Republican members of the PA State Legislature are responding to a letter penned by Governor Tom Wolf which urges representatives and senators to return to Harrisburg.
In the letter the Governor says, “Over the past several weeks, despite joint efforts through the Vaccine Task Force that have made Pennsylvania one of the national leaders in vaccinations, COVID-19
cases, hospitalizations and deaths have all been on a sharp rise,” adding, “I am asking you to call the General Assembly back to Harrisburg immediately to work with me to pass legislation that will
require schools and child care centers to implement masking requirements while in the classroom.”
Central Pennsylvania Republicans are saying there is no way they will come back and work on a measure that would limit local control.
Representative Seth Grove from York County and Senator Scott Martin from Lancaster County say that school districts are making their own decisions while listening to their communities and reviewing data, adding that this is what Pennsylvanians voted for when they approved the constitutional amendment.
Sen. Martin says that the Department of Health and Governor have touted powers they could utilize under the Disease Prevention and Control Act and along with Rep. Grove questioned the timing of the letter.
In an interview Rep. Grove said, “I absolutely believe he is getting pressure from the teacher’s union. Obviously, they are one of his big monetary supporters, so I think he’s getting pressured there
and possibly from school districts that don’t want to make that decision”
PSEA, the Pennsylvania State Education Association President Rich Askey did issue a statement regarding the Governor’s push for mask legislation: “We call on legislative leaders and the governor to work together to ensure our schools implement masking policies that will keep everyone safe through this school year. And, in the meantime, we continue to urge school district leaders to follow CDC guidance and adopt universal masking policies as students return to school.”
Republican leaders, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman and House Speaker Bryan Cutler are expected to issue a formal response on Thursday.