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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 8, 2020 08:03 AM
From: Representative Russ Diamond
To: All House members
Subject: Termination of the Civil Disturbance Disaster Emergency
Section 7301 of Pennsylvania’s Emergency Management Services Code defines the Governor’s authority to declare a disaster emergency. On May 30, 2020, the Governor issued a proclamation declaring a disaster emergency in response to civil disturbance in the Commonwealth.
Section 7301(c) also states that “The General Assembly by concurrent resolution may terminate a state of disaster emergency at any time. Thereupon, the Governor shall issue an executive order or proclamation ending the state of disaster emergency.”
As such, I intend to introduce a concurrent resolution to terminate the civil disturbance disaster emergency, if the need arises.
I offer this resolution not because I believe there is no cause for a swift and unified response to civil disturbance, but because I believe the General Assembly, as a co-equal branch of government, should be prepared to act quickly on all contingencies as this situation continues to unfold.
While Section 7301 defines the Governor’s authority, some decisions made by the Executive will be judgment calls. Our duty as a co-equal branch of government is to serve as a check on that authority in case that judgment creeps into overreach or violates the rights of Pennsylvania citizens. By having a termination resolution ready to go, we will be prepared to act if that occurs.
The House of Representatives, on May 28, 2020 by a vote of 117-85, adopted such a resolution (HR836), modified by floor amendment, to partially terminate the COVID-19 disaster emergency of March 6, 2020. We did not anticipate the extreme extension of executive action under that proclamation, and we must be prepared for a similar extension under this more recent proclamation.
I urge you to join me in cosponsoring this resolution to so we can act as quickly as possible if we need to. It is my greatest hope that we don’t.

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Introduced as HR909