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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 20, 2020 02:36 PM
From: Senator Gene Yaw
To: All Senate members
Subject: State Agency / Regulatory Action During a Disaster Emergency
I intend to sponsor legislation that would be applicable upon the declaration of a disaster emergency as issued by the governor pursuant to authority granted by Section 7301 of 35 PA.C.S.

The legislation would require the governor to classify which employees under the governor’s jurisdiction are engaged in life-sustaining work, and further, require the head of state agencies not under the governor’s direct jurisdiction to classify which employees are engaged in life-sustaining work.

If approved, the legislation would prohibit the following during the existence of a disaster emergency, unless the action is directly related to responding to the disaster emergency or adhering to a state or federal statutory timeline or court order:
  • Consideration or adoption of a proposed or final rulemaking subject to the Regulatory Review Act
  • Conducting of a department or agency advisory committee meeting
During the COVID -19 pandemic, Pennsylvania has united to adjust course and prioritize mitigating the spread of this deadly virus. Business as usual has literally ceased – small businesses across Pennsylvania have closed their doors and construction activities have largely been halted, leaving many families without a definable path forward as they struggle to pay mortgages, rent and put food on the table.

There is a collective recognition that mitigation measures are critical. Most Pennsylvanians are willing to provide latitude to government to take temporary measures to address these extraordinary challenges. However, Pennsylvanians want to see a government that prioritizes their health and safety while also developing a plan to begin re-opening the economy in a sensible manner that provides hope that this crisis is not, in fact, indefinite.

At the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, agency staff is continuing to press forward on regulations to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative despite concerns echoing across the state that this program will do irreparable harm to Pennsylvania’s economy. They do so at a time when advisory committee meetings to provide meaningful input and dialogue cannot be held, and when critical oversight hearings by legislative committees to ask questions and explore policy ramifications are understandably on hold. At a time when policymakers should be focused on re-opening and re-building Pennsylvania’s economy, the Administration has authorized expenditures of several hundred thousand dollars to advance policies unrelated to the current disaster emergency.

Despite being asked to suspend pursuit of this and other major policy initiatives during this time of crisis, the Wolf Administration is spending massive quantities of taxpayer dollars once again to position Pennsylvania’s economy at the mercy of some of the same states to which Gov. Wolf is currently relinquishing economic sovereignty.

Pennsylvanians deserve an Executive Branch that is focused on their wellbeing in its totality – in their healthy, safety and prosperity. During this time of state emergency, Pennsylvanians shouldn’t have to wonder what schemes their government is advancing while they struggle to make ends meet.

I hope you will join me in sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB1147