Four ballot questions, including three proposed constitutional amendments, will appear on the May 18 Primary ballot in PA.
- The first two questions will add two amendments to the PA constitution, giving the PA Legislature more say and the governor less say in determining the extension or termination of disaster emergency declarations. These questions stem from the Legislature’s inability to curb Governor Tom Wolf’s COVID pandemic abuses. If approved by the voters, the two questions will amend the PA Constitution to give the legislature emergency declaration/termination authority that it currently does not have.
- The third question will add an amendment in the PA constitution guaranteeing that a person’s rights under the law cannot be denied because of race or ethnicity. This question is restricted to race & ethnicity only.
Note: Attempts to include gender identity in this question were rejected during the
legislative process to place the question on the ballot.
- The 4th question will determine whether the state loan program for volunteer fire companies & emergency services will be expanded to include paidfire departments and emergency services.
Paid fire departments and emergency services currently have income from taxes
and/or insurance & individual billing. This is different from volunteer fire companies,
volunteer ambulance services and volunteer rescue squads in PA which raise their own
funds and have unpaid staff.
Note: Many paid emergency ambulance services are privately owned companies, even though they may carry a municipal name.
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?
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?
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?
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?
A YES vote on the first two questions is recommended because Governor Wolf’s unchecked power caused extensive damage to PA’s economy during the COVID pandemic & demonstrates the failings of not having a check & balance in place for emergency declarations in state government.
The equality question is strictly defined to race & ethnicity; a YES vote is recommended.
A NO vote is recommended on the state loan expansion question. Paid services are entirely different from volunteer services. Taxpayer-funded loans should apply to services which have limited sources of income, not to supplement services with established revenue flow.
Independents, non-affiliated voters, and members of minor parties can only vote on the ballot questions in the primary election and are urged to do so.
Please feel free to share this widely, as very little is being published about all four questions.
It is urgent that we, the voter, are informed & vote on these questions in the May 18th primary, or the parties will ultimately decide these issues for us.
See Americans for Prosperity for further discussion on Ballot Questions 1, 2, & 3