HARRISBURG - Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) today introduced a resolution that would allow the General Assembly to terminate the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency declared by the governor, if the need arises.
“While a Disaster Emergency declaration is currently necessary, the governor’s recent communication mishaps in conjunction with thisdeclaration were irresponsible and caused confusion and panic across the Commonwealth, especially among the business community,” said Diamond. “The General Assembly needs to be able to act as quickly as the Executive branch as we move forward in this uncharted territory.”
Section 7301 of Pennsylvania’s Emergency Management Services Code defines the governor’s authority to declare a disaster emergency. On March 6, the governor issued a proclamation declaring a disaster emergency in response to the existence of COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth.
Section 7301(c) also states that “The General Assembly by concurrent resolution may terminate a state of disaster emergency at any time. Thereupon, the Governor shall issue an executive order or proclamation ending the state of disaster emergency.”
The executive branch is not hampered by the same procedural process and time requirement the General Assembly has in place, even given the shortened timelines offered by temporary House rules which were adopted on March 16. While Section 7301 defines the governor’s authority, some decisions made by the executive branch will be judgment calls.
Diamond hopes that by having a termination resolution ready to go, the General Assembly will be prepared to act if a misguided decision by the executive branch occurs.
“The situation across our Commonwealth is changing rapidly on a daily basis, and sometimes changing on an hourly basis,” said Diamond. “It is our duty as a co-equal branch of government to protect citizens from unnecessary burdens during times of national crisis.”
Representative Russ Diamond
102nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Haas, 717.772.29843
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