Two amendments to the Pennsylvania State Constitution that will hamper and politicize the state’s ability to respond to disasters will be on the May 21st primary ballot. We strongly encourage you to vote no!
On your primary ballot this year, you are going to see questions asking you for more than your choice for candidates to represent your party in local and judicial offices.
Three constitutional amendments passed the General Assembly, and it is now up to you to determine whether they will be added to the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Consider these carefully before you go to vote.
The first question will ask whether you think the Legislature should be permitted to unilaterally overturn a disaster declaration by avoiding the Governor’s input or potential veto.
The Governor plays an important role in the case of a disaster and prematurely ending one for political reasons could threaten our health and safety, our access to Federal resources, our ability to efficiently manage an emergency, and our ability to help those in need. On this amendment, please vote no.
The second question asks whether you think the Legislature should have to approve the extension of a disaster declaration every 21 days.
The management of emergency disasters should not be required to be negotiated with the Legislature. They should be handled efficiently and thoughtfully by the appropriate experts and in coordination with the Federal, State, and Local governments. Legislators should not make this a political process every 21 days. On this amendment, vote no.
The third question asks whether you believe our constitution should be amended to ban any discrimination based on race.
Discrimination is wrong, whether it is based on your skin color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or gender. This amendment signals that Pennsylvania is a Commonwealth where all are welcome. On this amendment, please vote yes (although the Democratic Party will be working to expand legal protections for our LGBT friends and neighbors in the future as well).
The ballot will show these as three separate questions and you will be asked to vote on each one independently from the others as you see fit. The votes for each question will be counted separately and if any of the three questions receive a majority of support among Pennsylvania voters, they will be included in the Pennsylvania Constitution.
It is a lengthy, serious process to amend our constitution and one that we should not take lightly. Think about these questions carefully and the impact they can have on our future.