Pa. House votes to bar shutting down churches in disasters

The Pennsylvania House on Tuesday passed a bill that would prevent governors from applying their disease control powers to shut down gatherings at churches or other houses of worship.

The chamber voted 149 to 53 for the proposal, which the Democratic leader called a solution in search of a problem. All Republicans voted for it, while Democrats were split fairly evenly.

“There’s never been a closure and there won’t be,” said Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny, during floor debate.

The bill would amend the state’s Religious Freedom Protection Act to ban governors from using disaster response and disease prevention powers to infringe on anyone’s ability to assemble for worship or to travel to their place of worship.


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