HARRISBURG - Today the House passed House Bill 55
, legislation that Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) strongly advocated for in 2020 as Gov. Tom Wolf’s business restrictions resulted in an unemployment rate of over 10%.
The bill proposes a constitutional amendment that would change the Emergency Declaration provision to ensure emergency declarations only last 21 days and need legislative approval to continue thereafter. It also proposes a second constitutional amendment that would allow a termination resolution, such as Diamond’s House Resolution 836, to end an emergency declaration without approval from the governor.
Diamond issued the following statement after the passage of House Bill 55:
“I was proud to be a leading advocate for House Bill 55 as the General Assembly worked last year to rein in the heavy-handed and unpredictable restrictions that Gov. Tom Wolf was mandating without legislative approval. It became clear rather quickly that the executive branch needed additional oversight during emergency declarations, as we heard from millions of constituents who were financially and emotionally hurting from the governor’s orders.
“We were never shown any data or proof that the Wolf administration’s edicts, mandates and top-down approach to lockdowns were effective at stopping the spread of COVID-19. This has been a great civics lesson for us all as we witnessed first-hand why our Founding Fathers averted as much as possible giving too much deference to the executive branch of government. Moreover, why they created three branches of government-- as we witnessed the Supreme Court refuse to challenge the administration’s orders. We must remain vigilant and speak up for our constituents whose voices deserve to be heard even in times of emergencies. The Constitution must never be abandoned. I am very pleased to see my colleagues approve of House Bill 55 today.”
Diamond’s floor remarks in support of House Bill 55 are here
Representative Russ Diamond
102nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Haas