Mensch Votes for Proposal Limiting Governor’s Declarations

HARRISBURG PA – Among those voting Tuesday (Jan. 26, 2021) in the Pennsylvania Senate to limit the length of future emergency declarations issued the state’s governor was 24th District state Sen. Bob Mensch, he acknowledged, claiming “problems that occurred during the response to COVID-19 were due to the governor’s exercise of unilateral authority.”

Current law allows a governor’s emergency declaration to last up to 90 days, and to be renewed by the governor indefinitely, Mensch, a Republican, cited. The Senate’s bill, yet to be ratified by the House, proposes a proposed constitutional amendment that limits emergency declarations to 21 days unless the Legislature approves a longer duration. It also states the governor need not be notified when the declaration ends.

Mensch on Wednesday (Jan. 27) charged Gov. Tom Wolf’s coronavirus-related decrees “negatively impacted long-term care settings, delayed unemployment compensation payments to displaced workers,” and closed individual businesses and industries longer than necessary. Wolf and the Legislature’s elected Democrats disagree.

As a constitutional amendment, the legislation must be approved by the General Assembly in two consecutive legislative sessions, and then be put on the ballot for voters to decide.

The Senate bill also includes a provision for a constitutional amendment to prohibit the denial of equal rights based on race or ethnicity. It would bring the Pennsylvania Constitution in line with the U.S. Constitution.

June 2017 photo by the office of Gov. Tom Wolf, via Wikimedia Commons, used under a Creative Commons license