Wednesday, September 8, 2021

PA Republican legislative leaders sue Secretary of Health over school masking order

The Republican leader of the state Senate and a group of parents filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Wolf administration’s new mask mandate for Pennsylvania schools, reported The Associated Press.

The governor’s spokesperson dismissed what she called the GOP’s “effort at undermining public heath.”

The suit, filed in Commonwealth Court, asserts that Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam failed to comply with state law when she ordered masks to be worn in all Pennsylvania public and private schools, as well as child care facilities.

The masking order isn’t valid because it didn’t go through the state’s regulatory review process, the lawsuit said. It also accused the Wolf administration of trying to circumvent newly approved constitutional amendments limiting a governor’s emergency powers.

 “The Secretary of Health’s order subjects healthy, non-infected teachers, children, students, staff, and visitors ... to the wearing of face coverings,” the suit said. The plaintiffs, it said, are “not patients, they are heathy, non-infected children.”

The plaintiffs include Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre; Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Bedford; two private Christian schools; and parents in three public school districts — Wyomissing Area in Berks County, and Butler Area and Slippery Rock Area, both in Butler County.

The parents said in affidavits that they intend to send their children to school without masks, claiming Beam’s order is illegal.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction against the masking order. The court scheduled a hearing for Sept. 16.

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