Skip to comments.Who flipped on the veto override? 24 Democratic votes sustained Gov. Wolf’s veto on high school sports bill
Posted on 09/23/2020 4:22:59 PM PDT by lightman
After Wednesdays failed House attempt to override Gov. Tom Wolfs veto of a bipartisan-backed bill designed to give local school officials the final say on holding sports and setting crowd limits, some were left scratching their heads.
How could a bill that passed the House by a 155-47 fall short of the 135 votes needed to override the governors veto?
The answer: 24 of the Democratic legislators who voted yes on the bill originally apparently had a change of heart. One of the bills original supporters, Rep Mark Rozzi, D-Berks County, was absent on Wednesday.
House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre County, boasted that all House Republicans stood united in their support of the bill and for overriding the veto. But the effort failed because some Democrats decided to cave to political pressure.
Until more Democrats are willing to stand up for the people of Pennsylvania instead of standing with their political party or their governor, the commonwealth will remain mired in the governors emergency rule, Benninghoff said.
The bill, which also passed the Senate with a veto-proof majority, would have invalidated the governors order on attendance at school sports and extracurricular activities. The Wolf administration had limited schools to 25 people at indoor events and 250 at outdoor contests to control the spread of the coronavirus. Even with those limits, attendance was limited to no more than 50% of the maximum capacity.
Wolf issued a statement Wednesday afternoon thanking Democrats for standing with him and showing a commitment to working collaboratively to protect the people of Pennsylvania during this ongoing public health crisis. Pennsylvanians should be thankful as well.
He referred to the veto override attempt as a superfluous bill" that was unnecessary since schools already have the authority to decide whether to hold sports and his administration has no intention to change that.
U.S. Western District Judge William Stickman IV last week declared the governors limits on social gatherings to be unconstitutional. This week, the judge denied the Wolf Administrations to stay that ruling pending appeal.
Until theres a ruling on the appeal, the governor and his team are urging schools to voluntarily comply with those limits and issued guidance last Friday indicating as much.
Democrats explained their change of heart about supporting the high school sports bill.
House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody of Allegheny County, fell into that category. He told the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, Wolf is "our governor. He vetoed it, and Im the Democratic leader, ... I am not going to override the governors veto.
Rep. Michael Schlossberg, D-Lehigh County, told the Morning Call the bill did more than was originally advertised as his reason for flipping his vote.
State Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin County, declined comment on her rationale for changing her mind on the bill Wednesday.
But those who like to venture a guess on why Kim and Schlossberg had a change of heart pointed to the fact that they were among the 14 Democrats who flipped are politically safe because they happen to be uncontested in their re-election bid this November.
They others are: Reps. Austin Davis of Allegheny County, Dan Deasy of Allegheny County, Michael Driscoll of Philadelphia, Robert Freeman of Northampton County, Patrick Harkins of Erie County, Robert Merski of Erie County, Dan Miller of Allegheny County, Ed Neilson of Philadelphia, Eddie Day Pashinski of Luzerne County, Adam Ravenstahl of Allegheny County, Peter Schweyer of Lehigh County, and Melissa Shusterman of Chester County.
The other so-called flippers aside from Dermody were: Tina Davis of Bucks County, Carol Hill-Evans of York County, John Galloway of Bucks County, Neal Goodman of Schuylkill County, Jeanne McNeill of Lehigh County, Steve Samuelson of Northampton County, Wendy Ullman of Philadelphia, Dan Williams of Chester County and Michael Zabel of Delaware County.
Rep. Barb Gleim, R-Cumberland County, issued a statement saying Wednesdays vote may not be the final word on this bill.
To school parents and student athletes who had hoped for a different outcome, a reconsideration motion was filed," which allows for a future override attempt to occur, Gleim said. "We intend to bring this up again. There will be continued pressure on this matter, so that the majority of constituents can be heard.
Even amidst the failure of the veto override and the federal judge denying a stay of his ruling, confusion exists over the limits of school sports and extracurricular activities.
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association said its review of the federal court ruling leads to one conclusion: schools still have no choice but to adhere to Wolfs limits on the size of gatherings.
Judge Stickmans ruling does not have any effect on gathering size limits for high school athletic events, one way of the other, whether or not the ruling is stayed pending appeal, overturned or upheld, according to a statement issued on Wednesday from PSBAs legal team. The judges ruling about the constitutionality of the governors gathering size limits is limited to political or other expressive activities protected by the First Amendment. There is really not a plausible case to be made that there is a First Amendment right to attend a high school football game or to have as many people attend as the team or school may want."
The statement goes on: Thus, no matter what happens in that court case, it will have no effect on the governors gathering limits as they affect spectators at high school athletic events.
It was unclear late Wednesday afternoon whether the school boards organization is distributing that guidance to school officials. However, it goes against House Republican lawyers interpretation of the federal judges ruling.
My suspicion is that since the courts have rendered the spectator capacity limits null the Dems didn't want to make this bill the hill to die on.
Maybe they will grow a pair for the restaurant bill!
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Nope. You actually want this to happen again.
People will not stop voting Democrat until they feel the pain Democrats cause.
To paraphrase John Kerry I voted for the sports before I voted against the sports.
Being from Philly I can tell you this is really going to start pissing off all those Pennsylvania Democrats
Republicans already know how stupid Democrats are
Why they heck do they need 202 people in the PA state legislature? California only has 80.
It's OK to lie to further Islam, is the principle.
democrats have been infiltrated with progressing brain disease.
Their (PA) legislature has a GOP majority. California’s doesn’t. Also remember that PA once was a much larger state than CA.
Hey you idiot Pennsylvanians, if you want this bull crap to cease, just freakin IGNORE Wolfs illegal and unconstitutional orders. What the hell is he going to do? Arrest millions of people?
To quote Scrantons favorite son, Cmon, man.
That has always (at least in my lifetime) been an important communist/democrat strategy...
If it ain't broke, don't fix it...
Change of heart.
Sick of these democrats. Tomorrow night our Tea Party is having an event in Hellertown with Sheriff David Clark & it has to be in a park. It gets dark so early. Hoping they will have good lighting.
[Being from Philly I can tell you this is really going to start pissing off all those Pennsylvania Democrats]
I think Wolf took away someones liquor license who opened.
Whats really disturbing is that they can take away your freedoms without any debate or vote, but there has to be a vote to get them back.
Mark those who voted not to override for election retaliation in the future. Simply stupid too not allow family and spectators to view sports. sheesh
Pennsylvania has discussed reducing the size of our legislature, but has never gotten anywhere. I think it is part of the psyche at least in the original 13 that we expect to know our legislators, especially in New England but only somewhat diminishing as you move southward.
some are the restaurant we were in last week has capacity of 500 with banquet rooms. They put new booths in and are not seating every other one.
“””Why they heck do they need 202 people in the PA state legislature? California only has 80.”””””””””
In California 80 crazy liberals is all they need.
looks like they finally got the desired asking price for their vote
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