Martin Bill Gives Voters a Chance to Rein in Overreach by Executive Branch

(HARRISBURG) – A proposed constitutional amendment by State Senators Scott Martin (R-13), Kristen Phillips-Hill (R-28), Pat Stefano (R-32) and Judy Ward (R-30) will allow voters to have the final say in how executive branch powers can be exercised without an active emergency declaration. 

“In May, voters sent Governor Wolf a clear message when they voted to clarify that one person should not make unilateral decisions that affect 13 million Pennsylvanians,” Senator Martin said. “Fast forward to September when the Governor single-handedly instituted a mask mandate for all schools using the Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955. My phones immediately lit up with call from voters who were appalled that the Governor ignored the will of the people who communicated their opinions in no uncertain terms.”

The proposed amendment to the Constitution of Pennsylvania would ensure that no extraordinary powers afforded to state government’s executive branch departments or agencies under a Governor’s declaration of emergency, may be exercised without a Governor’s emergency declaration actively in place.  

The language also would clarify that no department secretary, acting secretary or agency can issue mandates, guidance and/or directives otherwise confined to circumstances described under Title 35 without an official emergency declaration in effect.

“The COVID-19 emergency declaration is over,” Senator Martin said. “The Governor is choosing to not issue another, and bypass the checks and balances of the General Assembly – the very checks and balances with which the citizens of Pennsylvania just voted to ensure by amending our Constitution. If an unelected bureaucrat can take these types of actions without an emergency declaration being in place, this opens the door to the authority to close down businesses, quarantining healthy individuals or any other actions they want to take, with no time limits and no accountability.”

Constitutional amendments must be passed in two consecutive legislative sessions by both the Senate and the House of Representatives before the measure can be placed on the ballot. The earliest this proposed amendment could reach voters for consideration is May 2023.

Contact: Terry Trego



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