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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 7, 2020 12:43 PM
From: Senator Lisa M. Boscola
To: All Senate members
Subject: Establishing a Commission to Study the Commonwealth's Response to COVID-19
I plan to introduce legislation to establish a Commission to study the Commonwealth’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic across all agencies, branches and levels of government along with business/industry and the healthcare sector.

We have seen an uptick in these viruses recently including SARS, MERS, H1N1 and now COVID-19, with the current one clearly being the most contagious and hardest to contain.  I do not believe this will be the last time we face a circumstance like this.  We need to review and prepare while our experiences our fresh but after the crisis passes, so putting the Commission in place now will allow us to act quickly to achieve that objective.

The Commission will seek to review our general preparedness and the steps we need to take to prepare everyone in Pennsylvania for a future pandemic.  We need to be certain not to be caught off guard again and to have clearly defined plans in place.  We need plans that would prevent us from shuddering our economy.  This means understanding how better to advise our businesses to operate during these times on things like limiting the number of people in stores and on factory floors along with requiring appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

With that in mind, I feel that a Commission should be established, and it should focus on factors such as health, economics, recovery and standards of practice for worker protections.  We need to assess how our state stockpiled essential items such as PPEs, and look to ways for encouraging Pennsylvania companies to ensure essential items such as PPEs are produced if needed.  We as a state need to have a more formal procedure in place in the event that a pandemic such as this would occur again, and the establishment of this Commission would be an important step to take once we resume normal societal functions again and begin to assess areas we need to address.
I hope you will join me in sponsoring this important initiative.