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Friday, September 23, 2016

Labor Committee Chair Gingrich: The Court Agrees, Gov. Wolf Can’t Create Law

HARRISBURG – A Lebanon County lawmaker and chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee said Thursday’s ruling by Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court proves Gov. Tom Wolf has again surpassed his authority in issuing certain executive orders.

Rep. Mauree Gingrich (R-Lebanon) said the Commonwealth Court order in Markham v. Wolf and Smith v. Wolf found the governor exceeded his authority because his executive order is “de facto legislation, with provisions contrary to the existing statutory scheme.”

“According to our constitution, each branch of government has specific duties, and the executive’s job is to implement or enforce the law, not make law,” said Gingrich. “This is what we have been saying all along: The governor may not legislate by executive order.”

The Markham and Smith cases involve Wolf’s Executive Order 2015-05, which would create a means for home health care workers to unionize.

“Independent home health-care workers should have the freedom to continue to work independently and directly with the clients they serve,” said Gingrich.

The Commonwealth Court found the Wolf order “invades the relationship between a direct care worker and the employer participant who receives personal services in his or her home.” The sections of the order invalidated by the court relate specifically to the organization of direct care workers and their representative’s exclusive ability to negotiate on their behalf.

“Gov. Wolf may not engage in executive activism in order to create law,” said Gingrich. “In this case, the Commonwealth Court agreed and acknowledged the governor’s executive order was an invasion of the relationship between direct care workers and their clients.”

Wolf issued Executive Order 2015-05 less than two months after he was sworn in to office. Commonwealth Court issued an injunction against the order in April 2015.

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