Senate Votes to Terminate Emergency Declaration, Ensure Key Waivers Remain

HARRISBURG – The Senate voted today to end Gov. Tom Wolf’s emergency declaration while ensuring Pennsylvania can take the steps necessary to recover, according to Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46), who supported the measures. 

House Resolution 106 terminates the pandemic emergency declaration and ends the governor’s power to close employers, limit occupancy, suspend state statutes or issue stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19. The House of Representatives also approved the measure, which does not need to go to the governor for enactment.

The Senate also approved House Bill 854, which will ensure all waivers that were previously effective under the COVID-19 emergency will remain in effect until Sept. 30, 2021, unless sooner terminated by the authority which initially authorized the waiver. This protects access to critical federal funding and waivers that benefit health and safety, such as the emergency authorization of telemedicine, temporary staffing at nursing homes and personal care homes, and other staffing issues in health care facilities.

House Bill 854 was approved by the House of Representatives and will be sent to the governor for enactment.

“For more than a year, one person dictated the lives of all Pennsylvanians, telling them if they could work, where they could go and even who they could hug. Despite repeated attempts by the General Assembly to work together for better outcomes and increased transparency, lawmakers were not given a seat at the table. However, the voters spoke loud and clear in May, and I am proud to have voted today in accordance with their wishes. Our action reflects the will of the people and is a necessary step to help the Commonwealth transition out of crisis,” Bartolotta said.

Voters approved two constitutional amendments in May that limited the length of disaster declarations and gave the General Assembly the sole power to extend a governor’s initial disaster declaration. The Senate action reflects the will of the people and is a necessary step to help the Commonwealth transition out of crisis.

 

CONTACT: Colleen Greer, 717-787-1463