Constitutional changes ahead? Last week we updated you on the many legislative attempts to reign in the ability for the governor to exercise emergency declaration powers for long periods of time. And, we reported that the PA Supreme Court ruled 5 to 2 in favor of the governor’s ability to exercise his authority as it pertains to the COVID pandemic response. For a summary of that report, go here.

While the Supreme Court has issued its ruling, the issue isn’t going away anytime soon. Earlier this week the House State Government Committee approved a series of amendments to the PA Constitution that would significantly change how a governor can deploy executive powers granted under the state’s Emergency Management Services Code, limiting the span of a disaster emergency declaration unless extended by the state legislature. While the bills were adopted along party lines the issues are scheduled to move to a full vote in the House as early as next week. Additionally, we are hearing that the Senate is also likely to take up the bills in the near future as they have scheduled a rare, mid-July session appearance.
APC will continue to report on these issues as they continue to occupy the legislative calendar in July when normally the General Assembly breaks for its summer recess.

House passes bill to stop Cap-and-Trade initiative. In a rare bipartisan move, the House voted this week on legislation to require legislative authorization before Pennsylvania can enter into any multi-state carbon capping program such at the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI. For our recent report on RGGI, go here.

Many western Pa Democrats joined with Republicans in passing the measure to the Senate which is expected to take up the matter next week.

The administration is seeking to enter Pennsylvania into RGGI and claims that legislative approval is not needed. Governor Wolf signed an executive order last October to begin the process of entering into the multi-state agreement. Wolf cites the move as part of an effort to take action to reduce carbon emissions in Pennsylvania. Opponents to the effort believe the Governor should have engaged with the legislature instead of moving forward through executive order.

This highly controversial measure will undoubtedly occupy much of the General Assembly’s attention over the next few months.