Apr. 29, 2020

HARRISBURG – When it comes to openness and government transparency, state Reps. Andrew Lewis (R-Dauphin) and Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon) have issues with the manner in which Gov. Tom Wolf is allowing certain businesses to open their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are reports from around the state of competing businesses from the same geographic area not receiving the same answer when applying for a waiver from the governor’s business closure order,” said Lewis. “Government should not be arbitrarily picking winners and losers in the midst of this crisis or ever, and the public deserves to know why and to whom these waivers were granted.”

On Tuesday, the House passed Lewis’ legislation that would require the governor to notify leaders in both the House and Senate of any regulations that are modified, suspended or waived during an emergency declaration.

“Government is supposed to work for the people, not the other way around,” Lewis added. “Every decision being made by the governor should be public and transparent, not cloaked in secrecy. That type of secrecy is antithetical to what it means to be a government of, for and by the people.”

Ryan was the first House member to co-sponsor House Bill 2415, which now moves to the Senate following bipartisan support in the House.

“The governor has refused to reveal to his constituents the list of who applied for waivers and who was approved, in addition to refusing to discuss the rationale or measuring stick used in his decision making,” Ryan commented. “That is his choice. Is it a good one? We feel he has an obligation to taxpayers who are directly and financially impacted by who is allowed to stay open for business and who is not.”

Questions about this or any legislative issue should be directed to Lewis’ office by calling 717-652-3721.