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Politics & Government

This Week in PA Politics 12/1

Pennsylvania land banks in need of extra funds. Nearly two years since the beginning of state-mandated land banking in Pennsylvania, the seven established banks are suffering from a lack of proper funding, 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson reports. Looking towards well-funded land banking efforts in Ohio and New York, Wilson suggests the possibility of using tax dollars as well as money made from large bank settlements to fund the seven ventures currently operating.

Healthy PA or Medicaid? Corbett grapples with low-income health care options. Governor-elect Tom Wolf has made it clear that he plans to expand Medicaid once he takes office in January, formally shelving lame duck Tom Corbett’s Healthy PA alternative plan. However, with enrollment for Healthy PA beginning today and Wolf not taking office until January 20th, Corbett has to decide whether to continue implementing his alternative plan or to “defer to the new guy's preferences,” 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson reports. WHYY’s Taunya English reports that Wolf has named health-policy veteran Estelle Richman to his transition team as his Medicaid expansion guide. It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out in the upcoming weeks.

Assisted suicide debate begins in Harrisburg. “Death with dignity” advocates are pushing for legislation that would make Pennsylvania the sixth state to legalize physician-aided suicide, 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson report. The debate has recently received national attention and certain state legislatures, including Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery), are hoping to bring the issue to the attention of the state House and Senate. Pennsylvania’s large Catholic population and the Church’s obstinacy towards physician-aided suicide may stand in the way of possible progress, Wilson reports.

Representative Meehan assigned to Ways and Means Committee. U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan (R, Delaware) of Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district has been assigned to the Ways and Means Committee, a panel that deals with U.S. trade and tax policy, reports WHYY’s Dave Davies. Davies describes Meehan’s new appointment as an “influential committee assignment,” giving Meehan much more “clout” in the House of Representatives. Democrat Allyson Schwartz and Republican Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania were former members of the committee.

Former House Speaker Deweese asks for new trial. Two years after he was released from prison for charges of theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest, former state House Speaker Bill DeWeese is asking for a new trial, Penn Live’s Matt Miller reports. Deweese, a Democrat from Greene County, allegedly used paid staffers to help boost his campaign efforts from 2001 to 2006. He claims that his trial was rigged and that 17 defense witnesses were not able to speak to his innocence.