Pennsylvania latest state to fight governor on emergency powers

Across America, state legislators have risen up to curtail the emergency powers that their governors amassed during the coronavirus pandemic. This national movement is as bipartisan as it gets. In Massachusetts, Democratic legislators are fighting to rein in a Republican governor. In Kentucky, a Republican legislature has taken on a Democratic governor. Even Democrats are constraining a Democratic governor in New York, while Republicans in Ohio have imposed restrictions on their Republican governor.

Altogether, 300 bills have been proposed in 45 states to limit the emergency powers of governors. Yet Pennsylvania – the home of the Declaration of Independence – stands as an outlier. Duly passed legislation to curb abuses was struck down by partisan state courts, leaving lawmakers few options. 

Voting on constitutional amendments

The last hope for Pennsylvanians to restore democracy and preserve liberty comes next Tuesday, when the people will vote on state constitutional amendments: one to reduce the length of disaster emergency declarations from 90 days to 21 days with extensions subject to the approval of the state’s General Assembly, and a second to allow the General Assembly to terminate a disaster emergency declaration without the governor’s signature.