Amendments Offered to ‘Restore Balance’ to State Constitution
HARRISBURG – Continuing efforts by the General Assembly to ensure no single person, authority or interest can outweigh the voices of the people of the Commonwealth, Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) are introducing two amendments to the Pennsylvania Constitution that would restore the balance of power to the three-branch system of governing.
The legislation co-sponsorship memo states in part, “Our form of government, and our Constitution, make it clear that neither the executive branch nor any unelected bureaucrat should ever have the unilateral and unchecked authority to issue open-ended orders or regulations. To give such limitless discretion would elevate the executive branch’s power above the other two branches of our tripartite government.”
The two amendments would:
- Amend Article IV, to add a new section providing that any executive order or proclamation issued by the governor, which purports to have the force of law, may not be in effect for more than 21 days, unless extended by concurrent resolution of the General Assembly.
- Amending Article III, Section 9, to exempt the disapproval of a regulation by the General Assembly from the presentment requirement for the governor’s approval or disapproval.
The memo highlights the abuse of the executive order and regulatory process by the current administration compared to governors across the country, saying:
“The current administration has issued 52 executive orders to date – compared to an average of just over 16 executive orders by the prior four administrations. This continued effort by the executive to operate as a Regulatory State in direct contravention of our Constitution’s divisions of responsibility threatens the legitimacy of actions taken by our government and invites further erosion of a system that is dependent on respecting our specifically enumerated duties.”
The constitutional amendment process requires passage in both chambers in consecutive legislative sessions, followed by a ballot referendum.
“Our Constitution remains the steadfast guide our Commonwealth needs to navigate these difficult times,” Cutler and Aument added. “The divisions of power and checks and balances among our three branches of government are the very components of why free people allow themselves to be governed.”