– Answering the people’s demands that Gov. Tom Wolf’s abuse of emergency powers must be terminated and never imposed again, Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Crawford/Forest) once again joined with her legislative colleagues in advancing a proposed constitutional amendment (House Bill 55
) that would empower citizens via voter referendum to decide whether to limit the executive’s authority to declare extended disaster emergencies.
“Once again, our constitutions and the rights they affirm cannot be suspended during times of crisis,” said Rapp. “The time has come to end the governor’s unchecked and unprecedented abuse of emergency powers. His style of ruling that continues to decimate our economy must be contained. House Bill 55 would restore the voice of the people by allowing them to decide how long emergency declarations should be declared and allowing the people’s elected Legislature to exercise its authority concerning the implementation or termination of an emergency declaration.”
House Bill 55 would limit a governor’s disaster declaration to no more than 21 days. Extending beyond 21 days would require the passage of a concurrent resolution by the Legislature. The bill also contains language clarifying that a resolution terminating or extending a disaster emergency declaration need not be presented to the governor for signature.
After being passed by the General Assembly in two consecutive sessions, this referendum would go straight to the voters for approval and would not be subject to approval or veto by the governor. As a constitutional amendment, it would supersede statute and could not be overturned by the courts. This could occur as soon as the May 18 primary election.
Representative Kathy Rapp
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ty McCauslin