District 37 candidates debate the issues

District 37 candidates debate the issues

After a season marked by contentious ads and sparring for District 37 senate seat Pam Iovino and Raja met at Robert Morris University to debate the issues. After an hour of audience-led questions on guns, abortion, and health, although the debate was civil, it’s clear the two candidates both believe they’re the best person to replace the recently resigned Guy Reschenthaler.
Thursday, March 21, 2019/Author: Atiya Irvin-Mitchell
Categories: Pittsburgh
Tags: Elections
Lawmakers, Ag Department look to prime Pennsylvania for hemp success

Lawmakers, Ag Department look to prime Pennsylvania for hemp success

As the state Department of Agriculture awaits federal approval for its plan to regulate the cultivation and sale of hemp products, both state agencies and lawmakers are searching for ways to support the burgeoning industry at a time where legal and regulatory landmines remain.

Hemp is increasingly touted as a potential economic boon for the state, especially when many farmers are feeling the pinch. A provision in last year’s federal Farm Bill separates hemp from marijuana and placedit within the regulatory purview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The change paves the way for farmers to cultivate hemp, as well as any interstate commerce surrounding the plant.
Thursday, March 21, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
Council passes resolution to reconsider “soda tax”

Council passes resolution to reconsider “soda tax”

Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution Thursday calling for a re-examination of the city’s tax on sweetened beverages.

Councilmember Maria Quinones Sanchez (D-District 7) introduced the resolution last week, suggesting a new study to determine if the tax is being properly enforced and potentially lowering the 1.5 cent per ounce levy. It has raised tens of millions for education and park improvements, but critics note it disproportionately impacts lower-income residents and small business owners who sell these products in neighborhood stores.

Thursday, March 21, 2019/Author: Marco Cerino
Categories: Philadelphia
Tags: Soda Tax
Auditor general paints grim financial picture of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

Auditor general paints grim financial picture of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released results Thursday of his recent audit into the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC), painting a harrowing picture of the agency’s financial state and the uphill battle the commission faces in sustaining the turnpike while also keeping it affordable for travelers.
 
DePasquale pointed to financial barriers the commission is facing — including $11.8 billion worth of debt and annual payments to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) of $450 million for non-turnpike projects — as catalysts for the commission’s dismal financial picture and rising toll costs.
Thursday, March 21, 2019/Author: Justin Sweitzer
Categories: News and Views
Solutions for addiction treatment discussed in House hearings

Solutions for addiction treatment discussed in House hearings

5,465 Pennsylvanians died in 2017 from overdoses. Two bills introduced into the House look to cut that number by making it easier and quicker for patients seeking addiction treatment to get matched with help.

Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) has proposed two measures this session to combat the waiting time some face in accessing treatment. One offers to fund statewide “warm hand-offs” that facilitate people treated for overdoses at a hospital directly transferring to a bed in a treatment center. The other creates a registry for detoxification and addiction treatment.
Thursday, March 21, 2019/Author: Marco Cerino
Categories: Philadelphia
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