State Rep. Neal Goodman (D-123) voted against re-opening garden centers across Pennsylvania on Thursday.
Luckily, his ignorant vote wasn’t enough to tip the scale in the Pennsylvania House and HB 2429 passed by a 133-69 vote.
All Republicans voted in favor of the bill, including local Reps. Jerry Knowles (R-124) and Mike Tobash (R-125). A total of 24 Democrats also voted Thursday to re-open garden centers, Goodman not included.
The bill now moves to the State Senate, where it’s likely to be passed and moved on to Gov. Tom Wolf, who likely will veto it.
PA House Votes to Re-Open Garden Centers Amid Coronavirus Pandemic Response
The bill’s author, Rep. Russ Diamond, took to the floor again on Thursday to spell out the reasoning for his commonsense legislation.
“Local garden centers must be exempt from Wolf’s business closure mandate. Within a few weeks, these plants will be absolutely useless. Garden season is here and individuals should have the right to be self-sufficient in feeding their families,” Diamond wrote in a Facebook post accompanying this video of his floor speech:
Popular Schuylkill County Garden Center Relegated to Delivery Only in Mid-March
Trail Gardens, just outside Cressona, continued operating and allowing customers into their store through mid-March. Then, according to one of the store’s social media posts, Gov. Tom Wolf ordered it to close its doors to customers.
Since then, Trail Gardens is operating on a delivery-only basis. They’ve quickly adapted to the unfair hand they were dealt. That just goes to show how small businesses have an ability to adapt to any health guidelines just like big box businesses that were allowed to stay open throughout this draconian coronavirus pandemic response.
In fact, small businesses constantly need to adapt to compete — in any way they can — to keep up with these big box stores.
The argument all along for keeping stores like Trail Gardens, specifically, open to customers is that stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot sell many of the same products they sell. So, if they can stay open, why can’t a store like Trail Gardens.
If Lowe’s, Home Depot, or Walmart can promise to follow any relevant social distancing and health safety guidelines ordered by Wolf, why can’t a small business?
Wolf has routinely been peppered with questions about garden centers and other businesses that sell the same products as those big box stores. Like many of his responses since the beginning of the pandemic response, he’s offered an ignorant response.
One day, he said with a faux-puzzled look on his face, “hARdWarE sTorEs cAn StAy oPeN.”
Food Supply Chain in Jeopardy Nationwide
The call to re-open garden centers immediately comes as news hits daily about the threats against the US food supply chain.
Reports show how farmers nationwide are being forced to waste crops like onions and potatoes. Chicken and egg farmers are gassing poultry because there’s no outlet for the thousands of eggs they produce on a daily basis. Dairy farmers are dumping milk into the ground.
And while all this is happening, Wolf and his Democrat cronies in the General Assembly continue to block you from being able to plant and grow your own food or force you to buy plants from just one or two suppliers, none with local ties.
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