GROVE CITY – Rep. Tim Bonner (R-Mercer/Butler) announced today that he joined Congressman Mike Kelly, state Reps. Marci Mustello (R-Butler) and Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), county officials from Butler, Washington, Fayette and Greene counties, as well as southwestern PA business owners in filing a lawsuit against Gov. Tom Wolf at the United States District Court in Pittsburgh on Thursday, May 7. The lawsuit alleges that Gov. Tom Wolf has acted in an unconstitutional manner in exercising emergency powers requiring non-essential businesses to close and citizens to remain in their homes due to the COVID-19 virus.
“This lawsuit was filed after all attempts by the counties and the legislators to reach an agreement with the governor that would allow businesses to reopen and citizens to leave their homes so long as those entities and citizens complied with the health and safety guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) failed,” said Bonner.
Bonner noted that all four counties have very low numbers of diagnosed cases and should have been allowed to reopen as Mercer and Lawrence counites were permitted starting today, along with 22 other counites.
“Pennsylvania has placed the most restrictions of any state on its businesses and residents rather than comply with the recommendations of the CDC, which would allow the businesses and residents to return to a more normal state of affairs, so long as they complied with the CDC health and safety guidelines,” said Bonner. “Legislative efforts to allow these counties to return to a more normal way of life were vetoed by the governor.”
Bonner suggested that the CDC guidelines, prepared under the supervision of Dr. Anthony Fauci, would provide more clear and direct information to businesses and citizens rather than the directives of Dr. Rachel Levine, a well-respected pediatrician but without any formal training in epidemiology.
Bonner further noted the uncertainty and confusion in the governor’s plan as it is unclear what is an essential business; who is entitled to a waiver from the governor’s shutdown order; why areas of the state that have complied with the governor’s guidelines have not been permitted to reopen; and how long the governor can unilaterally impose an emergency order without the concurrence of the General Assembly. Bonner is hopeful that the lawsuit will answer these questions.
Bonner also noted that following the filing of the lawsuit, the governor has scheduled a 2 p.m. announcement where he is expected to announce the movement of the four counties into the yellow phase, lifting the stay-at-home order and allowing the resumption of significant business activities.
Representative Tim Bonner
8th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives