HARRISBURG, PA — Rep. Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware) today announced that the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Council has voted to issue a disaster emergency declaration to allow Gov. Tom Wolf to use his authority to provide all necessary assistance to municipalities responding to violent protests in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.
“I’ve heard the pleas for help from the residents all across the Commonwealth who have watched helplessly as lives have been decimated,” Barrar said. “These are unprecedented times and require unprecedented action. This declaration will give local authorities whatever tools they need to reclaim control of their towns and cities.”
For the first time, Pennsylvania is under three non-weather related three emergency declarations, including one for the opioid crisis and another for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under Title 35, the PEMA Council, on which Barrar is an appointed member, must meet within 72 hours of a governor’s emergency declaration to approve such action.
“I voted in support of the governor’s declaration to maintain law and order, and safety for our citizens by providing the Pennsylvania State Police and National Guard as assistance to communities in need of state resources,” Barrar said. “At the same time, I want to make sure there is a strict chain of command when deploying the National Guard so they are effectively supporting law enforcement and helping local residents under siege.”
The declaration authorizes the adjutant general of the Pennsylvania National Guard and the Pennsylvania State Police commissioner to activate personnel and use resources as necessary to alleviate the danger to public health and safety caused by this emergency.
This declaration also authorizes PEMA to direct emergency operations in Delaware, Philadelphia, Allegheny, Dauphin, Erie, and Montgomery counties, allocating all resources and personnel as deemed necessary to cope with the situation. It also dedicates $2 million in unused appropriated PEMA funds and transfers up to $4 million in unused appropriated funds to PEMA for expenses authorized and incurred related to this emergency.
“Peaceful protest is a right that must be preserved,” Barrar said. “But many of these peaceful protests have been hijacked by vandals committed to theft and destruction. That must not be tolerated.”
Barrar is Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.
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