Two proposed amendments that voters will face deal with limiting the power of governors like Tom Wolf during disasters. Constitutional Amendments
Two proposed amendments that voters will face deal with limiting the power of governors like Tom Wolf during disasters.

Voters will face four questions, two of which concern disaster emergency declarations.

Who should have the authority to extend a disaster emergency declaration, the governor or the General Assembly?

That is one of the questions that Pennsylvanians will face on May 18 when they enter the voting booth for the state’s primary.

Primary ballots will include four questions, three of which propose amendments to the state’s constitution. 

All Pennsylvania voters, regardless of party affiliation, may vote on the statewide ballot questions.

Here are the questions, exactly how they will appear on the ballot, and what it means to vote yes or no for each.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment: Article III, Section 9

Ballot Question #1

Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law and increase the power of the General Assembly to unilaterally terminate or extend a disaster emergency declaration—and the powers of Commonwealth agencies to address the disaster regardless of its severity pursuant to that declaration—through passing a concurrent resolution by simple majority, thereby removing the existing check and balance of presenting a resolution to the Governor for approval or disapproval?

Vote Yes if you think the General Assembly should be allowed to terminate or extend a disaster emergency declaration or a portion of such declaration without needing the Governor’s approval.

Vote No if you don’t think the General Assembly should be allowed to terminate or extend a disaster emergency declaration or a portion of such declaration without needing the Governor’s approval.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment: Article IV

Ballot Question #2

Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law so that: a disaster emergency declaration will expire automatically after 21 days, regardless of the severity of the emergency, unless the General Assembly takes action to extend the disaster emergency; the Governor may not declare a new disaster emergency to respond to the dangers facing the Commonwealth unless the General Assembly passes a concurrent resolution; the General Assembly enacts new laws for disaster management?

Vote Yes if you think the duration of the Governor’s disaster emergency declaration should be reduced to 21 days (from 90 days) and that the General Assembly should have the sole authority to extend the emergency declaration.

Vote No if you think the Governor should retain the sole authority to declare and extend an emergency declaration.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment: Article I

Ballot Question #3

Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended by adding a new section providing that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of an individual’s race or ethnicity?

Vote Yes if you think an individual’s rights should not be restricted or denied based on race or ethnicity.

Vote No if you think an individual’s rights should be restricted or denied based on race or ethnicity.

Statewide Referendum: Act 2020-91

Ballot Question #4

Do you favor expanding the use of the indebtedness authorized under the referendum for loans to volunteer fire companies, volunteer ambulance services and volunteer rescue squads under 35 PA.C.S. §7378.1 (related to referendum for additional indebtedness) to include loans to municipal fire departments or companies that provide services through paid personnel and emergency medical services companies for the purpose of establishing and modernizing facilities to house apparatus equipment, ambulances and rescue vehicles, and for purchasing apparatus equipment, ambulances and rescue vehicles, protective and communications equipment and any other accessory equipment necessary for the proper performance of the duties of the fire companies and emergency medical services companies? 

Vote Yes if you think municipal fire departments with paid personnel should be eligible to apply for loans from an already existing state loan program.

Vote No if you don’t think municipal fire departments with paid personnel should be eligible to apply for loans from an already existing state loan program.