Sen. Yaw: Voters Will Have Say on Curbing Governor’s Emergency Declaration Powers

HARRISBURG – A proposed constitutional amendment to limit the length of future emergency disaster declarations unless an extension is approved by the General Assembly received final legislative approval today and will be put before the voters to decide in the May 18 primary election, said state Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23), who supported the measure.

Senate Bill 2 was approved by the House of Representatives today, following approval by the Senate on January 26.

Under current law, a governor’s emergency declaration can last up to 90 days and be renewed by the governor indefinitely.

“This consolidation of power has led to numerous problems since the COVID-19 pandemic began,” Sen. Yaw said.  “This included flawed guidance that negatively impacted long-term care settings, delayed unemployment compensation payments to displaced workers, and individual businesses and entire industries being shuttered longer than necessary.”

Under Senate Bill 2, the emergency declaration would be limited to 21 days unless the General Assembly approved a longer duration. It also clarifies that the legislature is not required to present the resolution ending the declaration to the governor for his consideration.

Senate Bill 2 also provides for a constitutional amendment prohibiting the denial of equal rights based on race or ethnicity, bringing the Pennsylvania Constitution in line with the U.S. Constitution.

As a constitutional amendment, the legislation had to be approved by the General Assembly in two consecutive legislative sessions before being put on the ballot for voters to decide. The measure was approved by the General Assembly in the previous legislative session.

For more state-related news and information visit Senator Yaw’s website at or on Facebook and Twitter @SenatorGeneYaw.


Nick Troutman

(717) 787-3280

Back to Top