Jun. 16, 2021

HARRISBURG—Legislation sponsored by Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to allow for the recall of elected officials who oversee state executive branches, agencies or departments and elected executives of first-class cities has passed the House State Government Committee.

Philadelphia is the only Pennsylvania city of the first class, defined as having a population of 1 million or more.

“As we’ve seen throughout the country, residents in states that allow for the recall of state executives are using their right to recall governors and mayors who overstepped their authority,” White said. “But Pennsylvania has no recall provisions. Voters can elect whoever they want in office but lack the right to remove their public officials as well when they are not living up to the roles and responsibilities or the best interest of their citizens.”

The offices that would be subject to a potential recall election under the original bill include offices such as: district attorneys, mayors, governor, treasurer, attorney general and auditor general.

“Given their broad, individually vested authority, executive officers sometimes initiate policies at odds with the voters who elected them,” White said. “Recall elections would give them a remedy for waiting for the expiration of an official’s term.”

White argued that many questionable decisions have been made by Gov. Tom Wolf during the COVID-19 pandemic that destroyed people’s lives and businesses.

“But the people of Pennsylvania had no option for recalling him for decisions detrimental to their lives and liberties,” White said.

The bill was amended in committee to only apply to Philadelphia mayors and district attorneys.

"I would have preferred the original language but this is a step in the right direction." said White.

To become part of the Constitution, White’s amendment must pass both the House and Senate in two consecutive terms, then be passed by a majority of voters in a statewide referendum.

Representative Martina White
170th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: David Foster