State House votes to bar shutting down churches in disasters

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania state representatives are giving their approval to a bill that would keep governors from using their emergency powers to shut down houses of worship during emergencies.

All Republicans and roughly half the Democrats voted Tuesday for the bill, which was sent to the Senate.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf hasn’t closed churches during the pandemic, but he’s asked church leaders to take steps to protect their congregants.

The bill would amend the state Religious Freedom Protection Act to ban governors from infringing on anyone’s ability to assemble for worship or to travel to their place of worship.