May 29, 2020

Governor Tom Wolf Announces 16 More Counties Moving Into 'Green' Phase Next Week

Gov. Tom Wolf will lift most of his pandemic restrictions in another 16 counties that are home to nearly 3 million people across western and central Pennsylvania, including much of the Pittsburgh area.

The counties include Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Clinton, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Lycoming, Mercer, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland.  These 16 counties will move next Friday to the so-called “green” phase, the phase with the fewest restrictions in the governor’s stoplight-colored three-phase reopening plan. 

The announcement comes as the first round of counties are entering the green phase today. 

May 26, 2020

Gov. Wolf Thanks Pennsylvanians for Their Part to Slow the Spread of COVID-19, Centre County to Move to Green

As part of a COVID-19 briefing, Governor Tom Wolf today thanked Pennsylvanians, including the Pennsylvania National Guard, for the many contributions to the pandemic response. He also announced that Centre County will move to green on Friday.

“I personally want to thank our National Guard members and their families for their work, especially during these trying times,” Gov. Wolf said. “Just like other families across the commonwealth, I know our military families are facing new challenges. Some are overcoming these challenges while coping with one parent being away from home due to a deployment to a COVID-19 site. That’s really showing the strength of these dedicated, courageous Pennsylvanians.”

May 25, 2020

Time to end Gov. Tom Wolf’s charade.

Pennsylvania residents are growing tired of Gov. Tom Wolf’s charade of dragging the Covid Virus “stay-at-home” orders on and on with no end in sight. Gov. Wolf continues to deny the efforts of our State House of Representatives to open for business. The residents of our Commonwealth have become an audience in a poor performance of a Harrisburg drama that is being played out at the Capitol, and directed by Gov. Wolf.

Our elected representatives are working to present legislation to Gov. Wolf to open small businesses safely and have appeared for this dress rehearsal for the last two months.

May 24, 2020

It’s time to reopen Pennsylvania

It has been nearly two months since Gov. Tom Wolf closed Pennsylvania’s economy and only days since he allowed portions of Pennsylvania to start to re-open under uncertain and confusing guidelines.

While every elected official’s top priority is the safety of those we represent, government must not needlessly inflict economic damage. Yet, that is exactly what is happening under Gov. Wolf’s prolonged shutdown order.

May 22, 2020

Gov. Wolf Adds Eight Counties to Yellow and 17 to Green on May 29, Remainder to Yellow on June 5

Furthering his plan for reopening Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf today announced eight additional counties will move to yellow and 17 to green, effective at 12:01 a.m., May 29. All remaining counties in red are expected to move to yellow by June 5 at 12:01 a.m.

The counties moving to yellow on May 29 include Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, and Schuylkill.

May 21, 2020

Wearing a Mask is not Pennsylvania State Law

Upon being asked last week if wearing a mask is law in Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf responded, “I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know what the issue is here, uh, if you want to stay safe, you ought to wear a mask…again, you can take that as something maybe, uh, has force of law.”

After six years in office, we would assume that the Governor understands how laws are created.

In fact, there is no law to wear a mask in Pennsylvania.

Laws are created by two legislative bodies – the House of Representatives and the Senate, who together form the General Assembly. As a member of the Pennsylvania Senate, no mask bill has crossed my desk. Just because our Governor thinks it into being, doesn’t mean he can snap his fingers and make it so.

May 19, 2020

PA Senator Doug Mastriano joins Tucker Carlson to discuss PA Secretary of Health

PA Senator Doug Mastriano joined Tucker Carlson Tonight to discuss PA Secretary of Health , Dr. Rachel Levine’s Covid-19 nursing home guidance. Levine required PA nursing and personal care homes to admit and re-admit patients who were positive for COVID-19.

Levine is directly responsible for directing nursing homes to accept virus-positive patients during the height of the outbreak in Pennsylvania. COVID-19 has killed more than 4,500 people in PA, and about 70% of those deaths were linked to these facilities.

Governor Wolf vetoes legislation that would ease some Covid-19 restrictions.

Governor Tom Wolf today vetoed three bills related to the state’s response to COVID-19 that violate the separation of powers and make other changes that go against the administration’s measured plan for reopening the state safely.

Senate Bill 327 would authorize counties to develop and implement their own mitigation plans and decide when businesses within their county can reopen and includes a provision that prohibits commonwealth agencies from performing an essential governmental operation, the promulgation of regulations, until 90 days after the COVID-19 disaster emergency declaration is terminated unless the legislature grants permission for a regulation to advance.

House Bill 2388 and House Bill 2412 would allow various industries to reopen in red phase counties.

“Since the beginning of this month, my administration has been gradually transitioning counties from the restrictive red phase to an intermediate yellow phase,” Wolf wrote. “The decisions to move counties from the red phase to the yellow phase are based on the advice of expert epidemiologists. These decisions are not based just on the number of cases of COVID-19, but are also based on other critical factors, such as how community members interact, the county’s number of potential transmission points, a county’s geographic location, the capacity to undertake contact tracing, and testing availability.”

Read the veto message for SB 327 here.

Read the veto message for HB 2388 here.

Read the veto message for HB 2412 here.

May 18, 2020

Armstrong County Coroner Calls Out Dr. Levine. Urges Attorney General to Investigate

Breaking News: Tonight in a post on the Armstrong County Coroner’s Facebook Page, Brian Myers, calls for PA Attorney General, Josh Shapiro to investigate the gross negligence Dr. Levine and her department has exhibited throughout this Covid-19 outbreak. Myers in the post below publicly questions the competency of PA Secretary of Health, Dr. Levine, and her department’s staff.

Pennsylvanians deserve an apology from Gov. Wolf

Insults. Threats. Bullying. On Monday, May 11, Gov. Tom Wolf’s video statement featured all three. Wolf launched these salvos against his fellow Pennsylvanians — local elected officials, job creators, and workers in eight counties — seeking to provide for themselves and their families. He called them “cowards” and “deserters” for assessing local risks and daring to think for themselves.

We expect name-calling and temper tantrums on a schoolyard playground. But from the governor’s office, we expect leadership. Leaders don’t keep people in the dark. Since the COVID-19 crisis began, however, Wolf has thumbed his nose at calls for transparency while taking actions that are decimating Pennsylvanians’ livelihoods.

May 17, 2020

This New Normal Will Test Us All

If you ask me what scares me more, “COVID-19” or a “new normal,” it would be the latter. I am confident there will be a COVID-19 treatment and vaccine in less time than we suspect. There’s simply too much at stake. I am most fearful, though, of what the response to this virus is doing to us, our way of life.

As I follow the guidelines to flatten the curve, it seems many people are much more willing than me to concede that those guidelines should be our new normal — one where social distancing and mask wearing is viewed as a civic duty to protect you from me, indefinitely.

Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry launches program to extend unemployment pay for 13 weeks

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Secretary, Jerry Oleksiak, today announced the launch of Pennsylvania's Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program to provide an additional 13 weeks of benefits to people who exhaust their regular unemployment compensation (UC).

PEUC is included in the new federal unemployment compensation benefits provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Pennsylvania has implemented all programs under the new CARES Act and paid out nearly $7.4 billion in total unemployment benefits since mid-March.

Important information about the extended benefits program follows and has also been emailed or mailed via the United States Postal Service to all individuals who potentially qualify for PEUC.

Representative Conner Lamb votes against COVID-19 stimulus, saying bill was ‘not focused’

Representative Conor Lamb (PA-17) issued the following statement following the U.S. House of Representatives vote on H.R. 6800:

“People in western Pennsylvania and all over the country have sacrificed a lot during this crisis. They expect us to put politics aside, work together, and focus on defeating the coronavirus. This bill is not focused, it was rushed to a vote too fast, and it doesn’t help us accomplish that core mission.

May 16, 2020

PA Congressman Scott Perry Calls for Federal Investigation

I just sent a formal request that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Investigations immediately open an independent investigation into whether the PA Department of Health’s guidance to nursing facilities contributed to an increase in COVID-19 infections and deaths in Pennsylvania nursing homes. I will not continue to standby while Governor Wolf continues to endorse and demand policies that harm peoples’ health and well-being. That’s not the Oath I took.

May 15, 2020

PA Senator Doug Mastriano blasts Governor Wolf

In an interview with Next News Network, Senator Mastriano blasts Governor Wolf for extending his stay-at-home order until June 4th. Mastriano says, “The Governor is flying by the seat of his pants. There is no plan.” Feels the Governor is acting as if he is a Monarch. He also criticizes PA Secretary of Health, Dr Rachel Levine for inflating PA Covid-19 numbers.

Gregory Calls for Health Secretary’s Removal, Resignation

HARRISBURG — Rep. Jim Gregory (R-Blair) has signed onto a resolution calling for the removal or resignation of Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.

Gregory co-sponsored a resolution that Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) intends to introduce. 

“To date, 68% of the Commonwealth’s COVID-19-related deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities. ... Secretary Levine also instituted guidance for nursing facilities to admit and re-admit patients who were positive for COVID-19. By doing so, Dr. Levine has put our most vulnerable populations at even greater risk,” Diamond wrote in the resolution. 

PAGOP Chairman demands resignation of Health Secretary

“It is unthinkable that PA Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, would move her mother out of a personal care home, and into a hotel, while ordering nursing and personal care homes to accept COVID patients,” said PAGOP Chairman Lawrence Tabas.

“It is no coincidence that nearly 70% of COVID-related deaths in Pennsylvania occurred in nursing and personal care homes."

"If this is true, Dr. Levine should accept responsibility for this horrific tragedy, beg forgiveness from those who’ve lost loved ones inside these facilities — and resign immediately."

“Pennsylvania families have suffered too much for too long under the authoritarianism, secrecy, and threats of Governor Tom Wolf and Dr. Rachel Levine.”

Gov. Wolf: 12 More Counties to Move to Yellow Phase on May 22

Governor Tom Wolf announced 12 additional Pennsylvania counties will move to the yellow phase of reopening at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 22. Those counties include Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Wayne, and York. Twenty-four counties moved into the yellow phase of reopening on May 8 and another 13 moved to yellow beginning today. 

With these additional 12 counties, there will be a total of 49 counties in the yellow phase. The remaining 18 counties are in the red phase. 

May 12, 2020

Beaver County Commissioners Respond to Gov. Wolf Saying There will be Consequences.

The Commissioners of Beaver County were disappointed in Governor Wolf’s remarks today and felt it necessary to issue this press release in response. Nothing the Governor stated makes us change the position we previously held in that it is illogical to keep Beaver County in the “red” phase while moving the entire bordering counties and regions into the “yellow” phase. We do not believe our residents will be corralled inside invisible county lines on the map.

May 11, 2020

UPDATE: Mercer County DA, Peter Acker, Drops Citations Issued to Local Gym

Update: Last Friday on our PennPatriot Blog Facebook page we highlighted a situation in Hermitage PA. The District Attorney in Mercer County, Peter Acker, issued citations and fines to PREP Fitness a local gym owned by Joe Joseph. Mr. Joseph opened his businesses in violation of Governor Wolf’s Covid-19 orders.

On Friday at 3:20 in the afternoon, Hermitage Police Chief Eric Jewel and Mercer County District Attorney Peter Acker arrived at the fitness center and issued Joseph two citations for violation of administrative code and another for violation of the Disease Prevention and Control law.

Acker threatened Mr. Joseph with fines and even jail time if he did not comply with the Governor’s orders. Acker told the WKBN news that Joseph the owner of PREP Fitness would be fined between $10 to $50 for violation of administrative code and $25 to $300 dollars for violation of the Disease Prevention and Control law. If the fines aren't paid within 30 days, he will be faced with jail time.”

Breaking News: Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman Warns of Risks, Increased Liability with Non-Compliance of Business Closure Orders

Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman today reminded businesses of the importance of complying with Governor Tom Wolf and Department of Health Secretary Rachel Levine's orders – for counties in both the red and yellow phases.

In addition to the critical public health objectives, Commissioner Altman warned non-compliant businesses defying the governor and secretary's business closure orders that many insurance policies contain provisions that exclude coverage for businesses or individuals engaging in illegal acts or conduct. These exclusions may apply to property coverage, liability coverage, advertising injury coverage, and a host of other essential coverages.

Breaking News: Representative Russ Diamond Responds to Governor Wolf’s Comments

I find it incredibly insulting and offensive of Governor Tom Wolf to call millions of Pennsylvanians aching to get back to earning a paycheck and feeding their families “cowardly” or “deserters.”

It was the Wolf Administration that deserted the workers of Pennsylvania who sacrificed their livelihoods and freedom based on a promise that such efforts would be temporary to “flatten the curve” at our hospitals.

They were also promised that government unemployment assistance would be on the way in the meantime. Both of these promises from Governor Wolf have proven to be hollow.

May 10, 2020


The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office will not prosecute citations pursuant to the Disease Prevention and Control Law regarding violations of state-mandated stay-at-home orders and closure orders of “non-essential businesses.”

The Pennsylvania Governor’s administration on May 8 issued the latest extension of its order that non-life sustaining businesses remain closed. The Governor also granted waivers to numerous businesses, allowing those businesses to open while others of their kind remain under closure order.

May 9, 2020

Pennsylvania deserves better

Pennsylvania’s fight against the covid-19 pandemic has upended its economy and rendered one in four workers jobless, all while putting our seniors in care homes at greater risk because of a serious policy flaw by Gov. Tom Wolf.

In mid-March, the governor issued an executive order — he has run virtually none of his decisions past the legislature — requiring nursing and personal care homes to accept covid-19 patients. His order was similar to orders in New Jersey and New York.

All three states suffered enormous mortality rates in these nursing homes. In Pennsylvania, nearly 69% of covid-19 deaths were from senior homes. The difference is that New York and New Jersey have rescinded these “must-accept” orders or amended them to require that covid-19 patients be isolated.

Pennsylvania, under Wolf, has not.

May 8, 2020


LEBANON, PENNSYLVANIA – Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf announced her Office will not prosecute or pursue legal action against any local business that wished to reopen. Open businesses must comply with the restrictions set forth in the April 15th Order issued by Dr. Rachel Levine.

On May 7th, Governor Wolf announced Lebanon County will remain under his ‘Stay at Home’ Order until at least early June. This meant the continued closure of local business, and the further decimation of our community’s livelihood. Within minutes, my Office received emails and messages from concerned citizens.

Breaking News: Altoona City Council Passes Resolution Stating that the City will not Cite Businesses for Violating Wolf Administration Covid-19 Order

Breaking News: The Altoona City Council held a special meeting today at 5:00PM to address the closure of businesses located in the City pursuant to the March 19, 2020 order of Governor Tom Wolf. Wolf’s order forced all “non-essential” City businesses to close.

According to Councilman Dave Butterbaugh,  a resolution was passed at the special meeting stating that the City of Altoona will not be citing city businesses for opening in violation of the Wolf Administration's Covid-19 order. According to Dave, the resolution that passed is geared more to warning and educating businesses as opposed to giving out citations and fines. Mayor Pacifico, Councilmen Bruce Kelley, Jesse Ickes, Joe Carper, Matt Cacciotti and Dave all voted yes for the passage of the resolution.

Mayor Matt Pacifico issued a statement on Facebook stating, “ The resolution that we passed tonight states that the City will issue warnings to noncompliant businesses, and provide educational information about the Governor’s order. What we also did in the resolution tonight will place the burden back on the appropriate State Agencies or licensing boards if they choose to further enforce with citations. Essentially we’re saying: “we’ll warn you, but we can’t promise that the state won’t fine you”.

Below is a letter that Mayor Pacifico has sent to Governor Wolf.

May 7, 2020

It’s Time for Rachel Levine to Resign

Guest Column by Lowman S. Henry

The Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a tragic number of deaths in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation. Here in Penn’s Woods the tragedy has been compounded by the fact about 65% of the deaths have occurred in nursing homes or personal care facilities.

And that horrific death rate can be attributed in large measure to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s policies requiring COVID-19 positive patients to be housed in such facilities. Officials need to be held accountable and the first person responsible is Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine who should resign immediately – or be fired by Governor Tom Wolf.

May 5, 2020

Snitch Line in Harrisburg – Welcome to East Germany…Pennsylvania

By State Senator Doug Mastriano

I was an exchange student in West Germany in the early 1980s during the Cold War, when that nation was divided into a free western half and the oppressed socialist eastern half. A group of five of us (two Americans and three Germans) visited Checkpoint Charlie, the famed crossing point between West and East Berlin.

My German friends tried to talk me into taking a trip into East Berlin stopping at Freidrich Strasse, and then return to West Berlin. We already had a trip planned the next day for East Berlin. But, my German “brothers” would not be deterred, and we were soon on the U-Bahn.

I snapped a picture of a sign that said “Friedrich Strasse” as proof of our adventure. As soon as I took the photo, a fellow in uniform snatched the camera from my hands and called the Volkspolizei (Peoples Police). I soon found myself detained by three Volkspolizei, firing questions at me. Things went from bad to worse when he asked for my passport.

Thankfully, my German host brother – Jorg – was quick on his feet and managed to de-escalate the situation with the compromise that I would destroy the film.

May 4, 2020

Turzai to Rivera: What’s the Plan to Bring Kids Back to the Classroom?

Responding to the state education secretary’s assertion that schools may be closed in the fall, in a letter Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) demanded the Wolf Administration share its plan to ensure Pennsylvania’s students return to school in the fall and continue, uninterrupted, their education.

“The secretary’s comments are irresponsible and raise some serious concerns,” Turzai said. “What is the plan to return our students back to their classrooms? Very sadly, these comments typify a ‘can’t do’ attitude, as if the administration really does not want schools to reopen.”

May 3, 2020

Why We Protest

Guest Column by Dr. John McGinnis
Host of WRTA’s Two Way Radio. Former PA 79th District State Representative

[Remarks made at the Blair County Tea Party Rally on May 1 to Re-Open PA.]

What exactly are we doing here? Petitioning an out of control government? I’m guessing Kim Jong Wolf and his secretary of health are having a pretty good laugh right now—they’re saying, “look at the schmucks appealing to us to allow them to exercise their God-given rights. How pathetic!” They have a point.

Please allow me a moment of nostalgia.

In his farewell address one generation ago, President Reagan talked about America as a shining city … a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds, living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity.

The Gipper summed things up this way: “After 200 years, that shining city is still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom….”