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PA Supreme Court: Ending an Emergency Declaration Requires More Votes than Impeachment

Wolf's Emergency Declaration Order is Law

On June 9th, the General Assembly passed a concurrent resolution ending Governor Wolf’s emergency declaration. The legislation passed with bipartisan support. According to the PA Emergency Services Management Code (35 Pa C.S. § 7301(c)), “The General Assembly by concurrent resolution may terminate a state of disaster emergency at any time. Thereupon, the Governor shall issue an executive order or proclamation ending the state of disaster emergency.”

Last week the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the legislature could not end an emergency declaration with a simple majority. Instead, and despite the clear language of the statute, the Supreme Court ruled that the Governor could veto the concurrent resolution. The legislature would need a two-thirds majority in both chambers to override the veto. For comparison, impeachment requires a simple majority in the House and a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate.

In simple terms, this means that all a Governor has to do to obtain dictatorial authority is declare an emergency and renew it every ninety days. What makes this decision even more frustrating is that this decision contradicts an earlier one from this Court that stated the legislature could terminate the order “at any time.”

In light of this decision and the Supreme Court’s 2018 usurpation of legislative authority to redraw congressional districts, the Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania (CAP) has decided that we will take an active role in judicial elections. We cannot stand by and allow the courts to continue to erode the separation of powers and unambiguous statutory language. We are also exploring what role CAP or the CAP political action committee can play in the coming general election to defeat Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Shapiro has repeatedly ignored executive branch overreach and participated in multiple lawsuits to overturn regulatory changes made by the Trump administration.

Our ability to impact Shapiro’s re-election efforts and judicial races in the future will directly depend on the willingness of taxpayers, like you, to contribute financially to this effort.

Please, click here to help us expand our efforts to include the judiciary and Attorney General’s race this Fall.