The state House and Senate passed HR 836, a concurrent resolution, terminating the Proclamation of Disaster Emergency issued by the Governor. The House and Senate believe they do not need the Governor’s approval to end the proclamation. In response, Gov. Wolf issued a press release outlining the impact ending the Emergency Proclamation would have on the state, including:
- Pennsylvania will be the first and only state in the United States without an active disaster emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Telehealth and other health care services provided by out-of-state providers for Pennsylvanians would end
- Hospitals and alternative care sites would no longer be able to add capacity or repurpose facilities (i.e., beds) without having to abide by the 60-day notice requirement
- License renewal and training requirement suspensions for healthcare professionals, child care workers, direct care workers, and direct support professionals, among other professional groups who provide life sustaining services to our children, seniors, and vulnerable residents would end, meaning all of these workers would need to choose between not returning to work until those credentials could be renewed or trainings completed or the option of returning to work with the understanding that they are practicing out of compliance with Pennsylvania law and regulation, very well opening themselves up to personal liability
The Governor also argued in his press release in response to the action that the General Assembly’s claims that the resolution ended the business guideline orders is not true. “Not only does any concurrent resolution need to come to the Governor for approval or disapproval, but the disaster declaration is separate from the orders signed by Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine under the Disease Prevention Act that include provisions for business reopening and for worker and building safety. Those orders remain in place. The legislature did nothing to end those.” Governor Wolf and his General Counsel Gregory Schwab said the administration would be going to court to get clarification as to whether the administration has to comply with the Legislature’s termination of the declaration. The Senate Republican Caucus filed a Petition for Review on Wednesday in Commonwealth Court, to assert what they say is the Legislature’s right, under state law, to terminate disaster emergency declarations.