Thursday, April 22, 2021

House Republican Introduces ‘You’re On Your Own’ Emergency Declaration Bill

On April 20, Rep. Dawn Keefer (R-York) introduced
House Bill 1225-- the “You’re On Your Own” emergency declaration bill that prevents state, county and local governments and officials from taking these actions under a disaster declaration by a governor--

-- Restricting any business activity in any way;

-- Requiring a citizen to remain at home; and

-- Enacting curfews based on an epidemic or other public health reason.

The term “public health reason” is not defined in the bill.

The bill was introduced in response to Republican concerns about the actions taken by Gov. Wolf during the COVID pandemic, but the black and white of the language has much, much broader implications.

The practical impact of this bill is that public officials at any level of government in Pennsylvania may not take steps to protect the public health in the event of state emergencies declared for-- 

-- A nuclear power plant accident - Three Mile Island comes to mind

-- Chemical plant releases;

-- Floods;

-- Drinking water contamination incidents;

-- Civil Disturbance; and

-- Physical, biological or chemical terrorist act.

The public would be on its own to determine the threat from radiation, a chemical cloud or biological attack, a flood, civil disturbance or contaminated drinking water.

In other words, “You’re On Your Own.”

Even if the bill was somehow limited to just COVID and similar public health threats, it would still mean the public was “On Their Own” during a potentially deadly public health emergency.

The bill also reverses long-held Republican policy of trusting local officials to deal with emergencies, but their actions are also prohibited in this legislation.

If the COVID pandemic has taught us anything, it taught us that we can not anticipate what public health and other emergencies we will face in the future.  “Unprecedented” is an inadequate term to describe what we face and we could easily face again in the future.

Who could have anticipated COVID’s severity?  The accident at Three Mile Island?  Airplanes deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center and a field in Somerset County?

To put into static law any written prohibitions on how to deal with those emergencies is-- at the least-- terribly unwise and at worst a dereliction of the duty of public officials to protect the public health and welfare of their citizens.

Rep. Dawn Keefer (R-York) can be contacted by calling 717-783-8783 or 717-432-0792 or send email to:  or send a fax to 717-432-0795.

Related Articles This Week:

-- Republicans On House Committee OK Bills Killing Regulations By Doing Nothing; Shielding Law Violators; Mandating Private Review Of DEP Permit Applications 

-- Republicans On House Committee OK Bill Setting Up Office Of The Repealer To Recommend Repeal Of Existing Regulations 

-- House Committee Reports Out Bill Authorizing Local Solar Energy Subscriber Programs By Utilities 

House Republican 2021 Environmental & Energy Agenda

-- House Republicans Introduce Bills To Raid Dedicated Environmental Funds, Cripple Solar Energy, Shield Violators From Enforcement

-- Republican Bills Again Seek To Make Road Dumping Of Conventional Drilling Wastewater Legal

-- Republicans Introduce Bill Saying DEP Permit Applicants Are Always Right, Eliminates Public Comments; Add Other Bills To Their Environmental Agenda

-- House Republicans Reintroduce Bill To Kill Regulations By Doing Nothing 

-- House Republicans Want To Mandate Private Contractor Permit Application Reviews, Eliminating DEP’s Review On Behalf Of The Public 

-- Republicans On House Committee OK Letter Urging IRRC To Disapprove Reg. Reducing Carbon Pollution From Power Plants                          

-- House Budget Hearing Fails To Address A Single Critical Budget Issue Faced By DEP Or DCNR

-- Republicans On House Committee OK Letter Disapproving Of Proposed EQB Changes To Chapter 105 Regulations        

[Posted: April 22, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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