Health - March 4, 2011

AG Reports on Tobacco Settlement Dollars

As reported by Pennsylvania Legislative Services, yesterday Pennsylvania Attorney General Wagner unveiled highlights of a special report showing the need for public input prior to spending or changing spending for tobacco settlement dollars. He says $1.34 billion was “quietly redirected”, specifically:

• $432.4 million to the General Fund for unspecified purposes
• $795.3 million to fund Medicaid long-term care for seniors and persons with disabilities
• $121 million to the General Fund for a required PSERS contribution

AG Wagner also gave his recommendations for Governor Corbett and the General Assembly:

• Use the incoming tobacco settlement dollars to bridge the gap in adultBasic until other sources of funding are found. He said those other sources of funding should be both public and private, and should be publicly explored.

• Immediately hold public hearings throughout PA to discuss the use of the incoming tobacco settlement dollars for the long-term.

PA Unemployment Rate Down

With the beginning of a new month comes new unemployment numbers.

The unemployment rate for Pennsylvania fell in January to 8.2 percent, down from 8.5 percent in December

Orie Case Halted With Mistrial

Yesterday, Judge Jeffrey A. Manning called a mistrial after finding that the defense of State Senator Jane Orie (R-Allegheny) presented forged evidence. The Judge found that two signatures of Senator Orie's staff members were forged on documents presented as evidence. It is likely that there will be a retrial on the accusations that Senator Orie ordered her staff to do campaign work on the state's dime.