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Lawmakers from Pennsylvania to Washington have signed on to overturn a federal moratorium on evictions, just as the Supreme Court allows one more month before a potential wave of evictions begins.

U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-12th District, and Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District, co-sponsor a bill to overturn the deportation ban, first ordered by the Centers for Disease Control at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exceeded their constitutional authority in issuing the order,” supporters of the bill, all Republicans, said. “This legislation attempts to restore the rights of landowners who have been unconstitutionally affected by the stopping of residential evictions by lifting the ordinance and preventing its re-enforcement.”

The moratorium helped delay a feared increase in evictions after the pandemic hit the economy. Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians have told the US Census Bureau they are behind on rent or face eviction soon, but groups representing landowners and landlords say the delay has gone on long enough.

Those who push to reverse the order pursue both legislative and judicial decisions. Groups representing real estate agents challenged the order in court, taking the fight to the United States Supreme Court this week.

“By (placing the order), the CDC has shifted the financial burden of the pandemic from the country’s 30 million to 40 million tenants to its 10 to 11 million landlords – most of whom, like the claimants, are individuals and small businesses. businesses – which generated over $ 13 billion in unpaid rent per month ”, they said in a court file.

The country’s highest court ruled on Tuesday that the moratorium could continue until July 31, when it is expected to expire. But the narrow 5-4 vote came with a warning: in a deal, Judge Brett Kavanaugh suggested he would not repeat the ruling, and noted that the last few weeks will allow authorities to distribute the necessary rent aid. .

Some states and municipalities have moved to expand their own eviction bans, creating a potential patchwork of rental policies across the country. Pennsylvania tenant activists and tenant unions have called for extensions and new protections as the deadline approaches.

It’s not just tenants who could face renewed pressure this summer. A similar moratorium on foreclosures is set to expire by August, though federal officials are drafting rules that could make it harder to force people to leave their homes after the deadline.

“We have never seen so many borrowers so late on their mortgages”, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Dave Uejio told The New York Times this week.

The twin crisis – evictions and foreclosures – has prompted federal and state officials to put relief money back into the hands of residents. Congress approved billions in rental aid during the pandemic, but states have reported delays in distributing funds.

With a skeptical Supreme Court and members of Congress calling for an end to the moratorium, they may be running out of time.

Democrats try second round on cocktail bill

A group of state senators are set to grant restaurant owners new freedoms – including selling take-out cocktails – after a similar effort crashed and burned down last month.

Three Senators from Democratic States circulated a memo this week saying they will be proposing a “to do the housework” version of a bill that would have allowed restaurants to sell more drinks, including outdoors.

The seemingly minor policy change has major implications and pitted Governor Tom Wolf and a state union against GOP lawmakers.

State officials have allowed restaurants to sell take-out cocktails during the pandemic, when dining inside was strictly limited. The association representing tavern owners welcomed the policy and called for the change to be enshrined in law.

This almost happened last month, as both houses of the General Assembly passed a bill to make the policy permanent. GOP lawmakers then changed it to allow supermarkets and other retail stores to sell canned cocktails – drinks currently offered in state-owned liquor stores.

This late change drew opposition from Local 1776 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, the union that represents liquor store workers. After a GOP-initiated ballot initiative removed Wolf’s emergency pandemic powers, state officials reversed temporary policy and the bill stalled – leaving restaurants in dire straits worse than before.

Now a trio of Democratic lawmakers are set to return to the start, with a “to do the housework” bill that would make changes only for restaurants. It remains to be seen whether their GOP colleagues will accept the plan.

“The hotel industry has been decimated over the past 15 months”, the sponsors wrote. “We hope you will join us in sponsoring this legislation to help local bars and restaurants get back on their feet after a year of immense hardship.”

Ryan Brown covers statewide politics for Ogden Newspapers, owner of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette.

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