In response to a Right to Know Law request filed by state Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover) after the governor’s “strong recommendation” that interscholastic and club sports be canceled until January 2021, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) confirmed there is no supporting data to justify its recommendation, House Republican lawmakers stated on Monday.
“The fact that data was not used to make the recommendation by the governor to cancel sports this upcoming semester begs the question about what other policies from the governor were made without any data or science to support them? This is exactly why it was so important for Act 77 to become law and likely why the governor strongly opposed and wanted to veto the measure,” Grove said. “Pennsylvanians deserve to know the data and science being used to create policies that impact the lives of millions of residents. They shouldn’t be forced to blindly follow a leader who appears to create policy unilaterally on a whim.”
House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) argued the lack of data and justification shows why already-introduced legislation is necessary.
“From the beginning of this pandemic, the Wolf administration has been making decisions that impact the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Pennsylvanians without involving the people’s representatives in the legislature and without concern for the unintended consequences of wide-ranging and inconsistent orders, guidance, and recommendations. Thanks to the strong work of Rep. Grove, we now know that the administration has made the unilateral decision to strongly recommend the cancellation of fall sports without the Department of Health having any corresponding data to justify their decision,” said Benninghoff.
“The legislation being offered by Rep. Reese and Rep. Topper will ensure that these decisions can truly be made on the local level. I thank Chairman Sonney for agreeing to bring these bills up for a vote to ensure they can be presented to the caucus swiftly upon our return. The House Republican Caucus stands united in standing up for the safety of all Pennsylvanians as we learn to live with this virus.”
State Rep. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland), a member of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Oversight Committee, has introduced legislation that would allow school districts to make decisions regarding sports. State Rep. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford), has introduced legislation to empower parents of students and student athletes to have their children repeat a year of school should they feel they missed an important athletic or educational opportunity.
Chairman of the House Education Committee Curt Sonney (R-Erie) noted the Reese and Topper bills will be considered on Thursday.