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September 27th Ups & Downs

Gov. Tom Wolf announces his support for legalizing marijuana, Democrats in the state support impeachment proceedings, and Team Youse gets the better of Team Yinz in the annual Capitol All Star Softball Game. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs. 

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Marijuana Advocates. Is it time to legalize weed in PA? Gov. Tom Wolf thinks so. On Wednesday, Wolf announced his support for marijuana legalization for adult recreational use and calls on the General Assembly to “seriously debate and consider” it. Wolf held a press conference with Lt. Gov. John Fetterman announcing the results of Fetterman’s statewide marijuana listening tour and said that a majority of Pennsylvanians support marijuana legalization. Although Wolf and Fetterman have now stated their support for marijuana legalization, the GOP controlled legislature does not appear to be on board with the idea. In December, state Sen. Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) called recreational marijuana legalization “reckless and irresponsible” and vowed to do everything in his power to prevent it from happening. A spokesperson from Corman’s office told PoliticsPA Wednesday afternoon that they are remaining focused on the medical marijuana program in the state and said they are “not convinced that legalizing marijuana will not have a negative impact on that.”

Democratic Impeachment Proceeding Supporters. For months, the issue of impeachment has divided Pennsylvania’s Democratic Congressional 9 member delegation. Since Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has announced that the House is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, after a reported phone conversation that Trump held with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urging him to look into Biden’s son’s business dealings in the country became public, the state’s Congressional delegation is divided no-more. This week, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester), Conor Lamb (D-Allegheny) and Susan Wild (D-Lehigh) made official statements supporting proceeding with an impeachment inquiry. Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia), Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery), Mike Doyle (D-Allegheny), Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia), and Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware), who previously supported impeachment proceedings, stand with Pelosi’s move as well. All nine members of the state’s Democratic Congressional delegation, plus Sen. Bob Casey and Gov. Tom Wolf support impeachment proceedings. 

Nuclear Advocates. Three Mile Island nuclear plant officially closed last Friday and WITF reports that nuclear advocates are focusing on the state’s four other plants. State Rep. Tom Mehaffie pushed legislation to bail out TMI, but it did not receive enough support. Mehaffie believes that with cheaper natural gas available in the state that Pennsylvania’s other nuclear plants are in trouble too. 

Deb Ryan and Mike Noone. The race for Chester County District Attorney is heating up and law enforcement groups in the Philadelphia suburb are torn between their support for Democratic candidate Deb Ryan and Republican Mike Noone. The Daily Local News reports that Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 11 in West Chester announced their endorsement of Ryan for DA, which is the first time a Democrat running for the office is being backed by the local FOP. Ryan also racked up the endorsement of FOP Lodge 66, which represents state police troopers in the county, before Noone entered the race. Noone has earned his fair share of law enforcement endorsements as well. Noone was endorsed by the Phoenixville Police Association and the County Detectives Association of Pennsylvania. The Daily Local News writes that “Never before have those organizations split on who would best represent the interests of the police and public safety in the county.”

Manufacturing Jobs. In the last year, Pennsylvania was among the states with the largest losses in manufacturing jobs, according to The Hill. The Labor Department reports that since August of last year, Pennsylvania lost 7,700 manufacturing jobs. 

Road Infrastructure. It’s not easy driving in PA. The Beaver County Times writes that according to an analysis of the 2017 Federal Highway Administration data places Pennsylvania’s road infrastructure as the fifth-worst in the county. This conclusion is based on the percentage of roads in “poor condition,” vehicle repair costs per driver and the number of “structurally deficient bridges.” The analysis reports that 30% of Pennsylvania roads are in “poor condition.” 

Philadelphia Poverty Rate. Philadelphia remains the poorest of the 10 most populous cities in the nation, but recent statistics show that the poverty rate has dropped to its lowest level since 2008 and median household income rose as well, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The findings from the U.S. Census Bureau show the city’s poverty rate declined from 25.7% in 2016 to 24.5% in 2018. The median household income (adjusted for inflation” increased from $43,372 to $46,116.  

Michael P. Ellwood. On Tuesday, state Sen. Pat Browne’s former campaign committee treasurer was arrested on 179 criminal counts for stealing $578,051 over 11 years, according to Lehigh Valley Live. According to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, Ellwood allegedly used the campaign’s money to pay bills, pay child support and pay himself. Browne thanked the Attorney General’s office in a statement and said he “cannot adequately express how devasted” he is to find out that someone he’s known “for almost my whole life and someone I had infinite confidence in, misappropriated funds out of my campaign committee account.” 

Team Youse. The Philadelphia Phillies didn’t end their 8 year playoff drought in 2019, but lawmakers from the eastern part of the state ended the winning streak from Team Yinz in Western Pennsylvania in the annual Capitol All Star Softball Game. The PLS Reporter writes that Team Youse ended Team Yinz three-year winning streak by winning 16-3 behind “stellar pitching performance from Robert Mazie and big offensive showings from Mike Reese, Morgan Cephas, and Scott Martin.” 


The Tweet of the Week is from WITF’s Katie Meyer on the biggest news from Harrisburg this week.

One Response

  1. For those recreational marijuana users think twice, very few well paying jobs do not require a drug free work place. Craft unions, energy, chemical, pharmaceuticals, truck driving, sawmills, gas exploration jobs will not be available to you. You are condemning yourself and your family to lower wage jobs and the commensurate life style. Why the Democrats can’t see these consequences is unknown. Pennsylvania will socialize the costs of drug use in higher government services costs to those who toke their way into lower paying jobs.

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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