This Month’s Argall Report: Limiting the Governor’s Emergency Powers

HARRISBURG – This month’s local TV program hosted by Senator David G. Argall (R-Berks/Schuylkill) focuses on the recent passage of Senate Bill 1166 – a constitutional amendment to limit the length of future emergency disaster declarations made by a governor.

“The people of this Commonwealth never elected Governor Wolf to be our King,” said Senator Argall. “We have a constitutional obligation to preserve our delicate system of checks and balances. No one person should ever hold the vast powers of this Commonwealth in their hands alone. Our Founding Fathers designed a system where three separate, but co-equal branches of government are responsible for governing at the consent of the governed.”

Senate Bill 1166 limits the length of future emergency declarations to 21 days unless approved for a longer duration by the legislature. It also amends the Pennsylvania Constitution to prohibit the denial of equal rights based on race or ethnicity. Senate Bill 1166 passed the Senate by a vote of 33 to 17. All Republican Senators, four Democratic Senators, and the chamber’s only Independent Senator voted in favor of the amendment.

“This bipartisan approach will ensure that no future governor will act unilaterally to shut down the state’s economy without the approval of their co-equal branch of government,” Senator Argall continued. “It doesn’t matter if you are a Republican governor, a Democratic governor, or an Independent governor, you must consult with the peoples’ legislature – whose very job it is to understand the pressing issues that their districts face.

As a constitutional amendment, Senate Bill 1166 must pass the legislature again before going to the voters as a ballot question. As a constitutional amendment, the Governor has no authority to either approve or veto the bill.

This edition of the Argall report will air on:

  • Blue Ridge Communications (Channel 13) every Monday at 10 a.m. and every Wednesday at 10:30 p.m.
  • Berks Community Television (Comcast – Channel 15 and Service Electric – Channel 19) on Thursday at 8 p.m. and Friday at 6 p.m.
  • Shen-Heights TV, Hazleton’s WLYN TV 35 and MetroCast Communications Channel 10.  Please check local listings for air times.

Senator Argall’s report is also available online at

Contact: Joshua J. Paul