Senate Votes to Terminate Emergency Declaration, Ensure Key Waivers Remain

(HARRISBURG) – The Senate voted today to end Gov. Tom Wolf’s emergency declaration while also ensuring Pennsylvania can take the steps necessary to recover, according to Senator Ryan Aument (R-36), 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.

“Pennsylvania voters spoke loud and clear on May 18 when they approved the two constitutional amendments limiting a governor’s power during emergencies,” said Aument. “We heard them, and today we acted to end the Governor’s unchecked power and give Pennsylvanians the freedom they’ve been demanding for months.”

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.

“While many of the provisions in the Governor’s COVID-19 mitigation orders were overburdensome, arbitrary, and unfair, there were some provisions like the telemedicine waiver that we all agree have improved the lives of Pennsylvanians throughout the last year,” said Aument. “We voted today to ensure that these provisions remain in place as our Commonwealth continues to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of this pandemic.”

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.

The measures return to the House of Representatives for consideration.


CONTACT:  Stephanie Applegate (717) 787-4420

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