HARRISBURG, Pa. (EYT) – As promised, Governor Tom Wolf today vetoed House Bill 2787 which would have given school districts the ability to set crowd limits at sporting events.
The bill, which would give school districts sole discretion to make decisions on sports, including the ability to set their own attendance limits, previously passed both the House and the Senate with more “yes” votes than the two-thirds majority required for an override.
According to Wolf, the state has been confronting extraordinary challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic and the health of Pennsylvanians needs to be given high priority.
“As we continue the fight against COVID-19, we need to continue to prioritize the health and welfare of Pennsylvanians and minimize public health risks. However, this bill does nothing to promote public health or ensure that our children have a safe learning environment,” Wolf said.
“This bill is entirely unnecessary. While I recommended against holding school sports before January 2021, it was a recommendation and neither an order nor a mandate. Local school governing bodies have maintained the authority to decide how extracurricular activities, including school sports, proceed at the local level. Furthermore, to the extent COVID-19 cases may rise and spread during the fall and through the upcoming cold and flu season, the Department of Health must maintain the critical authority to limit exposure to COVID-19. Minimizing this exposure is paramount.”
Wolf added that as we reopen our schools, we need to continue to be vigilant and take precautions to keep ourselves, our communities, and our children healthy, indicating that these efforts help keep our schools open.
In response to the veto, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) made the following statement:
House Bill 2787 represents the good bipartisan work that has been done by the General Assembly to represent the voice of the people during this difficult time, despite the efforts of Gov. Wolf to stand in our way.
In vetoing this bill, Gov. Wolf stands directly opposed to children and families looking for some semblance of normalcy and to receive the numerous invaluable benefits of fully participating in school sports. In contradiction to his word, Gov. Wolf is once again going back on his self-proclaimed desire for educational decisions to be made at the local level.
Over the last six months, Gov. Wolf has upended lives and livelihoods with confusing and inconsistent dictates refusing to work with us to combat this virus. To once again stand up for children and families, the House will vote to override this ridiculous veto.
State lawmakers could override Wolf’s veto; however, the bill again needs to pass both chambers by a two-thirds vote.
Gov. Wolf’s HB 2787 veto message