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Pa. Emergency Declaration Vote

On Monday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf extended the state’s emergency declaration by three months.

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives attempted to stop the declaration Wednesday, organizing a vote to override Wolf’s July veto of an amendment to House Resolution 836.

The override was voted down. With 118 votes in favor and 84 against, it did not receive the necessary 2/3rd majority.

Democratic State Representative Scott Conklin voted against removing the declaration.

“It’s given the governor the opportunity that when there is a crisis, he’s able to act,” Conklin said. “Without it, it would take the legislature literally days, if not weeks, to act on any situation.”

“I even said that at the beginning, he needs to have some flexibility to make decisions, to bring in the National Guard, whatever he needed to do,” said Republican Sen. Judy Ward from Pennsylvania’s 30th Senate district. “But, my gosh, 9 months? It’s more than a little frightening.”

Wolf extended the emergency declaration to the end of November, the second extension of a declaration first made in early March.

Ward expressed frustration, claiming the governor used the declaration to make unilateral decisions without input from the legislative branch. She feels it’s a misuse of the declaration, trampling on the voice of the people.

“We have three co-equal branches of government and the Governor has not consulted the legislature,” Ward said. “It allows for certain things, but it was never intended to last so long.”

Conklin said the declaration was a necessary measure.

He said the Coronavirus has proven it is not going away, referencing increased cases and outbreaks in college towns now that classes have resumed.

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