Weekly Update: Providing Access to Medical Marijuana, Submitting Fair Congressional Maps, and Strengthening Lobbying Laws

Congressional Maps

After Republican legislative leaders submitted their proposed congressional map last Friday, Governor Wolf announced on Tuesday that he would reject this proposal.

“Partisan gerrymandering weakens citizen power, promotes gridlock and stifles meaningful reform,” Governor Wolf said. “As non-partisan analysts have already said, their map maintains a similar partisan advantage by employing many of the same unconstitutional tactics present in their 2011 map.

“The analysis by my team shows that, like the 2011 map, the map submitted to my office by Republican leaders is still a gerrymander. Their map clearly seeks to benefit one political party, which is the essence of why the court found the current map to be unconstitutional.”

Before the deadline at midnight on Thursday, Governor Wolf submitted a map to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. According to analysis by Tufts University Moon Duchin, the governor’s map exhibited no partisan skew in comparison to a billion randomly generated maps.

“From the outset, I have made clear I wanted a map that was fair and removed the partisanship that Pennsylvanians have been forced to live under since the 2012 elections,” Governor Wolf said. “This map takes features from Republican and Democratic submissions, while still meeting the court’s orders and opinion, to provide Pennsylvanians with a fair map. ​

“While my preference would have been for the General Assembly to send me a fair map, I believe this map sets forth a new standard of fairness.”

View the full contents of the governor’s proposal here.

Medical Marijuana

On Tuesday, Governor Wolf announced that medical marijuana would become available on February 15 for patients at approved dispensaries across the commonwealth. To date, 10 dispensaries and 10 grower/processors have been approved to operate, 17,000 patients have registered to participate, over 700 physicians have registered to become certified practitioners, and almost 400 of those physicians have completed training.

The Medical Marijuana Program was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on April 17, 2016. On Thursday, the governor offered his thanks as Pennsylvania’s first medical marijuana patients received their medication.
“We reached this historic day through a lot of hard work by many dedicated people at the Pennsylvania Department of Health and its Office of Medical Marijuana, and through the support of advocacy groups, the General assembly, and especially Pennsylvanians – the parents, doctors, and patients – whose tireless efforts helped make today a reality,” said Governor Wolf.

“My thanks to staff and supporters, and to the more than 700 physicians who have either completed or are in the process of completing the necessary steps to certify patients. The nearly 3,000 patients with medical marijuana ID cards (with more than 17,000 registered to participate in the program) are now able to find some relief from their serious medical conditions and, for that, I am most grateful.”

Government Reform

On Wednesday, Governor Wolf signed House Bill 1175 into law, now Act 2 of 2018, which underlined his commitment to change the culture of Harrisburg by making government more efficient and transparent.

The new law strengthens lobbying reporting rules, including:

  • Requiring lobbyists, lobbying firms, or principals to file lobbying disclosure reports electronically to quicken Department of State processing and provide more time for compliance efforts. Approximately 20 percent of lobbying disclosure reports are filed by paper;
  • Increasing the daily maximum penalty for not filing a report by the quarterly deadline from $50 per day to: $50 per day for the first 10 late days; $100 per day from late day 11 to 20; and $200 per late day after 20 days; and
  • Doubling the maximum penalty for not filing a lobbying disclosure reports by the quarterly deadline from $2,000 to $4,000;
  • Requiring the Department of State to post all lobbying disclosure reports online within seven days of receiving the filing. The department typically posts electronically filed reports within minutes of submission.

Governor Wolf’s Week, February 11 – February 17, 2018

Monday, 2/12/18
Tuesday, 2/13/18
Wednesday, 2/14/18
Thursday, 2/15/18
Friday, 2/16/18

Highlights from The Blog

Highlights from Twitter

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