PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Gov. Tom Wolf lashed out at the state legislature one day after a bill that would reopen bars landed on his desk, accusing state lawmakers of “posturing” with "dangerous legislation" rather than focusing on what’s important.
Wolf said his administration took significant steps early on, such as issuing the stay-at-home order and closing down businesses. When case counts climbed as things reopened, they followed up with targeted closures, like shutting down bars.
But he said the state legislature is more interested in "posturing" and “sending a great deal of dangerous legislation to my desk.”
“Rather than bolstering the commonwealth’s efforts to prepare for a possible resurgence, legislators have repeatedly tried to deny my administration the critical tools I need to try to continue to fight this effort,” he said.
But some of those bills are passing with bipartisan support.
“It’s very tempting to have somebody say, hey, we’re over here and we’re saying let’s just go ahead and ignore reality, let’s do something that just feels good even though it’s gonna hurt us,” Wolf said when asked what he thought of 15 Democrats in the state Senate voting in favor of the bill that would allow bars to reopen.
Wolf vetoed a bill that would have limited the Department of Environmental Protection’s efforts to reign in carbon emissions, and he plans to veto the bars bill.
The House failed to override Wolf’s veto of a bill that would have let schools have more say on attendance at their sports events, and 24 Democrats changed their vote.
The governor’s announcement came as no surprise to Chuck Moran, who heads the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association.
“They’ve been the tip of the spear since day one. It’s been six months now and it’s been their loss. There has been no special relief package for the industry, no special relief package for employees. With the exception of the mixed drinks to-go bill, this governor has nothing to help this industry,” Moran said.
His advice to members is simple: keep fighting.
“They need to let the governor know that this is a balanced bill that weighs both COVID safety measures and survival needs for the industry. They also need to keep up the pressure with legislators to make sure they continue to stand with us,” he added.