|By Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover)
Like so many of you, I am frustrated and infuriated with Gov. Tom Wolf’s policies he formed unilaterally and without input of Pennsylvanians or the Legislature. Understandably, I have been asked why I have not signed the Declaration of Suspension, which falsely claims to be a tool to end the governor’s State of Emergency Declaration. Let be clear, it does not have any legal standing. It has a zero chance of doing anything.
The Declaration of Suspension, in and of itself, is a violation of our Constitution. Our constitution does not provide a process for a majority of members of the House and Senate to void any law or action by the executive or legislative branch. This is a very dangerous concept in which your constitutionally protected rights can be eliminated. Our constitution was developed to ensure no one branch has this type of power.
Here is the real problem. In the 1970s, a Democrat-controlled legislature passed a law giving the Democrat governor powers under the emergency declaration act. While these powers have been used to deal with many natural disasters over the many decades, Gov. Wolf is the first governor to use these powers to solely operate our government. With the backing of the democratic controlled Pennsylvania Supreme Court, he has been able to hold onto his power. In order for the General Assembly to change laws we need the governor’s signature or enough votes to override the governor’s veto. Currently, a coalition of all Republicans and a few Democrats have not been able to override any of the governor’s vetoes.
There are only three paths to restoring the constitutional checks and balances of power in Pennsylvania:
(1) Public pressure becomes so overwhelming, two-thirds of the members of the General Assembly vote to override vetoes.
(2) The general election increases the number of members who will override the governor’s vetoes.
(3) The general assembly retains enough members who support Senate Bill 1166, which is a constitutional amendment to reign in the governor’s emergency powers. If the general assembly next session takes up this bill right away, it can be placed on the ballot during the municipal primary to be approved by the voters.
Protecting our Constitution is paramount. Violating our Constitution to achieve a desired result is not the answer.