The Community Connection

Reasons to vote for referendum approval on May 18

- By State Sen. Patrick J. Stefano Guest columnist State Sen. Patrick J. Stefano is a Republican who represents Pennsylvan­ia 32nd Senatorial District in parts of Fayette, Somerset and Westmorela­nd counties.

I have often contemplat­ed how I would define good leadership. A good leader knows how to surround themselves with trusted experts from many fields, consider their thoughts and suggestion­s, and formulate a plan of action.

This type of leadership is lacking in Pennsylvan­ia.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, all we see is a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach from Governor Wolf’s administra­tion. Those experts around the table should be medical experts, emergency management personnel, economic experts, and those elected to represent you — your Legislatur­e.

Those experts also give you something I always discuss, balance — the balance between protecting your personal health while simultaneo­usly protecting your personal freedom. With the proper input from all groups, this balance can be achieved.

April 2021 marked the 13th month of the pandemic and the 5th renewal of a Declaratio­n of Emergency. The Emergency Code gives the governor special executive powers to make quick, decisive actions in the face of an emergency.

In the past (other than the Opioid Crisis), these “disasters” have been caused by nature, such as flooding, tornadoes, fires, and earthquake­s. Never before have we witnessed a health pandemic affecting the entire state, country, and world.

Over the past year, Gov. Tom Wolf has wielded this power without any input from the legislatur­e.

The House and Senate would pass legislatio­n to correct his oversteps, only to have the governor veto them. In several situations, veto overrides would fail by a single vote or two.

The Pennsylvan­ia State Constituti­on dictates when a disaster declaratio­n should be renewed — 90 days.

The Constituti­on also says that a concurrent resolution passed in both the House and Senate can end the declaratio­n. Our State Supreme Court felt otherwise and said the concurrent resolution must be presented to the governor for approval. And surprise, Gov. Wolf vetoed the resolution.

To change this procedure, the Legislatur­e passed a Constituti­onal Amendment, Senate Bill 2, in both the previous session and again this 2021-2022 session. This amendment states a Declaratio­n of Emergency will end in 21 days unless renewed by a Concurrent Resolution of the House and Senate.

Just remember this axiom: a government that is granted more power over its people will resist any return of that power.

This is proven by the wording the governor and his administra­tion used when writing the ballot referendum questions.

Take that power back and just vote “yes” on all three ballot questions. A vote of “yes” on the three ballot referendum questions on May 18th will make this change in the Constituti­on to bring the balance that I speak of and will improve the administra­tion’s leadership style.

 ??  ?? Sen. Patrick J. Stefano
Sen. Patrick J. Stefano

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