In this email edition:
Federal Judge Rebukes Governor Wolf’s Unconstitutional Orders
A federal judge declared Monday that many of the unilateral mandates placed on Pennsylvanians by the Wolf administration have been unconstitutional throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. District Judge William S. Stickman IV wrote, “The Constitution sets certain lines that may not be crossed, even in an emergency. Actions taken by the defendants crossed those lines. It is the duty of the Court to declare those actions unconstitutional.” Stickman ruled that Wolf’s orders violated components of the first and fourteenth amendments such as the freedom of assembly, due process and equal protection clauses.
Stay tuned as this legal battle continues…
Lancaster Protestors Get $1 Million Bail- Lt. Governor Protests
The city of Lancaster was rocked by protests after an officer-involved shooting over the weekend. The incident involved an officer shooting and killing a man who charged him with a knife. A district judge set the bail for 6 protestors who were arrested at $1 million each. Lt Governor Fetterman tweeted out that this violated the 8th amendment of the Constitution, which does not allow for excessive bail. You can read more here from Newsweek.
Four Policy Hearings this Week Regarding the Governor’s “Consistently Inconsistent” Orders
This week, I chaired four hearings of the Majority Policy Committee. These hearings are a valuable chance for us to listen to the concerns of Pennsylvanians.
On Monday, I chaired a hearing at the request of Senator Judy Ward (R-Blair, Cumberland, Fulton, Franklin, and Huntingdon) on the challenges facing rural pharmacies in Pennsylvania.
On Tuesday, I chaired a hearing at the request of Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Adams & Franklin) on the impact of COVID-19 and the Governor’s orders on service and veterans’ organizations. Senator Mastriano called the approach by Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine to businesses and organizations “consistently inconsistent.” The Wolf Administration did this without support or input by employees, employers, local governments, city governments, or either chamber of the legislature. Senator Mastriano and I agree- Tom Wolf is not a king!
On Wednesday, I chaired a hearing at the request of Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-Beaver, Washington, & Greene) on the ongoing economic recovery of western Pennsylvania.
Friday, I will chair a hearing at the request of Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) on the prospects of a limited constitutional convention in Pennsylvania.
Lawmakers Face Vote on High School Sports Veto Override
Wilson School District to Open Sports Activities Again
School districts would have the final say on whether to allow school sports, extracurricular activities and spectators during the 2020-21 school year under a bill that was recently approved by the Senate.
Governor Wolf has threatened to veto this bill, even though it passed the House with a 155-47 vote, and the Senate with a 39-11 vote. If the Governor follows through, and the votes remain the same, the General Assembly is poised to override a veto.
House Bill 2787 would allow school districts to develop their own health and safety plans that reflect the realities facing schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety plans would be required to be posted online and submitted to the Department of Education.
Any individual who has COVID-19 in a transmissible stage would be prohibited from participating in any sporting event or extracurricular activity.
The legislation would remove the uncertainty that has been created by the Wolf Administration’s unclear and constantly shifting guidance for schools.
Most recently, Governor Wolf abruptly called for the cancellation of all fall sports this year. However, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association later voted to allow school sports to continue after discussing the issue at length with all stakeholders.
The Wilson School District, in Berks County, has allowed more than the 250-person limit and created its own safety guidelines, such a social distancing, masks, and temperature checks. You can read more here.
Tamaqua Arts Center- Big Benefit Concert
Left to Right: Representative Tobash, Amie Tobash, Micah Gursky, my wife Beth, me, my Chief of Staff Christine Verdier, Michaela Tobash, and Tamaqua Mayor Nathan Gerace
Beth and I attended the Tamaqua Arts Center’s Big Benefit Concert on Saturday. It was much more relaxing for me to simply watch and enjoy this year, compared to those previous years where I dusted off my old tenor sax and attempted to keep up with the rest of the band!
Celebrating Bernville Community Fire Company’s 100th Anniversary
On Saturday, I attended a ceremony to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Bernville Community Fire Company. I was joined by Representative Barry Jozwiak (R-Berks) to honor the century of brave service that the members of this organization have provided for their community.
Reminder: Census is Due!
The 2020 Census ends September 20th. If you have not filled out the census for your household, please do before this deadline. It is important for Pennsylvania’s allocation of state and federal aid programs as well as our representation in the federal House of Representatives. You can fill out the 2020 Census here.
COVID-19 Local Statistics
Here are the latest numbers for daily COVID-19 cases in Schuylkill and Berks County.
Argall Report: Supporting Our Rural Hospitals
This month’s local TV program focuses on a recent workshop discussion conducted by the Senate Majority Policy Committee on the challenges facing Pennsylvania’s rural hospitals. The workshop discussion took place in Monongahela, Pennsylvania at the request of Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-Beaver/Greene/Washington).
You can watch the program here.