Kenyatta: Trio of bills will have disastrous consequences as pandemic reaches its peak

PHILADELPHIA, April 8 – Today, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., expressed disapproval of bills (H.B. 2400, H.B. 2376, and H.B. 1874) introduced by House Republicans that would reopen industries that are classified as non-life saving in Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts:

“It’s absolutely ludicrous to even contemplate going against everything state, national and global medical experts are urging residents to do to reduce the spread of this fatal virus,” Kenyatta said. “Opening businesses that are not essential during a time when this pandemic is soon poised to reach its peak will have disastrous consequences. For one, our health care systems will be overloaded with the inevitable uptick of new cases, compounded by the existing cases it’s already struggling to quell. Additionally, these bills lack foresight into offering provisions like paid sick leave and hazard pay for these employees who will be most at-risk for exposure. However, I expect nothing more from the same members of our legislature who denied many of these employees fair pay by voting against increasing the minimum wage, but are now conveniently coding them as essential for cheap profit.


“We’re battling a very dangerous, yet invisible threat that is an unprecedented occurrence in our lifetime right now, which incites feelings of confusion and fear among so many Pennsylvanians who are looking to us as legislators for the proper mitigation responses to ensure their well-being, so it’s imperative for the General Assembly to be on one accord during this incredibly stressful time. When there are legislators who are flagrantly undermining these safety measures, think of the message it conveys to our residents, including those who will be haphazardly thrusted on the frontlines of this viral outbreak with little to no protections.”

Kenyatta’s statement follows the series of pandemic response bills he recently introduced to provide financial relief to Pennsylvanians affected by the pandemic, like calling on PHEAA to defer student loan payments for 60 days. He also introduced a resolution urging Congress to provide unemployment compensation to gig economy workers in the COVID-19 response stimulus package. The latest bill Kenyatta is drafting would halt car repossessions during the pandemic.