Senate Sends Bill to Rein in Health Secretary’s Power, Ban Vaccine Passport to Governor’s Desk

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Senate voted to send Gov. Tom Wolf a proposal that prevents the excess use of power by the state Secretary of Health while ensuring the protection of public health, according to Sen. Pat Stefano (R-32), who supported the plan.

In addition to preventing an abuse of powers under the Disease Prevention and Control Act, Senate Bill 618 prohibits vaccine passport requirements.

The measure prohibits the Secretary of Health from mandating those who have not been exposed or in close contact with the exposed to wear a mask, stay at home or be socially distant. It also prevents the Secretary from using the same laws to force business closures.

It also prohibits the state – as well as counties, municipalities, school districts and colleges that are subsidized by state taxpayers – from requiring proof of vaccination. The bill was amended in the House of Representatives to prohibit colleges and universities that receive subsidies from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency from requiring students to show proof of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration have impeded on the rights of Pennsylvania citizens for far too long, and it has to stop. What happened in the last year has been bad enough; the last thing we need now is for him to create first- and second-class citizens based on the interest or ability people have to get the vaccine,” Sen. Stefano said. “It’s time to draw a line in the sand, and we’re calling on him to be respectful of it and all Commonwealth residents.”

Since the Senate concurred in the House’s amendments, the measure will now go to Gov. Wolf’s desk. He will have 10 days to sign the bill into law, veto it or allow the bill to become law without his signature.


CONTACT: Mark Fetzko, 717-787-7175

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