Wolf Shutdown Orders Not Based on Science - By Rep. Dan Moul (R-Adams)
10/23/2020
A recent court case in Pittsburgh confirmed that Gov. Tom Wolf’s actions to shut down our economy and put hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians out of work violated our constitutional rights.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the governor responded by signing an executive order in mid-March that forced businesses to close and people to stay home. We were told the governor and his secretary of Health were basing their decisions on science, but we have subsequently learned that was not true.

I joined my House colleagues in challenging the administration to provide evidence that it was “following the science,” but the proof was not forthcoming. We filed Right-to-Know (RTK) requests and found the Office of Open Records closed and work to comply with RTK requests suspended indefinitely.

County leaders, state representatives and citizens of Butler County, fed up with the shutdown and subsequent extensions, the administration’s inconsistent messaging, arbitrary rules and threats for noncompliance, challenged the administration’s actions as arbitrary and unconstitutional and won.

In County of Butler v. Wolf, the administration had ample opportunity to present experts and the scientific data on which it based its orders. Instead, it called on members of the pandemic work group to defend the administration’s actions. Here are some of the questions and answers contained in the testimony in this court case about the administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

• How many scientists were on the governor’s team of advisors that came up with these executive orders? Answer: None.
• How many immunologists or epidemiologists were on the governor’s team of advisors that came up with these executive orders? Answer: None.
• How many health care or medical professionals were on the governor’s team of advisors that came up with these executive orders? Answer: None.
• Of the hundreds, if not thousands, of meetings the governor’s teams of advisors testified that they had, how many meetings did the governor attend? Answer: None.
• Did the governor’s team make a written record of any of these meetings? Answer: No.
• Did the governor’s advisors provide an objective definition of the words “life-sustaining” and “non-life-sustaining?” Answer: No.
• Did the governor’s advisors define the word “life-sustaining business?” Answer: Yes.
• What was their definition? Answer: A business that sustains life.
• The governor’s team further stated what they meant by life-sustaining. Answer: “common understanding.”
• Whatever the governor’s advisors’ definition of the word life-sustaining is or was, did they write it down on PAPER? Answer: No.
• A notebook? Answer: No.
• A post-it note? Answer: No.
• On the back of their hands? Answer: No.
• Anywhere? Answer: No.
• So, when the governor’s team was reviewing the waiver requests filed by tens of thousands of businesses and trying to decide if the businesses were life-sustaining or non-life-sustaining did the governor’s team apply a written definition of life-sustaining? Answer: No.
• So how did they decide whether your business was life-sustaining? Answer: Common sense.
• Is “common sense,” a legal standard? Answer: No.
• The governor’s advisors testified they used the North American Industry Classification Systems (NAICS) to help classify businesses. In the 956 pages of the NAICs document, how many times do the words life-sustaining or non-life-sustaining appear? Answer: None.
• Do the words life-sustaining or non-life-sustaining, as industry or business classifications, appear in any of Pennsylvania’s thousands of statutes and regulations dating back to the 1600s? Answer: No.
• How many times have the governor’s list of life-sustaining and non-life-sustaining businesses changed? Answer: 10.
• How many scientists did the governor have testify at the trial in this case in support of his executive orders? Answer: None.
• How many medical professionals did the governor have testify at this trial in support of his executive orders? Answer: None.
• How many expert reports did the governor admit into evidence at this trial to support his executive orders? Answer: None.
• Yet, the administration repeatedly asserted that they based their decisions on science, but where is the science? Answer: There was none.

Representative Dan Moul
91st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Donna Pinkham
717.260.6452
dpinkham@pahousegop.com
RepMoul.com