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(The Center Square) – Gov. Tom Wolf signed a 90-day statewide emergency declaration for COVID-19 on Friday, the fourth such order since March 6, 2020.

“COVID-19 vaccinations have begun, but we are still in the early stages of vaccine administration,” he said. “We will continue to prioritize a safe, efficient and equitable distribution process, and expect vaccinations to increase as the federal government makes more vaccine available to states.”

Wolf said the ongoing declaration ensures the state’s access to federal pandemic relief, allowing agencies to respond faster to emerging outbreaks and, now, improve vaccine administration. 

“This renewal will allow the commonwealth to maintain its response and support efforts as we continue testing, contact tracing and vaccination efforts to keep Pennsylvanians safe,” he said.

But it’s been a source of frustration for the Republican-controlled Legislature that says Wolf uses the orders to justify unilateral and draconian pandemic restrictions without their input. 

The strain grew so great that lawmakers advanced a constitutional amendment in just seven months to allow voters to decide the extent of the governor’s emergency powers. The referendum will appear on the May 18 primary ballot.

This article originally ran on

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