Senator John Yudichak: Statement on the passage of SB 327 and SB 613

Harrisburg, April 15, 2020 – State Senator John Yudichak (I-Luzerne/Carbon) released the following statement on the passage of SB 327 and SB 613.

“If the COVID-19 crisis has taught us anything, it has taught us we are all in this together and governments need to be collaborative in their approach to a global pandemic.

Neither the President nor the Governor has total authority over our response to this crisis, we must marshal the resources and talents of all levels of government to battle the spread of the novel coronavirus in our communities. 

The legislation passed in the Senate today, SB 327 and SB 613, simply advance the idea that all three branches of state government — the executive, the legislative, and the judicial should be working in tandem to meet the needs of every community and every citizen in the Commonwealth.  The unique challenge of the COVID-19 crisis is not an open-ended opportunity for the executive branch to make unilateral decisions that exclude representatives from the legislative and judicial branches of government.

Protecting the public health and managing an economy that ensures safe working conditions are not mutually exclusive concepts, and certainly should not be partisan bickering points. Over 45 states in the nation currently operate under uniform CDC and CyberSecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) guidelines regarding safe business mitigation efforts.

The Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Health already have broad authority to implement safe business mitigation plans and enforce those measures. We have talented men and women in all branches of state government, and it is necessary that in this most pressing hour we work together to save both lives and livelihoods.”

As amended, Senate Bill 327 will allow county governments to develop and implement their own plans to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Under the bill, all businesses identified by Governor Wolf and the CDC/CISA as essential infrastructure would be allowed to operate, but counties would have the option to allow additional employers to remain open if it safe to do so, and with the proper mitigation measures in effect.

Senate Bill 613 would require the Governor to create clear guidelines for businesses to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses that are able to operate safely under the new guidelines would be permitted to re-open as long as they comply with mitigation strategies.

Carly Simpson – csimpson@pasen.gov

Brad Hurley – bhurley@pasen.gov