Jul. 22, 2020

HARRISBURG – House Republican members from Allegheny and Washington counties today expressed outrage at Gov. Tom Wolf’s statements that he plans to veto a government transparency bill (House Bill 2463) that addresses access to public records during a disaster declaration and received unanimous support from the Legislature. In response, Reps. Jason Ortitay (R-Allegheny/Washington), Bob Brooks (R-Allegheny/Westmoreland), Bud Cook (R-Washington/Fayette), Valerie Gaydos (R-Allegheny), Josh Kail (R-Beaver/Washington), Natalie Mihalek (R-Allegheny/Washington), Lori Mizgorski (R-Allegheny), Tim O’Neal (R-Washington) and Mike Puskaric (R-Allegheny/Washington) issued the following statement:

“Gov. Tom Wolf claims he is for government transparency and said on Tuesday at a press conference in York under questioning that if he were a member of the General Assembly he would have voted favorably for this bill.

“However, he said he will veto House Bill 2463 because he doesn’t believe it is feasible to have state employees come into the office and provide answers to Right-to-Know requests. State workers can easily social distance when their co-workers are working remotely. The governor seems to believe it is safer to work in a big box store than to come into an office building with few people present to provide the public and press with information.

“The governor has time and time again during this pandemic shown that he believes no one should question his actions. He has held closed-door press conferences and only allowed the media to submit written inquiries which were then vetted and read by one of his staffers. When he finally in late May again allowed a limited number of reporters to attend his press conferences in person, he has dismissively scoffed when they have questioned his actions.

“In addition, the governor directed state agencies to not respond to Right-to-Know requests during the first several months of the pandemic, thus preventing the public and the press from obtaining information to analyze the state’s response. He only recently allowed work on Right-to-Know requests to resume.

“We are calling on the governor to reverse his public statements and sign this important legislation. Especially in times of crisis, barriers should not be enacted that prevent the public and press from understanding how government is responding.”

Allegheny and Washington Counties Republican Delegation
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tracy Polovick