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This Week in PA Politics 9/8

This Week In PA Politics

PA State Senate candidate supports taxing natural gas industry. An issue that Democrats hold near and dear is now receiving some support on the other side of the aisle. Republican candidate for state Senate Tom McGarrigle (R-Delaware) is the latest Republican to voice his support for an extraction tax placed on natural gas companies “in order to raise money for schools, infrastructure or pension obligations,” reports 90.5 WESA's Mary Wilson.

Certain services under Corbett’s HealthyPA still to be fleshed out. For many, the acceptance of Governor Corbett’s HealthyPA alternative by the US Department of Health and Human Services came as a relief after a year of waiting in limbo for the expansion of Medicaid. And although the Governor compromised on many points of the plan such as a requirement that participants search for work, other components, including limits on “things like wheelchairs, home care visits, and physical therapy for Medicaid enrollees” still need to be negotiated, 90.5 WESA's Mary Wilson reports.

Leading LGBT advocacy group lobbies to inhibit discrimination by 2015. A leading LGBT advocacy group is optimistic that support is growing for legislation that would prohibit discrimination of the LGBT community in housing, employment, and public spaces. However, 90.5 WESA's Mary Wilson reports the Republican-dominated state House remains a major obstacle in the group’s way, .

State Rep. pushes to decriminalize out-of-state liquor purchases. Pennsylvania state Rep. John Taylor (R- Philadelphia) is introducing legislation that would tackle a part of Pennsylvania’s liquor laws he believes is unjust. The proposed bill would eliminate the illegality of purchasing alcohol in a bordering state and then bringing that purchase back into Pennsylvania. Although state tax laws would still apply, the bill would “make sure Pennsylvanians aren’t treated like Al Capone,” Andrew Straub of PA Independent reports.

Governor Corbett receives $3.5 million from RGA. Although the polls have not been kind to the Governor as of late, his Republican allies still believe he can win in November. To give a boost to his campaign, the Republican Governors Association announced a $3.5 million contribution to his campaign, reports Dave Davies of WHYY Newsworks.

Latest Harper poll has Corbett behind by only 11 points. As noted above, the gap between Democratic challenger Tom Wolf and incumbent Governor Tom Corbett in recent polling is large and Wolf looks primed for a November victory over the embattled Republican. But the latest poll released from Harper Polling, a GOP-sponsored firm, is an outlier showing Corbett down by only 11 points -- a 52% to 41% split with 7% undecided. Nick Field of PoliticsPA explores the results in detail.

Republican state Sen. Mike Folmer pushes for medical marijuana legalization. In a feature written by Pittsburgh City Paper’s Charlie Deitch, state Senator Mike Folmer (R- Lebanon) discusses his support for the use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania -- an issue, like taxing natural gas companies, that is slowly gaining bipartisan support. But with a conservative leaning PA state House, what does the future hold for medical marijuana legislation?

State Sen. Dinniman requests information on Ron Tomalis’s tenure as special advisor on higher education. Following up on previous requests to ascertain information on Ron Tomalis’s progress on the higher education commission, state Senator Andy Dinniman (D- Chester) has now filed three Right to Know requests with the state Department of Education. This is just another storyline in the ongoing saga over Tomalis’s controversial tenure as special advisor on higher education, writes Mary Niederberger of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

AP breaks down Wolf’s and Corbett’s top donors.

Tribune Review’s investigation of ‘inappropriate’ emails continues. In their latest article on the issue, the Tribune Review reports that Tom Corbett’s campaign manager, Mike Barley, said the Governor was made aware of the inappropriate emails after interviewing with special deputy Geoffrey Moulton. Moulton interviewed Corbett during the investigation into the Governor’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky while he was acting as state Attorney General. The discovery of the emails occurred during that same investigation.

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