This piece was first published on the LancasterSpeaksUp.com blog, on May 2, 2021 with permission from the author. It has been submitted to LancasterOnline/LNP for consideration as a Letter to the Editor.
The next election is upon us, though it hardly seems like a blink of an eye since the last. Though typically thought of as a Primary election, the May 18th election has four important ballot questions which all Pennsylvanians can vote on, regardless of party.
I am addressing the first two questions. Both significantly limit the Governor’s emergency declaration powers. I urge you to vote “No” to both questions.
A “No” vote on question one will prevent the general assembly from taking on power that is traditionally and wisely given to the executive branch. The last thing we need during a pandemic, hurricane, or flood is legislative gridlock. An important role of the executive branch is to act quickly in emergencies.
A “No” vote on question two will keep the duration of an emergency order at three months instead of decreasing it to three weeks. The response to almost every emergency lasts more than three weeks. Calling back 253 legislators when we are amid a statewide crisis is like calling a family meeting when the house is on fire.
Though no governor is perfect, I felt comfort in looking to one leader who I knew was making crucial decisions. A novel threat like COVID-19 fosters opinions and rumors, so we need one source of information to keep us from chaos and division.
Join me in voting “No” to the first two questions on the ballot on May 18th.