A group of Republican state lawmakers have introduced a bill to give counties discretion as to when they are ready to safely reopen for business.
State Rep. Frank Farry, of Langhorne, is one of seven members of the state House to introduce House Bill 2541. It would grant county officials the power to reopen businesses, even partially, after consulting with local health officials.
Farry called the Wolf Administration’s criteria for reopening “arbitrary and illogical.” Even despite efforts from the Bucks County Commissioners and local health officials, Bucks remains in the “red phase” of Governor Tom Wolf’s plan for reopening.
“The state refuses to acknowledge the progress made by the Bucks County Department of Health with contact tracing, which shows limited community spread,” said Farry.
His words echo a statement from Dr. David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Health Department. Last month, Damsker also called the current state guidelines “arbitrary.”
“What’s really important to look at is who gets sick and why,” Damsker said. “And so the number of 50 per 100,000 is arbitrary.”
“None of this makes sense,” Farry said. “So if the state won’t act to help our families return to work and put food on their tables, we must empower local officials like Dr. Damsker, who has a much better grasp on local mitigation efforts, to supersede the state’s irrational and inconsistent decisions.”
State Senator Tommy Tomlinson, of Bensalem, has introduced a companion bill in the senate.
“We have been shut down for months, there is no end in sight,” said Sen. Tomlinson. “Every reasonable request has been denied, and every piece of legislation that would reopen businesses, even those with bipartisan support, has been vetoed. I have full faith that business owners across Bucks County can operate in a safe manner following CDC guidelines, and proper social distancing procedures.”
Other local lawmakers who co-introduced H.B. 2541 include:
- Reps. Wendi Thomas (R- Richboro),
- Todd Polinchock (R- Chalfont),
- Craig Staats (R-Quakertown),
- Meghan Schroder (R- Warminster),
- K.C. Tomlinson (R-Bensalem ), and
- Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia).