Could This Be the Week Pennsylvania Legalizes Medical Marijuana?

Discount Medical Marijuana cannabis shop in Denver, Colorado. | O'Dea, Wikimedia Commons

Discount Medical Marijuana cannabis shop in Denver, Colorado. | O’Dea, Wikimedia Commons

This could — maybe — be the week medical marijuana becomes legal in Pennsylvania.

After percolating for several years, the issue arrives before the House this week — with a full vote to send a legalization bill to Gov. Tom Wolf coming as soon as Tuesday.

The Post-Gazette reports that Wolf on Friday urged passage of the bill, issuing this statement:  “I support the legalization of medical marijuana so we can finally provide much needed relief to families and children. It is time to legalize medical marijuana because we should not deny doctor-recommended treatment that could help people suffering from seizures or cancer patients affected by chemotherapy.” Read more »

Marni Snyder Says She Would Be Tough on LGBT Hate Crimes

Marni Snyder is running in a highly contested race for State Representative of the 182nd District.

Marni Snyder is running in a highly contested race for the 182nd District.

This 182nd District seat is highly contested, with a competitive second-term incumbent. Why should voters consider you the more viable choice?
I’ve knocked on over a thousand doors the past few weeks and I’ve spoken to hundreds of voters. I’ve shared with them my vision for stronger representation in Harrisburg, and the response has been tremendous. The people who live in this district want someone with my experience and my skill set. I’ve been inside every single school in the [182nd legislative] district. I’m an experienced advocate who fights hard for others every single day, and it’s something that they want and that we need in Harrisburg. Read more »

EMILY’s List Vows $1M to Back McGinty

Businesswoman and former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty has run a solid campaign, building a network and achieving fundraising success. But most important, she, unlike opponents Allyson Schwartz and Rob McCord, stayed away from attacking Wolf. Given that, combined with Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s implosion and much of the Democratic establishment disliking former congressman Joe Sestak, watch for the articulate McGinty to quickly become the frontrunner against freshman Pat Toomey in 2016.

Katie McGinty

EMILY’s List, the political action committee that supports pro-choice female Democratic candidates, said this week it will pump $1 million into Katie McGinty’s campaign.

McGinty is competing with former Congressman Joe Sestak and Braddock Mayor John Fetterman for the Democratic nomination, sandwiched between the two in most polls. The pledge comes as observers and rivals were questioning whether she’d have enough money on hand to mount a serious charge before the April 26 primary. Read more »

Proposal Would Expand “Do Not Call” List

harrisburg diamond

Pennsylvania’s “Do Not Call” registry has existed for 20 years now, yet state residents can still often find themselves on the receiving end of unwanted telemarketer calls — particularly, it seems, once election season starts.

But maybe not much longer.

Rep. Russ Diamond, a Lebanon County Republican, told colleagues this week he will soon propose legislation to remove two types of callers still allowed by law to ignore the registry: Non-profit organizations and politicians. Read more »

4 Things We Learned From the NYT Trump-Christie Profile

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, accompanied by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, takes questions from members of the media during a news conference on Super Tuesday primary election night in the White and Gold Ballroom at The Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, March 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, accompanied by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, takes questions from members of the media during a news conference on Super Tuesday primary election night in the White and Gold Ballroom at The Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, March 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The Chris Christie-Donald Trump alliance continues to be an object of fascination, so the New York Times dives in today with a history of — and it seems air quotes are needed here — “friendship.”

Here are four things we learned from the piece:

Trump’s sister, a federal judge in New Jersey, brought them together. We told you last month about Maryanne Trump Barry, a senior judge for the Philly-based U.S. Court of Appeals in the Third Circuit. It seems her career has never entirely been separate from politics or Donald’s dealings — she ascended to the bench in the 1980s after her brother made a call to Roy Cohn, who in turn called then-Attorney General Edwin Meese.

The Times story suggests, too, that Christie got a little bit of help from his brother Todd — snagging an appointment as U.S. attorney for New Jersey after Todd made a big donation to the campaign of George W. Bush. After he took the job, Judge Barry told Christie: “My little brother really wants to meet you.” Read more »

Lou Lanni on Running for State Rep as an LGBTQ Candidate

Photo provided by Lou Lanni.

Photo provided by Lou Lanni.

This 182nd District House seat looks highly competitive. What are you bringing to the table that’s distinctly different from others running?
Experience. Experience in life. Experience in business as a long time realtor who negotiates for a living. Experience as a policeman who dealt with many serious, and at times deadly, situations. And experience as a lifelong Philadelphian who knows our city and its people inside out — the only one in the field of four candidates, I notice. In the course of my life, I’ve learned how to deal with a wide variety of people in many different, and sometimes demanding, situations. Understanding personalities, seeing things from the other person’s perspective, and knowing when to compromise is the key to being a successful legislator. Knowing how to combine with others to get the job done, being willing to negotiate, and being open to compromise is the way government should work. A “my way or the highway” attitude will never work in Harrisburg. In spite of all the glowing accolades my competitors have assigned themselves, I know that I am the one person in the field ready to lead from day one. Read more »

Casey on Pa. Overdose Epidemic: “We’re Leading in a Category We Don’t Want to Be Leading”


Drug overdose deaths have rapidly increased in recent years and experts say this is due in large part to abuse of prescription painkillers and heroin addiction. The number of Americans who die annually from heroin addiction has increased by 244 percent since 2007. In 2013 alone overdoses from prescription pain medications killed more than 16,000 people. Drug overdose now exceeds car crashes as the No. 1 cause of injury-related death in the United States.

Pennsylvania has been hit hard by the rising epidemic. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,732 people in Pa. died of drug overdoses in 2014 and overdose deaths have increased by 12.9% in one year from 2013-2014. As Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey said in a conference call this morning, “We’re leading in a category we don’t want to be leading. Pennsylvania is third in the nation for heroin deaths.” Read more »

Christie Endorses Trump for President

One theory about the quick demise of Chris Christie’s presidential campaign — once so full of promise — is that there was only room for one brash-talking northeasterner in the GOP race. Once Donald Trump jumped in and started being Donald Trump-ish, Christie’s usual strengths were overshadowed.

In any case, Christie is out. And today, he endorsed Trump for president.

The New York Times reports Christie said Trump “will do exactly what needs to be done to make America a leader around the world again,” and said they’d been friends for a decade. “I am proud to be here to endorse Donald Trump,” he said, at Trump’s side at a Texas gathering.

The reaction was quick on Twitter, with observers expecting Christie to play a big role in the campaign going forward.

Statistician Nate Silver, though, wasn’t so sure this is a prelude to Christie winning Trump’s VP slot:

More to come, almost certainly.

Bill Would Create Municipal ID in Philly

quinones city hall

Maria Quiñonez-Sanchez

City Hall may soon issue its own “municipal ID” to Philadelphia residents, a new form of identification modeled on programs in New YorkSan Francisco and other big cities with large populations of undocumented immigrants.

Though immigrants aren’t mentioned in the press release Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez issued in support of the legislation — which she introduced at today’s Council meeting — she pointed to New York’s year-old IDNYC program as a model for the Philly effort. That program has been heavily promoted, and heavily covered, as aiding undocumented immigrants in that city, as well as homeless residents who otherwise find it difficult to obtain state-issued IDs.

Sanchez’s effort has the backing of Mayor Jim Kenney.

“There is no question that something must be done to help bring Philadelphians out of the shadows,” Kenney said in the press release. “Our entire city benefits when all of our residents can legally own an apartment, open a bank account, and otherwise participate in our economy and society fully.” Read more »

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