November 10, 2021


Additional Steps to Rein in a Governor’s Power


House Speaker Bryan Cutler and State Senator Ryan Aument are circulating co-sponsorship memos for constitutional amendments which would further rein in the power of an overreaching Governor.   

One would limit a Governor’s executive order or proclamation “which purports to have the force of law” to twenty-one days.  It can be extended by the passage of a concurrent resolution of the General Assembly.   This would change Article IV of the PA Constitution by adding a new section.

The other would allow the General Assembly to disapprove a regulation and remove the current ‘presentment requirement’ for the Governor’s approval or disapproval.  This would amend Article III, Section 9 of the PA Constitution.

Here’s the link to the PA Constitution so you can read as it is presently worded.  

Both co-sponsorship memos note:  “Unfortunately, our sometimes vaguely written laws and a willingness by the judicial branch to expand the powers of the executive have led to an out-of-control situation that has left the people of this state largely silenced.  Throughout the pandemic, it has not been the passage of controversial legislation or gubernatorial vetoes that have led to disputes.  Instead, the General Assembly has had to contend with issue after issue advanced by the executive branch through order, proclamation, or regulatory action – absent any input from the people of Pennsylvania through their elected leaders. 
In fact, the current administration has issued 52 executive orders to date – compared to an average of just over 16 executive orders by the prior four administrations.  This continued effort by the executive to operate as a Regulatory State in direct contravention of our Constitution’s divisions of responsibility threatens the legitimacy of actions taken by our government and invites further erosion of a system that is dependent on respecting our specifically enumerated duties.”

Remember amending the PA Constitution is a lengthy process.  The same wording must pass in two consecutive legislative sessions.  So, the earliest this could be before the voters is May 2023.

Action Steps

Here’s the link to the House Bill — HB 2070 — with a list of co-sponsors when it was introduced. 

Senator Aument’s bill has not been officially introduced, but here’s a link to his co-sponsorship memo.  

Contact your State Rep, if his name is not listed as a co-sponsor of HB 2070, and ask him or her to sign on to Speaker Cutler’s bill — HB 2070.  If your State Rep is listed, send a thanks for the co-sponsorship.

Contact your State Senator and ask him or her to sign onto Senator Aument’s “Restoring Balance of Power in Executive Orders and Regulations” bill. 

Click here to send the messages to your State Rep and State Senator.

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