Pennsylvania Senate votes to end Gov. Wolf’s emergency disaster declaration

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s Senate voted Thursday to end Gov. Tom Wolf’s emergency disaster declaration a day after the House voted to do the same.

It will take effect when the May election is certified.

The State Senate also voted to extend hundreds of regulatory waivers.

The waivers go back to March 2020, and cover a wide swath of government requirements.

Wolf had warned lawmakers that ending them immediately could hurt the state’s recovery.

That list includes licensing waivers for out-of-state nurses, telemedicine, to-go cocktails at bars and restaurants and the waiver of the work search requirement for unemployed Pennsylvanians.

“We still give ourselves some time to back out or to change or to put into law some of the regulations and waivers the governor put into place during the pandemic. Some of them are very, very good. Some of them are not so good,” explained Senator Kim Ward (R).

The actions are raising concerns for Democrats like State Senator Lindsey Williams.

“We don’t know what happens with a bunch of federal dollars. Millions if not billions of federal dollars that are predicated on a state emergency declaration.”

The end of the emergency declaration won’t go into effect until the May primary results are certified by the Department of State, which is expected to happen in the coming days.