Many small businesses hurt during extended shutdowns, balance of power needed
HARRISBURG (July 15, 2020) – The National Federation of Independent business (NFIB), applauds the passage of SB 1166, a proposed amendment to Pennsylvania’s State Constitution which would shorten the period of time in which governors hold expanded unilateral executive powers authorized by emergency declarations. Throughout the COVID-19 healthcare crisis, NFIB advocated on behalf of its 14,000 members for the safe reopening of their small businesses and the economy in Pennsylvania. While acknowledging the serious nature of our health-related challenges, NFIB’s position is that the concerns of our citizens as expressed through the legislative branch of state government should be given a higher level of legal standing than current law allows.
“Over the last few months, many small business owners felt they had no voice in a process that has been exclusively controlled by the executive branch when they were being greatly impacted,” said NFIB’s Pennsylvania State Director Gordon Denlinger. “There was frustration when Governor Wolf’s decided that big-box stores were ‘essential’ yet small businesses selling the same goods and willing to take all the safety precautions had to remain closed. During the reopening process, many small businesses felt the rationale for the reopening stages weren’t transparent and in many cases, created an uneven playing field.”
“The legislature tried to address the concerns of their small business constituents about the reopening process by passing legislation which the Governor often vetoed,” added Denlinger. “Asking the citizens of Pennsylvania if gubernatorial power should be limited is an appropriate step, and we congratulate all those involved in the effort to place this question before the voters.”
Amendments to the Pennsylvania State Constitution must pass both houses of the General Assembly in two successive sessions. NFIB will be supporting passage of this needed change in the 2021-2022 General Assembly session, and we encourage legislative leaders to move forward in an expedited manner early next year.