There are 3 Constitutional Amendment Questions and one Statewide Referendum question, please vote, NO, NO, YES, YES.
Ballot Question 1 SHIFTS the power of an emergency declaration from the Governor, where it now resides, to the Legislature.
- The General Assembly terminates or extends the Governor’s emergency declaration.
- Our system of checks and balances is bypassed since the Governor does not sign off on this legislation.
Ballot Question 2 will have an emergency declaration arbitrarily expire.
- Preemptive termination of the emergency declaration after 21 days.
There have been no meaningful deficiencies in the current law or reasons provided for the proposed Constitutional Amendments. These proposed amendments are simply solutions looking for a problem, with dire consequences, and your Democratic Party does not think they are needed.
Ballot Question 3 sets forth a principle which has long been a standard to which the Democratic Party has adhered.
- Promotes states’ rights – independent of the US Constitution and federal law – regarding equal rights of an individual.
- Allows individuals to not be discriminated against due to race or ethnicity by agencies and organizations of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- Prohibits legislation that is inconsistent with Pennsylvania law.
Referendum Question 4 would allow a now existing loan program for volunteer emergency services to be available to municipal emergency services.
- Provides funding for equipment and infrastructure improvements.
CONSEQUENCES if Ballot Questions 1 and 2 Are Approved
A YES on Ballot question 1 will allow the General Assembly to limit or extend the disaster emergency declaration. A YES on ballot question 2 amends the PA Constitution so that a disaster emergency declaration will expire automatically after 21 days, regardless of the severity of the emergency.
Disasters include: hurricanes, blizzards, industrial accidents including nuclear accidents, and, of course, pandemics, etc.
Ending a disaster after 21 days – a completely arbitrary number – could make a bad situation worse.
Had these amendments been in effect our COVID-19 disaster would have ended on March 27, 2020. The legislature had not even mastered remote voting by that point.
If the Legislature cannot meet due to a disaster the state’s response to that disaster simply ends and the people are left with no support.
Examples of some natural disasters with long-term impacts:
- Sinkholes from floods sometime take weeks to develop.
- Pollution from industrial accidents can take months to be discovered.
- In Fukushima Japan, they have communities still facing disaster conditions a decade after the tsunami and nuclear accident.
Federal funding often depends on a disaster declaration in place.
Use of the National Guard depends on the governor’s authority to declare a disaster.
What we lose when emergency declaration ends:
- Lose billions of dollars in federal funding.
- Lose the ability to have nursing students administer vaccines.
- Lose the ability to extend license renewal dates for in state and out of state practitioners.
- Lose the ability to quickly bring back retired medical professionals.
- Lose the ability to make use of military and Department of Defense personnel to supplement staff in long term care facilities.
- Slow down the procurement of life saving supplies.