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Politics & Government

This Week in PA Politics 10/13

State House set to convene on medical marijuana legislation. After the state Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill that would make medical marijuana legal in Pennsylvania, the House is now setting aside time to discuss the possible legislation, 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson reports. The meetings will help clear up for all House members exactly what the legislation would entail as well as what the long-term effects could be.

Mandatory Hepatitis C screenings legislation could head to Governor’s desk. In order to curb health care costs and protect those most at risk, the state Senate is on the cusp of passing a mandatory Hepatitis C screening bill, reports 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson. Hepatitis C, a deadly disease that often goes undiagnosed, affects a disproportionate amount of baby boomers.

Third gubernatorial debate focuses on campaign commercial content. Education spending and state pension reform have been hot-button topics throughout the gubernatorial campaign season. The third debate between Governor Tom Corbett and Democrat Tom Wolf put both these issues -- again -- front and center, reports 90.5 WESA’s Liz Reid. Wolf railed Corbett on his education policies, Corbett railed against Wolf on pension reform, and both said the other was mistaken when it came to the two issues. Hey, at least the audience questions broke the monotony.

Corbett proposes hike in lobbyist fee. Governor Tom Corbett is suggesting an increase to the fee that lobbyists have to pay to the Department of State, 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson reports. The proposed fee increase of $100 has a slew of dissenters, and some have called for a more nuanced approach to lobbying fee efforts.

Philadelphia School Reform Commission approves change to health care benefits for teachers; Philadelphia Federation of Teachers responds. In order to limit costs anywhere it can, the School Reform Commission approved cutting health care benefits for Philadelphia public school teachers, reports Watchdog.org’s Stacia Friedman. The decision received bipartisan support, but the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is not pleased and plans to fight the decision. The PFT is now calling for the SRC to come back to the bargaining table, reports the Notebook’s Bill Hangley Jr. This is just another episode in the ongoing saga to fix the under funding of Philadelphia public schools.

Reports show growing relationship between law enforcement and the natural-gas industry. Writing for Pittsburgh’s City Paper, Adam Federman reports on a growing network of information swapping going on between state law enforcement and the natural-gas industry and its contractors. Although the information thus far garnered and shared has not been substantial, anti-fracking activists worry about a concerted effort to marginalize their message.

Two former Corbett staffers resign due to racey email scandal. Rick Sheetz, the former executive deputy attorney general, and Chris Carusone, the former head of appeals, have resigned from their respective positions in light of their involvement in the pornographic email ring in the Attorney General’s office, reports the Tribune-Reviews Brad Bumsted. Neither former employee was working for the office at the time of their resignations.

State House races provide little uncertainty heading into November. With 203 seats up for grabs in November, a majority 105 of them feature races where candidates are running unopposed, reports the Tribune-Review’s Melissa Daniels. State House races have thus largely been decided before election night, Daniels writes.