act 72
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April 1, 2020

Will the General Assembly take Action, or let the Governor’s Emergency Order Stand?

Governor Wolf's Emergency Order

House and Senate Republican leadership have predictably sent out press releases decrying the Governor’s ham-fisted emergency order to close “non-life sustaining” businesses. Under normal circumstances, they might go to the courts for an injunction. However, the courts are closed for at least two weeks, and a member of the Supreme Court is currently under self-quarantine.

Reliance on the Courts in this situation would be unnecessary, and arguably counterproductive from a separation of powers perspective. 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.”

The question at this point is whether the General Assembly will take action, or make angry noises and continue acting impotent.