Pennsylvania voters on Tuesday soundly rejected Governor Tom Wolf and his abuse of emergency powers.
By a 54%-46% margin, the people voted YES on two ballot questions specifically related to the Disaster Emergency Declarations in Pennsylvania. This became a hot topic over the last 14 months since Wolf first declared a Disaster Emergency here to manage the coronavirus pandemic.
Locally, Schuylkill County voters agreed with their colleagues statewide. We voted 65-35 in favor of Ballot Question 1 and 66-34 in favor of Ballot Question 2.
Pennsylvania Votes in Favor of Reducing Governor Powers on Disaster Emergency
From the day of the first declaration, critics of the laws on the books prior to Tuesday’s vote believed the Governor held too much power and the way he wielded it – often acting in secrecy, vindictively, and sometimes hypocritically – was dangerous. It’s hard to find a Governor across the country who acted as recklessly as Wolf did during the pandemic.
While many focus on the disastrous decision to force nursing homes to admit COVID-positive patients even if they weren’t able to segregate them from other residents, there were numerous other examples of Wolf abusing his emergency powers. And voters have had enough, clearly.
Remember the secretive “essential/non-essential business” waiver list? The Wolf administration still hasn’t released details on why some businesses were considered essential or non-essential. He forced many non-essential businesses to close their doors, many of which went out of business entirely.
Then, when the General Assembly passed legislation that would have permitted businesses in some industries, like home construction, to reopen during the early days of the pandemic response, he’d veto the bills only to later approve them but only if he said so. He basically stole ideas that he rejected.
Further, when counties like Schuylkill dared to say they could reopen businesses despite being in the so-called “Red” phase of the state’s secretive and constantly changing reopening plan, Wolf literally called people cowards. And he threatened to cut off CARES Act funding to counties that tried to go against his administration’s orders.
There were many other examples of Wolf abusing his powers and frankly, Pennsylvanians had had enough by the time Tuesday’s election rolled around. To get these important questions on the ballot, the General Assembly had to pass bills in consecutive legislative sessions, which they did. Once the vote is certified, the results go into effect and the General Assembly can vote to end Wolf’s Disaster Emergency declaration related to the COVID pandemic.
The Results of Tuesday’s Ballot Questions Vote in Pennsylvania
Because of Tuesday’s resounding victory at the polls, a Governor of Pennsylvania can only declare a Disaster Emergency for a period of 21 days. After that expires, he must gain approval for extending it through the General Assembly.
In a second question related to a Pennsylvania Governor’s emergency powers, the General Assembly can now vote by concurrent resolution to end or extend a Disaster Emergency by simple majority. This became an issue last year when the GA did exactly that but a fight ensued over whether Wolf could veto that vote, which he did, and if a 2/3 majority was needed to override such a vote, as it pertained to disasters.
In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s vote, Wolf tried his best to trick voters into thinking they were playing a dangerous game if they voted yes on these questions. But voters obviously saw through that.
One of the leading voices in Harrisburg on this issue was State Rep. Russ Diamond, of Lebanon County. He took to social media to thank those who supported the message that Wolf and all governors in the future must “Never Again” be able to hold Pennsylvania hostage as Wolf has for more than a year.
Democrats and Wolf are apparently furious about the results of Tuesday’s vote. The Governor hasn’t said anything publicly about the tallies that didn’t go in his favor. Instead, he’s been tweeting all day about all the other issues he believes were exposed by the pandemic (typical left-wing propaganda that makes you believe his response to the pandemic was about pushing a political agenda and never about public safety): minimum wage, the burden of charter and cyber schools, gun violence, etc.