“Governor Wolf has once again decided that his view is superior to that of school officials, business operators, parents, and state legislators,” Sen. Lisa Baker (PA-20) stated in a press release issued on Tuesday. “For weeks, school officials and parents have had serious discussions about how to fairly balance public safety responsibilities with parental rights. Now that those difficult decisions have been hammered out, district by district, Governor Wolf is moving to erase those efforts from the blackboard.
“Only days ago, the governor requested legislators to approve a statewide mandate. Our response was that we were placing trust in the leaders with the most direct line of responsibility for running public schools. As is typical, legislative viewpoint does not factor into the governor’s decision making.
“His action appears to be an attempt to end run the limitations on any governor’s emergency powers the voters recently approved adding to the state Constitution.
“It is a simple thing to impose a mandate. It is much harder to gain widespread compliance and to figure out how to handle the consequent protests and determine whether violations are purposeful or accidental.
“Area residents recall that Governor Wolf’s preference for state mandates during last year’s lockdown provoked considerable opposition in this region. The reason is crystal clear – the hardships experienced by workers and employers, with many jobs lost and businesses closing, especially small businesses and mom-and-pop operations central to our communities and neighborhoods. The administration was secretive in developing mandates then and inconsistent in applying them. It is hard to see how this will be any better in that regard.
“As with any policy dispute or concern over exceeding lawful powers, this matter is likely to quickly move to the courts for resolution.”