Voters will consider three amendments to Pennsylvania’s Constitution on the May 18th primary ballot. Two of those amendments deal with the governor’s authority related to emergency declarations and the third adds long-overdue language prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity. The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is joining with groups across the state in encouraging people to vote yes on all three of these amendments.
The amendments related to disaster declarations would involve the General Assembly in how disaster declarations are managed and how long they are in effect. After 21 days, the Legislature would have to agree to continue a declaration and, if terminated, the governor could not issue a new declaration based on the same or similar circumstances without the General Assembly’s concurrence.
The third amendment would bring Pennsylvania’s Constitution in alignment with the U.S. Constitution by prohibiting restriction or denial of an individual’s equal rights because of race or ethnicity.
The Pennsylvania Department of State provides the language that will appear on the ballot, as well as a “plain English” explanation of each question. The Chamber of Commerce does not have a position on the referendum related to municipal fire and emergency medical services companies also referenced on this website.
Some legislators have expressed frustration over the wording that will appear on the ballot as being biased against the amendments. A website, VoteYesPA.com, has also been developed as part of a campaign to encourage voters to support these amendments. Posters are available at the Chamber office to anyone who wishes to display them.