Apr. 14, 2020

HARRISBURG – Rep. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford/Franklin/Fulton) joined House colleagues to approve legislation to put Pennsylvania businesses at parity with their competitors in the Commonwealth and in surrounding states. In response to passage of Senate Bill 613, Topper issued the following statement:

“Since the governor invoked his edict to shut down businesses he deemed non-essential, my office has been inundated with phone calls and emails from business owners who were told by the administration they must close. Alarmingly, there have been nearly identical businesses allowed to operate after receiving one of the governor’s coveted waivers.

“Several large stores have been permitted to remain open while small, mom-and-pop businesses that sell the same products were forced to close. Big box home improvement stores can stay open to sell hardware and gardening products while locally owned hardware stores and garden centers are not. Many of our small businesses can operate in a safer environment than big box stores and yet they remain shuttered as their competition thrives.

“This is patently unfair, and Senate Bill 613 serves to bring consistency to businesses by requiring the governor to follow tried and tested federal guidelines on which businesses are considered essential and should remain open and ensure the safety of consumers and employees by following social distancing and other health guidelines. Surrounding states already follow this model and Pennsylvania should do the same.

“It’s no secret small businesses are the backbone of our local economy and our community. The damage caused by this arbitrary waiver system can only be described as breaking the backs of small business owners and their employees.”

Senate Bill 613 is now in the Senate for a concurrence vote.

Representative Jesse Topper
78th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives