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Democrats respond to county lawsuit results

September 16, 2020 Digital Media Exclusive

A trio of Democrats took the two Republican county commissioners to task at their Wednesday meeting for the county being dismissed from a federal lawsuit against the Wolf administration's March emergency shutdown orders issued as the coronavirus pandemic began affecting Pennsylvania.

Phil Heasley, who is running for state representative in the 8th House District, and Daniel Smith Jr., a candidate for the 12th House District, both appealed to commissioners in May to drop the lawsuit against Gov. Tom Wolf.

On Wednesday, they upbraided Commissioners Leslie Osche and Kim Geyer, who voted in May to sue Wolf and Dr. Rachel Levine, state health secretary.

Four counties, led by Butler County, were among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, but were dismissed from the suit by U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV, who, in his written opinion Monday, said counties are part of the state and do not possess rights under the Constitution.

Stickman ruled in favor of the remaining plaintiffs — four Republican lawmakers and several small businesses in Butler, Fayette, Washington and Greene counties — that Wolf's coronavirus mitigation orders were unconstitutional.

Read more in Thursday's Butler Eagle.