Wolf vetoes bills on poll watchers and transgender athletes

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf on Friday rejected three bills passed by the Republican-dominated legislature, vetoing measures regarding transgender athletes in school sports and poll watchers.

He also struck down the Human Services Code, blowing a hole in the state budget as lawmakers tried to end the annual vote spree that accompanies the annual spending plan.

Wolf previously warned that he would repeal the bill banning transgender athletes from playing sports that match their gender identity. In his veto message, he said the bill would have “a devastating impact on a vulnerable population already at greater risk of bullying and depression.”

He also vetoed a bill — sponsored by Franklin County Sen. Doug Mastriano, the GOP gubernatorial nominee — to allow all registered voters in Pennsylvania to serve as poll watchers in any constituency in the state.

“This bill does nothing to increase access to the vote,” he wrote. “Instead, this bill undermines the integrity of our electoral process and encourages voter intimidation.”

Wolf’s third veto was based on a Human Service Code provision that would have prohibited a state agency from entering into a contract with a financial management service provider.

“These self-directed services allow participants to make choices about their own care, with this model supporting both participants and direct caregivers,” he wrote in his veto message.

Vetoing the legislation created a $1.8 billion gap in the budget, Wolf said, but after the veto, lawmakers inserted language from the Human Services Code into another bill and swept it away. adopted.

Naomi C. Amerson