HARRISBURG – The House State Government Committee approved several pieces of legislation, including a constitutional amendment to improve cooperation in responding to emergencies by limiting the length of emergency disaster declarations unless approved by the General Assembly and two bills to reinvent government, at its meeting today, committee Chairman Seth Grove (R-Dover) said.
Senate Bill 2
aims to limit the length of an emergency declaration to 21 days unless the House and Senate jointly approve a longer duration. The measure also clarifies that the Legislature is not required to present to the governor for his approval a resolution ending an emergency declaration. Currently, a governor’s emergency declaration can last up to 90 days and be renewed by the governor indefinitely.
“An emergency declaration is meant to be used to address immediate dangers in a very timely manner, not to be extended indefinitely,” Grove said. “A long-lasting declaration undermines our system of government by allowing one person to make decisions that impact all Pennsylvanians. This greatly hampers the will and voice of the people, through the General Assembly.”
A version of Senate Bill 2 was approved last session. Should the measure be approved by the House this session, voters will see the referendum question on the ballot this year. The House also approved Grove’s companion legislation, House Bill 55, to the Senate measure today.
In addition to the constitutional amendment, the committee also approved House Bills 40 and 47 to reinvent government so it works better for residents.
“It should be the goal of every lawmaker in the General Assembly to make government work more efficiently and effectively for all Pennsylvanians,” Grove said. “House Bills 40 and 47 aim to accomplish this goal by transforming how our Commonwealth operates by further protecting online information and consolidating government agencies in a more streamlined fashion.”
Specifically, House Bill 40, authored by Grove, would make improvements to the Commonwealth’s cybersecurity capabilities by forming the Office of Information and Technology, which would be given the power to consolidate and oversee all IT systems and contracts within the executive branch.
The committee approved the following pieces of legislation:
• House Bill 40
: Amends Title 71 to establish information technology governance, oversight and cybersecurity standards.
• House Bill 47
: Amends Title 71 to establish the Department of Local Government and Community Affairs, transferring specific powers from the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of State to the new Department.
• House Bill 284
: Amends Title 37 regarding administration of the State Archives/archival records.
• House Resolution 19
: Honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and recognizes the week of January 18 through 24, 2021 as “Martin Luther King, Jr., Week of Remembrance” in Pennsylvania.
The legislation will now be considered by the full House.
Representative Seth Grove
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross