By: KDKA-TV News Staff
HARRISBURG (KDKA) – Gov. Tom Wolf signed a fifth renewal of the COVID-19 disaster declaration Thursday.READ MORE: Pennsylvania Voters Impose Limits On Governor's Emergency Disaster Powers
According to the governor’s office, the disaster declaration allows for increased support to state agencies, including expediting supply procurement and lifting certain regulations.
Through the disaster declaration, PEMA can assign the National Guard to nursing homes, the one-week waiting period to receive unemployment compensation is waived and certification and licensure renewals for healthcare workers are suspended.READ MORE: 1st Ballot Test Of Governor’s Pandemic Powers Starts In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania voters approved two constitutional amendments on Tuesday that could shift power from the governor to the legislature when it comes to natural disasters and emergencies like the current pandemic.
A lawyer with the Commonwealth Foundation, which supported these amendments, says the governor is free to extend the expiring declaration because the amendments won’t take effect until the vote is certified by the state in the next three weeks.MORE NEWS: Some Officials Urge Pennsylvanians To ‘Vote No’ On Disaster Declaration Constitutional Amendments On The Ballot
“COVID-19 vaccinations have increased dramatically in recent weeks and we are making significant progress in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Wolf in a press release. “As previously announced, we are lifting all mitigation measures on Memorial Day, but we need just a little more time under this current disaster declaration to ensure that we do not risk valuable resources that will help Pennsylvania recover from the pandemic.”