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As State House Moves to Allow Remote Voting, State Senate Suspends Session Calendar

On March 16, state House of Representatives leadership announced that it will allow members to participate in legislative sessions remotely. The unprecedented change in rules comes in response to Governor Wolf’s call to limit large, enclosed gatherings to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Under these new rules, if a piece of legislation comes to the House for approval, members can remotely communicate their vote with their party’s whip.

The state Senate announced that it has moved to a 12-hour call, meaning that legislative leaders will give members and staff 12 hours’ notice before session will reconvene.

Some lawmakers have announced that their offices will close during the period of enhanced mitigation and social distancing. Members of the General Assembly and legislative staff have begun to work remotely as they coordinate efforts to continue.

Governor Wolf has also directed non-essential staff to practice social distancing and work from home. He has also expressed interest in postponing Pennsylvania’s April 28 Primary Election, as a component of mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

As the Governor and the legislature continue to indicate that they are contemplating a legislative package to address the impacts of COVID-19, HAP leadership and advocacy staff continue to communicate the importance of ensuring that the hospital community has the short- and long-term resources it needs to care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

HAP is compiling feedback from hospital and health systems, as well as reviewing resources needed and the relaxing of regulatory barriers to ensuring Pennsylvania’s health care system continues to serve any patient coming through their doors.

For more information, contact Warren Kampf, HAP’s senior vice president, advocacy and external affairs.

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