Sainato: House unanimously passes bill to postpone state primary until June 2

Other COVID-19 emergency response measures passed, as well

NEW CASTLE, March 25 – A bill that would postpone the state primary election to June 2 and allow for consolidation of polling locations to address COVID-19 safety issues passed the House unanimously today, according to state Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence.

Sainato said S.B. 422 would provide critical extra time for counties to make adjustments and allow for consolidation of polling places to protect voters and poll workers.

“We are navigating a difficult time because of what is happening both here in Pennsylvania and throughout our nation,” said Sainato, who is Democratic chairman of House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. "It's important to uphold the integrity of our election. It is also critical to protect the health and welfare of our voters and the people who work on our election boards, including the many senior citizens who have worked on these boards for years.

“Fortunately, there are options in addition to the polls. Pennsylvania has come far with our efforts in changing the Election Code to include no-excuse mail-in ballots. I urge residents everywhere, and particularly our seniors and more vulnerable residents, to apply for and complete mail-in ballots from the privacy and safety of their own homes.”

Sainato said that the House also unanimously passed S.B. 751 – which removes the 180-day requirement for schools and authorizes the secretary of Education to close all schools until the COVID-19 epidemic is over and increase the number of allowable flexible instruction days, among other measures.

He added that in addition to the amended School Code and election bills, the House unanimously passed:

  • H.B. 68, which would facilitate unemployment compensation benefits and suspend certain requirements for workers whose jobs are impacted by COVID-19.

  • H.B. 1232, which would authorize the transfer of up to $50 million in state funds into a restricted account to aid health care providers such as hospitals, nursing homes and others, and would extend the state’s current medical marijuana regulations – set to expire in May -- until late 2021.

The bills now head to the governor’s desk for a signature.