Pennsylvania Senator and Vice-Chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee, Sherrif Street’s guidance on 2021 Primary Election Proposed Constitutional Amendments
Ballot Question #1
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT – ARTICLE III, SECTION 9 RELATING TO TERMINATION OR EXTENSION OF DISASTER EMERGENCY DECLARATIONS
“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?”
Recommended Vote: NO
•This will severely limit the Governor — and any future governor — of the ability to keep our Commonwealth safe from disasters. •When disasters strike and lives are at stake, we do not have time to wait for 253 politicians in Harrisburg to have a political debate. We need the Governor to act quickly and decisively. •This amendment may undo all the progress made on mitigating the spread of COVID-19 or any other future crisis. It may also leave PA as the only state in the country without an emergency plan in place for COVID-19. •Disasters are NOT political and should NOT be subject to a political process.
Ballot Question #2
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT – ARTICLE IV DISASTER EMERGENCY DECLARATION AND MANAGEMENT
“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?”
Recommended Vote: NO
•This strips the Governor — and any future governor — of the ability to keep our Commonwealth safe from disasters. •Disasters do not have a time limit. It is impossible to predict how or how long the impacts of a disaster will affect any one community. •This again subjects disaster emergency declarations to the political winds. We are all Pennsylvanians, and when any Pennsylvania community is hit with a disaster, all of us share their pain. •This amendment may undo all the progress made on mitigating the spread of COVID-19 or any other future crisis.
Ballot Question #3
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT – ARTICLE I
PROHIBITION AGAINST DENIAL OR ABRIDGEMENT OF EQUALITY OF RIGHTS BECAUSE OF RACE OR ETHNICITY
“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?“
Recommended Vote: YES
•This amendment creates a constitutional prohibition against restricting or denying an individual’s equal rights under Pennsylvania law because of race or ethnicity. •This amendment applies to all Pennsylvania state, county, and local governmental entities and guarantees equality of rights under the law. •If approved, the General Assembly may pass new laws to implement the amendment, but it may not pass a law inconsistent with it.