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As Primary Nears, Wolf Administration Campaigns Against Emergency Powers Ballot Questions

Professional and Occupational Affairs Commissioner Kalonji Johnson is one of several Wolf administration officials advocating for keeping the state's current emergency powers rules in place..jpeg
Commonwealth Media Services
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Professional and Occupational Affairs Commissioner Kalonji Johnson is one of several Wolf administration officials advocating for keeping the state's current emergency powers rules in place.

Later this month, voters will decide whether a governor should get three weeks — instead of three months — to act on a disaster before coming to the state legislature for an extension.

They’ll also decide whether lawmakers should be able to extend or cancel state disaster declarations without the governor’s input.

That’s left several members of Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration less than thrilled. Over the last few weeks, they’ve made several public attempts to promote the benefits of keeping in place the current rules surrounding state disaster declarations.

“No two disasters are exactly the same,” Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director Randy Padfield said last month. “[But] many of these disasters, while often short-lived, have long and complex recovery periods lasting weeks, months, and in some cases, years or decades.”

Later this month, voters will decide whether a governor should get three weeks — instead of three months — to act on a disaster before coming to the state legislature for an extension.

They’ll also decide whether lawmakers should be able to extend or cancel state disaster declarations without the governor’s input.

That’s left several members of Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration less than thrilled. Over the last few weeks, they’ve made several public attempts to promote the benefits of keeping in place the current rules surrounding state disaster declarations.

“No two disasters are exactly the same,” Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director Randy Padfield said last month. “[But] many of these disasters, while often short-lived, have long and complex recovery periods lasting weeks, months, and in some cases, years or decades.”

Sam Dunklau reports on Harrisburg for WESA and Pennsylvania's other public radio stations. He previously covered Illinois state government for NPR member station WUIS in Springfield, IL.
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