Email ballots for the June 18 primary election have arrived for many residents of Adams County and it is time to learn about the candidates and the issues.
Separate ballots have been printed for voters who are registered as Democrat, Independent and Republican. Your vote in this election will help determine which candidates from your party will face candidates from the other party in this fall’s election.
Please click on our election page to read statements by many of the local candidates. You can use these statements to help you better understand the candidates’ experiences and points of view.
There are three proposed constitutional amendments and one referendum that you will need to be aware of. The first two amendments are more controversial than the other questions because they involve proposals that would move the power to declare and cancel disaster emergencies from the governor’s office to the state legislature (General Assembly).
Any of the four proposals would become state law if a a majority of the people voting approve it.
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 1
This amendment has followed from the state legislature’s inability to limit or cancel the emergency orders Governor Wolf imposed during the pandemic. Wolf used emergency orders to provide aid to state agencies and to limit activities that might spread the virus.
The amendment has been endorsed by the Republican caucuses of the General Assembly and is generally opposed by Democrats.
Voting in favor of this amendment would curtail the governor’s power to declare or cancel future emergency measures by allowing the General Assembly to override those orders through a majority vote.
Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law and increase the power of the General Assembly to unilaterally terminate or extend a disaster emergency declaration—and the powers of Commonwealth agencies to address the disaster regardless of its severity pursuant to that declaration—through passing a concurrent resolution by simple majority, thereby removing the existing check and balance of presenting a resolution to the Governor for approval or disapproval?
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 2
This amendment also relates to the Governor’s use of disaster declarations during the pandemic and is supported or opposed by the same parties as is Amendment 1. Its passage would remove the Governor’s power to extend an emergency disaster declaration beyond 21 days and prohibit the governor from declaring a new disaster emergency unless the General Assembly approves it.
Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law so that: a disaster emergency declaration will expire automatically after 21 days, regardless of the severity of the emergency, unless the General Assembly takes action to extend the disaster emergency; the Governor may not declare a new disaster emergency to respond to the dangers facing the Commonwealth unless the General Assembly passes a concurrent resolution; the General Assembly enacts new laws for disaster management?
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 3
This amendment, which is not as controversial as the first two, would, if approved, add a new section to the state constitution providing equal rights under the law regardless of an individual’s race or ethnicity:
Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended by adding a new section providing that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of an individual’s race or ethnicity?
PROPOSED REFERENDUM ACT 2020-91
This referendum asks voters to approve allowing municipal fire departments and EMS companies to apply for loans from an already existing state loan program. The loans may be used for purchasing or modernizing firefighting equipment, ambulances, rescue vehicles, and protective and communications equipment.
The referendum does not authorize incurring any additional debt to fund the loan program.
Do you favor expanding the use of the indebtedness authorized under the referendum for loans to volunteer fire companies, volunteer ambulance services and volunteer rescue squads under 35 PA.C.S. §7378.1 (related to referendum for additional indebtedness) to include loans to municipal fire departments or companies that provide services through paid personnel and emergency medical services companies for the purpose of establishing and modernizing facilities to house apparatus equipment, ambulances and rescue vehicles, and for purchasing apparatus equipment, ambulances and rescue vehicles, protective and communications equipment and any other accessory equipment necessary for the proper performance of the duties of the fire companies and emergency medical services companies?