Harrisburg, January 26, 2021 — State Senator John Yudichak (I-Luzerne/Carbon) voted today to approve a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the length of future emergency disaster declarations unless an extension is approved by the General Assembly, moving it one step closer to a voter referendum.
“An emergency, especially a pandemic of this magnitude, demands collaborative leadership and all branches of state government working together,” said State Senator John Yudichak. “If approved by the voters, Senate Bill 2 would simply ensure that all voices are heard and that no one branch of government works unilaterally in times of emergencies. We are a stronger Commonwealth when we work together.”
Under current law, a governor’s emergency declaration can last up to 90 days and be renewed by the governor indefinitely. Under Senate Bill 2, the emergency declaration would be limited to 21 days unless the General Assembly approved a longer duration. It also clarifies that the legislature is not required to present the resolution ending the declaration to the governor for his consideration.
Senate Bill 2 also provides for a constitutional amendment prohibiting the denial of equal rights based on race or ethnicity, bringing the Pennsylvania Constitution in line with the U.S. Constitution.
Senate Bill 2 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. As a constitutional amendment, the legislation must be approved by the General Assembly in two consecutive legislative sessions before being put on the ballot for voters to decide. The measure was approved by the General Assembly in the previous legislative session.
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