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A05949
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE RESOLUTION
No.
836
Session of
2020
INTRODUCED BY DIAMOND, COX, METCALFE, ROWE, RYAN, ZIMMERMAN,
MALONEY, STRUZZI, BOROWICZ, KEEFER, HERSHEY, RADER, NELSON,
KAUFFMAN, ECKER, GLEIM, GREGORY, KNOWLES, DUSH, JONES,
SCHEMEL, TOBASH, RAPP, MUSTELLO, PUSKARIC, WARNER, STAATS,
MENTZER, TOPPER, BERNSTINE, DOWLING, RIGBY, GREINER, GROVE,
LEWIS AND GAYDOS, APRIL 3, 2020
AS REPORTED FROM COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY
PREPAREDNESS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AS AMENDED,
MAY 26, 2020
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
TERMINATING THE DISASTER EMERGENCY DECLARED IN RESPONSE TO THE
CASES OF COVID-19 IN PENNSYLVANIA.
WHEREAS, 35 Pa.C.S. § 7301(c) (relating to general authority
of governor GOVERNOR) authorizes the Governor to declare a state
of disaster emergency; and
WHEREAS, On March 6, 2020, the Governor issued a proclamation
declaring a disaster emergency in response to the existence of
COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania; and
WHEREAS, 35 Pa.C.S. § 7301(c) authorizes the General Assembly
by concurrent resolution to terminate a state of disaster
emergency at any time; therefore be it
RESOLVED (THE SENATE CONCURRING), THAT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
IN ACCORDANCE WITH 35 PA.C.S. § 7301(C), HEREBY TERMINATE THE
DISASTER EMERGENCY DECLARED IN RESPONSE TO THE EXISTENCE OF
COVID-19 CASES IN PENNSYLVANIA AND DIRECT THE GOVERNOR TO ISSUE
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AN EXECUTIVE ORDER OR PROCLAMATION TERMINATING THE DISASTER
EMERGENCY AS REQUIRED UNDER 35 PA.C.S. § 7301(C). ON MARCH 6,
2020, IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19.
Terminating in part the March 6, 2020, Proclamation of Disaster
Emergency issued under the hand and Seal of the Governor,
Thomas Westerman Wolf.
WHEREAS, A novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, entered the
United States in late January 2020 and has spread through the
states, including this Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, On March 6, 2020, Governor Thomas Westerman Wolf
issued a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency, published at 50
Pa.B. 1644 (March 21, 2020), citing a threat of imminent
disaster that was projected to be of such a magnitude and
severity as to necessitate extraordinary measures to protect the
health, safety and life of this Commonwealth's citizens; and
WHEREAS, Since the issuance of the Proclamation of Disaster
Emergency, the Governor and his administration have issued
executive orders intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,
directly resulting in severe disruption to the Commonwealth and
its political subdivisions and which have and continue to
produce critical and in some cases irreversible short-term and
long-term negative economic consequences; and
WHEREAS, Under the provisions of the Commonwealth's Emergency
Management Code, specifically 35 Pa.C.S. § 7101 et seq., the
General Assembly authorized the Governor to make a temporary
proclamation or declaration of a disaster emergency by executive
order for a period not to exceed 90 days if the health, safety
or welfare of the citizens of this Commonwealth is threatened;
and
WHEREAS, On March 19, 2020, the Governor proclaimed by
executive order that certain business operations (termed non-
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life-sustaining) would be immediately closed for an indefinite
period of time while other business operations (termed life-
sustaining) could remain open to the public provided that the
business operation adhered to "social distancing practices and
other mitigation measures defined by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention to protect workers and patrons"; and
WHEREAS, Since the Governor's March 19, 2020, business
closure order, those business operations in this Commonwealth
that were forced to close have experienced significant loss,
massive layoffs, catastrophic economic injury and other
unsustainable damage, some of which will never financially
recover or reopen as a direct result; and
WHEREAS, Since the Governor's March 19, 2020, business
closure order, more than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians have filed
for unemployment benefits, or 27% of the workforce, rivaling the
unemployment experienced during the Great Depression; and
WHEREAS, In an effort to more effectively manage the
mitigation of the spread of COVID-19 while safely permitting
critical businesses to reopen and allowing citizens to work, the
General Assembly passed Senate Bill No. 613, Printer's No. 1636,
which provided for a COVID-19 Emergency Mitigation Plan for
Businesses, that required the Governor to develop a business
mitigation plan for this Commonwealth following the Federal
guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention and conforming to the March 28, 2020, Advisory
Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical
Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response, as published by
the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security
Agency (CISA); and
WHEREAS, On April 20, 2020, the Governor vetoed Senate Bill
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No. 613, Printer's No. 1636, positing in his veto message that,
"Reopening tens of thousands of businesses too early will only
increase the spread of the virus, place more lives at risk,
increase the death tolls, and extend the length of economic
hardships created by the pandemic"; and
WHEREAS, In response to the severe and deteriorating negative
economic consequences of the Governor's March 19, 2020, business
closure order on businesses and workers in this Commonwealth,
the General Assembly passed House Bill No. 2388, Printer's No.
3719, which required the Secretary of Community and Economic
Development to immediately issue waivers for the following
business operations: vehicle dealers, lawn and garden centers,
cosmetology salons and barber shops, messenger services, animal
grooming services and manufacturing operations; and required the
business operations to adhere to social distancing practices and
other mitigation measures defined by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention and orders issued by the Secretary of
Health; and
WHEREAS, On May 19, 2020, the Governor vetoed House Bill No.
2388, Printer's No. 3719, positing in his veto message that,
"This legislation is an infringement on the authority and
responsibility of the executive and violates the separation of
powers which is critical to the proper functioning of our
democracy"; and
WHEREAS, In continuing efforts to address the severe and
unmitigated negative economic consequences to citizens seeking
to purchase or sell a home in this Commonwealth, and in an
effort to prevent homelessness, the General Assembly also passed
House Bill No. 2412, Printer's No. 3720, which required the
Secretary of Community and Economic Development to immediately
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issue a waiver to the Governor's March 19, 2020, business
closure order to permit providers of real estate services,
including legal services, residential and commercial real estate
services and settlement services, to conduct business; and
required the business operations to adhere to social distancing
practices and other mitigation measures defined by the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention and orders issued by the
Secretary of Health; and
WHEREAS, On May 19, 2020, the Governor vetoed House Bill No.
2412, Printer's No. 3720, positing in his veto message that,
"This legislation is an infringement on the authority and
responsibility of the executive and violates the separation of
powers which is critical to the proper functioning of our
democracy"; and
WHEREAS, As a result of the disparate impact that the COVID-
19 virus is having among the Commonwealth's counties, where some
counties experienced few cases of COVID-19 and others
experienced wider spread of the virus, the General Assembly
passed Senate Bill No. 327, Printer's No. 1700, which, among
other COVID-19 provisions, established the COVID-19 County
Emergency Mitigation Plan for Businesses; and
WHEREAS, The COVID-19 County Emergency Mitigation Plan for
Businesses authorized the governing body of a county, in
consultation with its county emergency management agency, county
health department, county health officer or any other
appropriate health or emergency management official, to develop
and implement a countywide plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-
19 for businesses within the county; and required the business
mitigation plan for the county follow the Federal guidance
provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and
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conform to the March 28, 2020, Advisory Memorandum on
Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers
During COVID-19 Response, as published by CISA; and
WHEREAS, On May 19, 2020, the Governor vetoed Senate Bill No.
327, Printer's No. 1700, positing in his veto message that,
"This prohibition is a legislative infringement on executive
rule-making authority and violates the separation of powers
which is critical to the proper functioning of our democracy";
and
WHEREAS, In response to the unprecedented and well-documented
economic harms being experienced by this Commonwealth's citizens
and businesses, each chamber of the General Assembly has passed
other legislation substantially similar to Senate Bill No. 613,
House Bill No. 2388, House Bill No. 2412 and Senate Bill No.
327, to require the Secretary of Community and Economic
Development to issue waivers to the Governor's March 19, 2020,
business closure order for residential and commercial
construction, restaurant operations, outdoor events and curbside
retail services and required the business operations to adhere
to social distancing practices and other mitigation measures
defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and
orders issued by the Secretary of Health; and
WHEREAS, It is evident, notwithstanding bipartisan support
for these legislative efforts, and with apparent disregard to
the ongoing economic harm being experienced in this Commonwealth
by millions of citizens and businesses, that the Governor, by
and through his use of the temporary emergency powers under 35
Pa.C.S. § 7101 et seq., has demonstrated that he will not
cooperatively manage the COVID-19 crisis to the benefit of all
Pennsylvanians; and
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WHEREAS, Since the issuance of the March 6, 2020,
Proclamation of Disaster Emergency, the documented cases of
COVID-19 have peaked and have continuously declined; and
WHEREAS, Based on data provided by the Department of Health,
the most immediate and direct threat posed by the COVID-19 virus
is to older citizens and those individuals with preexisting
health conditions, a fact which was referenced in the seventh
clause of the March 6, 2020, Proclamation of Disaster Emergency
that has now been proven; and
WHEREAS, 35 Pa.C.S. § 7301(c) provides broad contemporaneous
authority, without preconditions, to the General Assembly to
terminate all or part of a state of emergency by concurrent
resolution at any time; and
WHEREAS, On April 13, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in
Friends of Danny DeVito v. Wolf (No. 68 MM 2020, 2020 WL
1847100), affirmed the General Assembly's authority to terminate
a state of emergency, writing that, "As a counterbalance to the
exercise of the broad powers granted to the Governor, the
Emergency Code provides that the General Assembly by concurrent
resolution may terminate a state of disaster emergency at any
time"; and
WHEREAS, The Court, in reviewing the takings without
compensation claims raised by businesses subject to the
Governor's March 19, 2020, business closure order in Friends of
Danny DeVito v. Wolf, also specifically affirmed that the
Emergency Code, "provides the General Assembly with the ability
to terminate the order at any time. 35 Pa.C.S. § 7301(c)";
therefore be it
RESOLVED (the Senate concurring), That the General Assembly,
in consideration of the orders issued by the Governor to
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mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and the effect the orders have
had on the public health and the Commonwealth's economy, hereby
terminate in part the Proclamation of Disaster Emergency issued
on March 6, 2020, to the extent the Proclamation and the orders
issued pursuant to the Proclamation regulate the conduct of
business operations deemed non-life-sustaining differently than
the conduct of business operations deemed life-sustaining under
the March 19, 2020, business closure order as amended; and be it
further
RESOLVED, That upon adoption of this concurrent resolution by
both chambers of the General Assembly, the Chief Clerk of the
House of Representatives shall do all of the following:
(1) Transmit a copy of this resolution to the Secretary
of the Commonwealth as an official action of the General
Assembly under the authority provided under 35 Pa.C.S. §
7301(c) to terminate all or part of a state of emergency.
(2) Transmit a copy of this resolution to the Director
of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
(3) Transmit this resolution to the Legislative
Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin
under 45 Pa.C.S. § 725(a)(4).
(4) Provide public notice of adoption of this resolution
by publishing a summary of it in newspapers of general
circulation in this Commonwealth within five days of adoption
by the House of Representatives and the Senate.
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