Harrisburg (June 10) – Today, I voted in support of both HB854, extending waivers needed to address the COVID crisis as a matter of legislation, and HR 106, ending the emergency declaration. As I cast these votes, I viewed my decision as an opportunity to de-escalate and de-politicize the rhetoric surrounding our response to the pandemic.
We have labored together for 16-months under unprecedented, unforeseen and difficult conditions and now we are coming out of the crisis – the worst being behind us. The Governor has removed the more onerous mitigation orders: the mask mandate, the business closures and occupancy limits. Vaccination rates continue to rise and the number of COVID cases continues to plummet. Steadily, we are returning to our pre-pandemic lives.
Recently, the Pennsylvania voters spoke and wanted us to take a more collaborative approach to responding to this crisis. The Senate went to work with the Governor and his team to set a path forward without a declaration of emergency. Everyone that voted in support of HB854 understands that we are still in a crisis and put in place the needed guardrails for the Commonwealth to continue addressing the COVID pandemic. Whether the term is “emergency declaration”, ‘crisis”, or “pandemic”, the fact remains that the Senate acted today to protect the people of Pennsylvania while responding to the will of the voters.
Hopefully, we can turn the page and focus on the continued recovery of the Commonwealth. This crisis is not over, but with the passage of these bills the Commonwealth is positioned to continue to handle our response to COVID. Working together, the Governor and the Legislature came to a responsible agreement to protect all Pennsylvanians.
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