by the legislative and executive branches resulted in actions that terminated the current emergency declaration while preserving the health and safety of Pennsylvanians,” said Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-39).

While the legislature approved H.R. 106, it technically cannot go into effect until the spring primary’s election results are certified. This could happen as soon as early next week.