Hutchinson backs lawsuit against business closures

From staff reports

State Sen. Scott Hutchinson, (R-21) of Oil City, is one of four state senators who offered strong support for a lawsuit by Butler, Fayette, Greene and Washington counties against the Wolf administration’s mandatory business closure order.

Hutchinson was joined by Sens. Camera Bartolotta (R-46), Joe Pittman (R-41) and Pat Stefano (R-32).

The senators said the counties were more than justified in filing the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against Gov. Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Rachel Levine.

The suit contends that Wolf’s business shutdown order is unconstitutional and calls for a permanent injunction against its enforcement. Further, the plaintiffs call for the elimination of the “arbitrary and capricious ‘waiver’ system” that allowed some businesses to operate while similar companies were required to stay shuttered.

“Gov. Wolf closed many businesses in Pennsylvania that could have safely remained open following health guidelines. Now he is pursuing another convoluted and deeply flawed process of reopening counties,” said Bartolotta. “Every day that we wait pushes more families and employers closer to the edge of the financial cliff. The governor claims to use medical data to reopen counties, yet our southwestern communities were left out despite having some of the lowest rates of infection in the state. Protecting lives and livelihoods is not mutually exclusive,” she added.

“The governor’s decisions regarding the continued closure of businesses across the commonwealth have been confusing and frustrating,” Hutchinson said. “It is unfortunate that these counties have been forced to file legal proceedings just to get the relief that should have been granted to them as part of reopening process. Butler County certainly met the administration’s metrics for partial reopening on May 8. It certainly should have been added to the 24 counties that were authorized to ease restrictions,” Hutchinson added.