Pennsylvania State Senate and House Vote to Change Rules in Response to COVID-19

On March 18, 2020, the Pennsylvania Senate approved a rule change that allows all members to vote outside the state Capitol in response to the coronavirus. The new rule allows members to participate and vote remotely using technology. The temporary rule will expire at the end of July or when Gov. Tom Wolf lifts his emergency declaration. The House also made temporary changes to its rules so members can submit their votes to party leaders and committee chairs, rather than be present in the Capitol. The party leaders and committee chairs must still be present if lawmakers want to consider legislation. House members also shortened the amount of time needed to move bills between the two chambers. The Senate did not follow but could later vote remotely to suspend the rules to move certain bills more quickly.