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Wolf vetoes bills on poll watchers, transgender athletes

Julio Cortez
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed bills passed by the Legislature regarding transgender athletes in school sports, out-of-county poll watchers and how human services are provided.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday rejected three bills passed by the Republican majority Legislature, vetoing measures regarding transgender athletes in school sports and poll watchers.

He also struck down the Human Services Code, blowing a hole in the state budget as lawmakers were trying to finish the annual flurry of votes that accompany the annual spending plan.

Wolf had previously warned he would strike down the bill to prohibit transgender athletes from playing sports that align with their gender identity. In his veto message, he said the bill would have “a devastating impact on a vulnerable population already at greater risk of bullying and depression.”

He also vetoed a bill — sponsored by Franklin County Sen. Doug Mastriano, the GOP’s nominee for governor — to let all registered voters of Pennsylvania serve as poll watchers in any precinct in the state.

“This bill does nothing to increase access to voting,” he wrote. “Instead, this bill undermines the integrity of our election process and encourages voter intimidation.”

Wolf’s third veto was based on a provision in the Human Service Code that would have prohibited a state agency from contracting with a vendor of financial management services.

“These self-directed services allow participants to make choices about their own care, with this model supporting both participants and direct care workers,” he wrote in his veto message.

Vetoing the legislation creates a $1.8 billion gap in the budget. Wolf said in his letter he supports the remaining provisions and urged lawmakers to pass them.

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