Jul. 01, 2020
HARRISBURG—Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) has introduced an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution to allow for the recall of elected officials who oversee local or state executive branches, agencies or departments.
Under current law, Pennsylvania has no recall provisions.
Many states give their citizens the right to hold recall elections provided certain provisions are met,” White said. “Our citizens have the right to put whoever they want in office. They should have 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 include offices such as: district attorneys, mayors, governor, treasurer, attorney general, and auditor general.
Given their broad, individually vested authority, executive officers may sometimes initiate policies at odds with the voters who elected them. Recall elections would provide a remedy in this scenario and prevent voters from having to wait for the expiration of an official’s term.
“We’ve seen a series of erratic decisions made by the Governor during the COVID-19 pandemic that have destroyed people’s lives and businesses,” White said. “But the people of Pennsylvania have no option for recalling that elected official when he or she makes decisions detrimental to their life and liberties.”
White also singled out Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner who refuses to fully prosecute gun crimes.
“In a span of a four-year term, much damage can be done before another election,” White said. “This is what we are currently experiencing under District Attorney Larry Krasner.”
Since taking office, Krasner has led a systematic effort to redefine the role of prosecutors.
“Krasner has exhibited very questionable behavior, from hiring an employee he owed money to at a salary of $160,000, to severely lowering the quality of life in neighborhoods by what equates to the decriminalizing of prostitution, certain drug possessions and his support for illegal heroin injection sites.”
“I don’t believe the majority of Philadelphia's voters expected Krasner to radicalize the office in the way that he has under the guise of reform,” White said. “It now seems he would like to normalize criminal behavior, release criminals back onto the street and encourage criminals through shorter sentencing. All of this will only serve to further hurt victims and embolden criminals. Since his swearing-in, Philadelphia has been on a path to self-destruction.”
To quote Krasner directly: “The essence of the reason I really don't want any other job in government is that you have this tremendous discretion. I don't have to get other people to agree with me to look at a case, and say, ‘no, I'm not gonna charge that person.’ Or, ‘No, I'm gonna pursue the death penalty.’ That power is in the office, and it's recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court as being in the bones of that office. So, that's really important, to be able to actually do things without having to get buy in, without having to log roll.”
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
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster