HARRISBURG – Governor Tom Wolf says a joint resolution passed by the state house and senate won’t be honored, isn’t legal, and his office will fight the resolution’s authority in court.
During a news conference Wednesday, Governor Wolf says all laws and regulations pertaining to the pandemic are still the same,“It would not end the orders signed by the Secretary of Health under the Disease Prevention Act that includes provisions for business reopening, and worker and building safety.”
Tuesday, the GOP-Controlled state house passed the joint resolution directing Governor Wolf to issue a proclamation or executive order to end the disaster emergency. The original declaration was issued March 6 and was renewed last week.
The governor says ending the resolution doesn’t reopen anything, but, “For everyone who’s used telehealth facilitated by regulatory flexibilities during the crisis, it would end. For the millions now receiving unemployment compensation, work search requirements and the one week waiting period would go back into place. The temporary eviction suspension would cease. The food distribution networks we’ve set up through our schools…they’d cease to exist.”
Governor Wolf says the PUC’s moratorium on utility shut offs would also end immediately.
The governor says the legality of the resolution is in question. Republican lawmakers say the governor has no power to veto it.
Speaking at the news conference, General Counsel of the Commonwealth Greg Schwab says Republicans we’re trying to bypass the governor and enforce the resolution, “I think per the terms of the resolution, they planned to only deliver a copy to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. That is one of the issues we’re looking at, but its clear, or it seems clear, that the plan was they were never going to present this to the governor.”
Schwab says it’s unclear how long litigation would go on, but the governor wants to go to the courts soon to have them make a ruling on the matter. Schwab says the courts will hopefully understand the urgency of the matter and not prolong the process. He also says anyone who would be affected by the resolution would be protected by the governor not signing the resolution into law.