(HARRISBURG) – At a Capitol news conference today, a group of Senators highlighted the importance of voters understanding “what a YES vote means” when they go to the polls to decide proposed Constitutional amendments on May 18.
Citing the need to protect lives and livelihoods while restoring critical checks and balances in Harrisburg, the senators encouraged Pennsylvanians to learn about the three proposed Constitutional amendments up for consideration during the primary election and how a YES at the ballot box means voters favor:
- Protecting the education of our children;
- Supporting small employers in our local communities;
- Prohibiting discrimination; and
- Providing funding for fire companies.
Watch the news conference here.
“For more than 13 months during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Wolf has exerted nearly unlimited power to suspend state statutes, spend money without the authorization of the legislature and close schools and businesses as he saw fit,” Corman said. “No matter how you feel about the actions the governor has taken during the pandemic, we should all be able to agree that no individual and no single branch of government should ever be able to wield unilateral control over the lives of Pennsylvanians for such an extended period of time.”
“On May 18th, Pennsylvanians are voting to decide if the governor has the ability to by-pass the people by continuously extending a crisis via the emergency declaration process. The purpose of an emergency declaration is meant to give the executive branch the power to triage a crisis not a vehicle for the Governor to enact, amend, and suspend laws and regulations for an excessive period of time,” said Majority Leader Kim Ward. “A ‘yes’ vote does not take power away from the governor, rather it brings back the balance of power by giving the people a say in how to manage their communities during emergency situations.”
Lawmakers approved three potential amendments to the Constitution that will appear on the ballot for voters in the May 18 election, including one question to prohibit discrimination based on race or ethnicity and two questions designed to improve the way the state responds to future emergencies.
The Department of State is responsible for drafting the questions in a way that is fair and easy to understand. However, the Wolf Administration has been widely criticized for wording the emergency response questions in a way that is deeply confusing and prejudicial.
Rather than taking the issue to court and delaying potential enactment of the amendments, lawmakers have placed their faith in the people of Pennsylvania to make the right decision at the polls on May 18.
The senators have created a webpage to better explain what the proposed amendments would accomplish. They also are continuing to share materials through social media, traditional media and other outreach efforts to ensure voters understand “what a YES vote means.”