Community Sense – 2021 – April

The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has put four questions on the ballot in the May primary. Two of these questions seek to limit the power of the governor to act during emergencies.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution granted emergency powers solely to the governor. Under pressure from business owners affected by COVID-19 restrictions, the Republican-led General Assembly is attempting to change the constitution by transferring that power from the executive branch to the legislature. They would have us believe that 253 separate individuals could act with expediency in an emergency.

An emergency is defined as “a dangerous situation requiring fact-based decisive and immediate action.” From the Health Department to the National Guard, the governor has the means at his disposal to react quickly and decisively to deal with emergencies. Historically, “quick” and “decisive” are two concepts foreign to the General Assembly.

Politics is all about timing and context, and so is leadership. While some of our political leaders have unselfishly volunteered in the development of life-saving vaccines, others have put our lives in jeopardy by willingly sabotaging the governor’s attempts to control the spread of the virus by filing lawsuits and attempting to amend our constitution.

Just as a parent of a child throwing a tantrum needs to remain strong, so does Governor Wolf. We must vote NO on these two ballot questions.