Last week the General Assembly passed several pieces of legislation that would have started to reopen Pennsylvania’s economy. All of them were vetoed by Governor Wolf. Among the victims of Wolf’s veto pen was HB 2412. The legislation would have reclassified the real-estate sector as life-sustaining, not unreasonable since we tend to think of food, clothing, and shelter as our basic needs. Pennsylvania was the only state in the country to put a universal halt to real-estate transactions. As soon as the legislation passed, the Governor promised to veto it, and he followed through with that threat.
What was remarkable was the approach that House and Senate Democratic leadership took on the issue. Instead of recognizing that the legislature is, or should be, a co-equal branch of government, Democratic leadership in the House and Senate penned a letter that groveled before the governor pleading for him to allow real estate to reopen. Images of the letter can be seen below.
All that the letter is really missing is the greeting “Dear Leader.” You’ll note that the second paragraph includes attestations of loyalty that would make members of the Chinese Communist Party proud. Beyond the tone of the letter, the first paragraph of the second page is worth considering carefully. The Democratic leaders note that they had concerns with the bill because it did not prohibit in-person home showings or provide for enough safety protections, in their opinion.
Interestingly, none of the amendments offered by the Democrats in either chamber dealt with these issues exclusively. Instead of proposing changes to address these concerns, Democrats offered amendments that were wish-lists of progressive policy goals. In other words, they offered up show votes that would never go anywhere.
This reliance on executive action is not a new problem. State legislatures and Congress have been relinquishing authority to Governors and the President for decades. This letter to the Governor is the logical next step in eliminating the checks-and-balances a healthy government relies upon to function.
Immediately after vetoing the legislation, Governor Wolf issued an executive order permitting real-estate transactions to resume. His action here is a prime example of the authoritarianism citizens have been subjected to since this “crisis” began.