BY: DAVID G. GREINEDER, IOM, ABC PENNSYLVANIA DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
In typical years, June is an active month as Legislators put the final touches on a state budget and other agreed-to bills before recessing for the summer. While the state budget was – at least temporarily – completed before June, this month was extremely active from a political and legislative perspective – and we are only at the midway point! Here is a recap of two major happenings:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legislature, with the Governor’s approval, moved the primary election date from April 28 to June 2. As in any election, there were some surprises. At the time of this writing, the final tallies are not yet in; however, it appears that one incumbent Democrat lost their primary election in the southwest. In the southeast, five incumbent Democrats in the Philadelphia region lost their primary election. One Republican resigned his House seat to run for Senate and won. These numbers, combined with 18 retirements, means there will be at least 25 new state Legislators elected in November. No matter what side of the aisle, these newly elected candidates continue recent political trends, where voters are electing more progressive candidates on the Democratic side and more conservative candidates on the Republican side. What this means broadly is both political parties are polarized and have very different views on policy priorities. These views will drive the agendas of the party caucuses as a new two-year session begins in January.
This election is important to the future of our country and commonwealth, as voters will be casting votes for President, U.S. Congress, state representative, state senator (in odd numbered districts), Attorney General, Auditor General, and Treasurer. As the General Election draws near, ABC PA chapters will be engaged in an endorsement process aimed to support candidates that are committed to defending free markets and free enterprise. We will advise our members of those announcements.
Legislation Passes – Ending Emergency Declaration
If you are a legal scholar or interested in fascinating constitutional arguments, get ready. This week, the General Assembly, along bipartisan lines, passed House Resolution 836, which terminates the Governor’s COVID-19 emergency declaration. The obvious question is, ‘what does this mean?’ Well, it depends on who you ask.
Republican leaders argue Governor Wolf cannot veto the concurrent resolution ending the emergency declaration, citing § 7301(c) of Title 35, which states, “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.”
On the other hand, Governor Wolf argues he does have power to veto the resolution, and will, citing Article 3, Section 9 of the state constitution, which states, “Every order, resolution or vote, to which the concurrence of both Houses may be necessary, except on the question of adjournment, shall be presented to the Governor and before it shall take effect be approved by him, or being disapproved, shall be repassed by two-thirds of both Houses according to the rules and limitations prescribed in case of a bill.”
No matter which side of the argument you favor, there is agreement that the case is heading to the courts for resolution. In addition, the courts will likely need to resolve the fate of the Secretary of Health’s orders pertaining to cleaning protocols and other mitigation efforts, as those orders are subject to a different section of Title 35.
As these and other issues advance, please stay apprised to the news and resources offered by ABC. We appreciate your membership and service to the community.
Posted June 10, 2020