HARRISBURG – The Senate State Government Committee held a public hearing Monday to review the legal requirements for incapacitated governors or lieutenant governors, according to committee chairman Senator David G. Argall (R-29).
These procedures came into the spotlight in May when Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman underwent a pacemaker operation following a stroke. President Pro Tempore Jake Corman served as acting lieutenant governor from May 17th to May 23rd. Since his stroke, Lieutenant Governor Fetterman has not presided over the Senate.
Confusion remains about when Fetterman’s office first notified Governor Wolf when he first required medical care, Argall said.
“There have been three instances where this law became necessary, most notably when Governor Bob Casey underwent a rare heart-liver transplant and Lieutenant Governor Mark Singel served as acting governor for six months in 1993,” said Senator Argall.
“We learned from our initial review that the law has been applied differently in all three cases and is unclear about whether the Governor or Lieutenant Governor needs to wait four days between notification and resuming their duties,” Senator Argall continued. “The information we gathered today is invaluable.”
Testimony from Dr. Brian J. Gaines and Dr. Brian D. Roberts noted antiquated sections in the 1974 law, which includes a reference to the telegram.
The committee issued invitations to former Lieutenant Governor Mark Singel and current Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman to hear their perspectives and personal experiences with this law. Lieutenant Governor Singel submitted a written statement, while Lieutenant Governor Fetterman declined to participate.
Contact: Jim Brugger