Sep. 16, 2020

HARRISBURG – Dozens of House Republicans joined together in a press conference Wednesday morning to call for Gov. Tom Wolf to sign House Bill 2787, legislation that will enshrine in law that decisions about school sports and spectators can be made at the local level.

House Bill 2787 passed both the House and the Senate with enough supporting votes that, should the bill be vetoed, a veto could be overridden if the vote totals remain the same.

“It is time to give the people their voice back and ensure our children have the best educational outcomes. We encourage Gov. Wolf to join a bipartisan majority of the General Assembly and sign this bill. If he does not, we will hold a vote to override his veto,” said Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin). “This should not be a hard decision for members. It comes down to this: Do you support your constituents or do you support your governor?”

Rep. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland/Somerset), who is the lead sponsor of House Bill 2787, said the governor’s indoor and outdoor occupancy limits relative to school sports to do not make sense.

“Applying a 250-person gathering limit to sports stadiums that have seating for a few thousand people simply does not make sense. It is even harder to understand the 25-person limit for indoor gatherings being applied in gymnasiums that are larger than some big box retail stores,” Reese said.

“Who are Gov. Wolf, Secretary Levine – or anyone in Harrisburg -- to dictate that parents and grandparents cannot attend a loved one’s sports event or activity? Local officials know their facilities and have no less a commitment to public safety than Gov. Wolf. It makes sense that they should be empowered to make these decisions.”

Rep. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford/Fulton) noted the overwhelming support the bill received in both chambers clearly expressed the bipartisan will of the people as voiced through their representatives in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

“It is clearly the will of the General Assembly that these decisions regarding all extracurricular activities are placed in the hands of local school districts. I would encourage the governor to sign this bill and demonstrate some trust in our local districts to make these very important decisions,” Topper said.

Rep. Joe Emrick (R-Northampton), who was a student athlete and is the parent of two student athletes, noted the importance of this legislation to Pennsylvania families.

“From my time as a student athlete the memories I have of my parents meeting me outside the locker room after every game—win or lose—are some of my most cherished. As the father of two daughters who are also student athletes, I share the desire of parents across Pennsylvania to be there in support of my children,” said Emrick. “This is more than just about sports. This is about moments and opportunities that are finite and irreplaceable, that once they are lost can never be recovered or recreated.”

Wednesday’s rally had bipartisan support with Democratic House members Rep. Bill Kortz (D-Allegheny), Rep. Anita Kulik (D-Allegheny), Rep. Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny), and Rep. Joe Petrarca (D-Westmoreland) appearing in support of House Bill 2787 becoming law.

Representative Kerry Benninghoff
Pennsylvania House Majority Leader
171st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives