Senate Sends Bill to Rein in Health Secretary’s Power, Ban Vaccine Passport to Governor’s Desk

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Senate voted to send Gov. Tom Wolf a proposal that prevents the excess use of power by the state Secretary of Health while ensuring the protection of public health, according to Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46), who supported the plan.

In addition to preventing an abuse of powers under the Disease Prevention and Control Act, Senate Bill 618 prohibits vaccine passport requirements.

The measure prohibits the Secretary of Health from mandating those who have not been exposed or in close contact with the exposed to wear a mask, stay at home or be socially distant. It also prevents the Secretary from using the same laws to force business closures.

It also prohibits the state – as well as counties, municipalities, school districts and colleges that are subsidized by state taxpayers – from requiring proof of vaccination. The bill was amended in the House of Representatives to prohibit colleges and universities that receive subsidies from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency from requiring students to show proof of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The governor has threatened to veto the bill and even made the audacious remark that private employers should have the right to run their businesses as they wish despite his overbearing decrees for the last year. However, we are hopeful that he will make the right decision after all,” Bartolotta said. “Pennsylvania employers and residents have suffered far too long already.”

Since the Senate concurred in the House’s amendments, the measure will now go to Gov. Wolf’s desk. He will have 10 days to sign the bill into law, veto it or allow the bill to become law without his signature.


CONTACT: Colleen Greer, 717-787-1463