The Pennsylvania Senate took an important step to continue its operations safely today by passing a resolution allowing members to vote remotely, according to Senator Tom Killion (R-Chester and Delaware).
“COVID-19 is an unprecedented public health emergency,” noted Killion. “Prudence requires the Senate to preserve its ability to consider and pass legislation. To not do so would be irresponsible.”
The temporary emergency rules included in Senate Resolution 318 will ensure the Senate can continue voting even when Senators cannot be physically present at the Capitol Building in Harrisburg due to statewide coronavirus mitigation measures.
The resolution creates a mechanism for members to file bills electronically and to participate in committee meetings and session through the use of communications technology. The emergency powers are scheduled to expire July 31, 2020 or 10 days following the expiration of the governor’s emergency order, whichever is sooner.
Killion also voiced support for plans announced by Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Center) and Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) to only consider bills related to the pandemic for the duration of the emergency.
Since the implementation of community mitigation measures Killion has urged workers negatively affected by closures be made eligible for unemployment compensation benefits and announced plans to introduce legislation which would establish a program to provide zero-interest loans to small businesses affected by COVID-19 community mitigation measures.
“In a time of so much uncertainty, it’s critical Pennsylvanians know state government will do all in its power to protect them and ease the economic hardships created by this emergency,” said Killion. “Along with my Senate colleagues, I am committed to working with Gov. Wolf and our colleagues in the House to get our commonwealth through this crisis.”