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05/19/2024 04:51 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: May 19, 2020 12:55 PM
From: Representative Dawn W. Keefer
To: All House members
Subject: Restoring Checks & Balances to Executive Powers
Since, the Governor issued his proclamation declaring a state disaster concerning COVID-19, no one could have expected or foreseen how far he and his administration would stretch the limits of their authority.  Governor Wolf, using language established over 30 years ago, has taken powers given to his office for natural disasters and used it to shut down the state’s economy. 
While Governor Wolf is not alone in his use of broad executive powers; most governors across the nation have used, and quite possibly abused, their executive authority. This does not change the fact Pennsylvania is a constitutional republic.  Simply, one person acting unilaterally to close the livelihoods of 1.7 million Pennsylvanians runs contrary to the constitutional system upon which this government is founded.  It is for this reason businesses are taking their case to the Supreme Court.
We must prevent this type of unchecked power in the future.  Therefore, I am introducing legislation to prevent such executive overreach.  Under the proposed legislation, the basis of the authority which Governor Wolf has conferred onto himself would be repealed from law. Additionally, the bill would make it clear in state law the governor does not have authority in a disaster declaration to shut down schools, businesses and/or nonprofits.
Please join me and co-sponsor this legislation to place a check on misuse of executive power and safeguard the constitutional rights and livelihoods of Pennsylvanians from unilateral actions taken by the administration.

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Introduced as HB2666