HARRISBURG – Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) issued the following statement Tuesday in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s latest mandate to require all students, faculty and staff in K-12 schools and child care centers to wear masks.
“Gov. Tom Wolf has again gone back on his word by issuing a statewide mask mandate for schools and child care centers, taking that decision away from the students, parents, teachers and local elected officials who represent them. As has been the case throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, conditions vary widely in different areas of the state. Local control is the best way to deal with those variations.
“Regardless of your position on mask-wearing, when local officials are in control, you have the best opportunity to make your voice heard. Therefore, I will continue to stand for local control and no statewide mandates. It’s what the vast majority of people in the 68th Legislative District voted for when they approved two constitutional amendments limiting the governor’s emergency declaration powers.
“The governor claims he and his secretary of Health are authorized to issue this mandate under the Disease Prevention and Control Law. If in fact this is a legitimate power, I can’t help but wonder why the governor called on the Legislature last week to pass a law to implement a mask mandate. Did he really think it was his only option or was it simply playing political theater with our kids?
“As recently as a few weeks ago, the governor himself said masking at schools should be a local decision. Apparently, he’s only for local control if the local officials agree with him. Our caucus legal team is assessing the means through which the governor is issuing this mandate to determine if it is valid.”
Representative Clint Owlett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler