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Alone in 'yellow' phase: Lebanon County lawmakers tell constituents to ignore Wolf

Patrick DeLany
York Dispatch
Protesters broke through barriers to gather around speaker, State Rep. Russ Diamond, R-Lebanon, who gave a speech during a Reopen PA rally in Harrisburg Friday, May 15, 2020. About 1,000 protesters participated at the rally in front of the capitol building. Bill Kalina photo

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday that 12 more Pennsylvania counties would move to the "green" phase of reopening, leaving only Lebanon County under tighter pandemic restrictions.

In a news release, the Wolf administration blamed Republican county officials for voting to open about a month ago.

“Lebanon County’s partisan, politically driven decision to ignore public health experts and reopen prematurely is having severe consequences for the health and safety of county residents,” Wolf's health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, said in the release. “Case counts have escalated and the county is not yet ready to be reopened. Lebanon County has hindered its progress by reopening too early."

More:Wolf loosens restrictions in last of counties except Lebanon

More:Pa. House Democrats say they were in the dark for a week about Republican’s positive coronavirus test

More:Pa. Supreme Court tosses county ban on probationers using medical pot

More:Wolf lays out consequences for 'cowardly' politicians bucking stay-at-home orders

The number of new infections in Lebanon County per 14-day reporting period has more than doubled since late May.

Lebanon County's state lawmakers responded with this letter to their constituents:

Dear Residents of Lebanon County: 

If there was ever any doubt that the governor and secretary of health are more motivated by politics than concerns about public health, that doubt has been erased today.

Secretary of Health, Dr. Levine's highly political statement regarding Lebanon County is an absolute insult to equality and fair treatment, and may have violated the constitutional rights of 140,000 county residents, regardless of their politics.

We are all ardent supporters of transparency in government, and we can all see right through this punitive decision. They own the so-called “data,” they disseminate the “data,” they use this same “data” to bully those who do not comply or who challenge their authority. Unfortunately, we have no way of verifying the accuracy of their “data.” The governor's hypocritical march through the streets of Harrisburg, his inability to communicate his own guidelines, and nonsensical application of arbitrary metrics to reopen parts of Pennsylvania should all lead to only one conclusion.

As far as we are concerned the governor has lost all credibility regarding every aspect of his shutdown, and deserves only to be ignored. Lebanon Countians, and Pennsylvanians as a whole, should treat this edict with the same respect that he has treated all of us, absolutely none. 

Sincerely,

State Sen. Dave Arnold

48th Senatorial District

State Rep. Russ Diamond

102nd Legislative District

State Rep. Frank Ryan

101st Legislative District

State Rep. Sue Helm

104th Legislative District