Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation that did not recognize real estate as an essential business during the Coronavirus pandemic. While it is still possible to conduct a real estate transaction, tours of homes are not allowed and that has obviously hindered the home buying and selling process. That has led to a push from the real estate industry in Pennsylvania to make real estate an essential business.
This effort led to both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature passing Bill 2412 that would allow real estate to operate within certain guidelines, plus it would waive if necessary a municipal requirement for an inspection.
In the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, the bill passed by a vote of 134 to 68 to 1. Every Republican voted for the bill and they were joined by 25 Democrats. In the State Senate, the vote was 33 to 15 to 2. Five Democrats joined all the Republicans to approve the measure. Governor Wolf has promised to veto the bill.
So how did your local representatives vote?
Conshohocken and Whitemarsh Township
State Representative Mary Jo Daley (D) and State Senator Vincent Hughes (D) represent Conshohocken and Whitemarsh and both voted no.
State Representative Tim Briggs (D) and State Senator Daylin Leach (D) represent West Conshohocken and Briggs voted no and Leach voted yes.
State Representative Mary Jo Daley (D), State Representative Matt Bradford (D), and State Senator Daylin Leach represent Plymouth Township. Daley and Bradford voted no. Leach voted yes.
We asked State Representative Mary Jo Daley for her reasoning on voting against the bill. Below is a statement from her:
“I understand the frustration of many realtors but have also heard from individual realtors who have their own concerns with this legislation. We all want to get the economy restarted and life to get back to normal. However, contrary to what the authors claim in this bill and others seeking to prematurely reopen non-essential businesses, there are no CDC, OSHA or other federal regulations dictating how various types of business can be conducted safely. Instead, the CDC and other federal agencies have repeatedly stated that the only allowable business activities during the period when a virus is spreading are those that are essential.
“Determining which businesses are essential is a difficult and controversial matter that needs to be evaluated based on thoughtful analysis and with a view to public health. The Governor’s approach of aggressive mitigation has helped Pennsylvania flatten the curve, and his plan for gradual reopening of the state is data-driven and based on the long-term health of Pennsylvania.
“Legislation of this sort could have the effect of tying the Governor’s hands if there is a spike in incidence of COVID-19, as it bears the weight of law rather than an executive order. In a situation where public health is concerned and where aggressive mitigation appears to have flattened the curve, managing an emergency with legislation is not the best approach.
“That said, we are continuing to work with the administration to come up with solutions to the economic hardships folks are facing. At the end of the day, I am doing everything in my power to protect the lives and livelihoods of Pennsylvanians during this crisis. And, in doing so, I will continue to listen to our public health officials and will be in favor of reopening businesses in accordance with the data-driven, medically sound and phased-in plan proposed by Governor Wolf.”
Let us know what you think in the comments.