Health Care - May 25, 2012

Corbett’s Chief of Staff moving on
On Thursday, Governor Corbett’s office announced that his Chief of Staff, Bill Ward, would be leaving his post on this coming Tuesday for a new position. Corbett will nominate Ward for a vacancy on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. Stephen Aichele will replace Ward; Aichele is currently the Governor’s general counsel.

Corbett has said that for as long as he has known Bill Ward, he has wanted to be a judge and Corbett is happy to help him fulfill a lifelong dream. Ward has been with the Governor’s office since Corbett took office in January 2011. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Ward’s exit comes just before the Governor is set to meet with senior state Republicans over what some “believe is a growing image problem.” It has been reported that this group will be pushing for a shake up in Corbett’s staff, noting that they also feel the strained relationship with the Republicans in the legislature isn’t helping matters. It remains to be seen if any further changes to Corbett’s staff will be made following next week’s meeting.

Pennsylvania may lease prison and state-owned university land to drillers
Senator Don White’s proposed legislation that would expand drilling on state-owned lands is moving slowly through the legislature. That land could include land surrounding state prisons and portions of the campuses of state-owned universities that sit onto top of oil, gas and coal beds. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that under the measure, campuses that lease land would be able “to keep 40 percent of royalty payments received from gas drilling.” The rest would be allocated among the other state-owned universities and would assist in keeping tuition low while offering educational prospects for students.

Bill to reduce House size moves
The House State Government committee met this week to consider a piece of legislation that would reduce the size of the House of Representatives. Rep. Rob Kauffman’s bill, HB 876, was approved by the committee. Rep. Kauffman noted that his bill “would institute a gradual reduction that would better ensure a high level of constituent service during the transition” to fewer Representatives. In order to reduce the size of the legislature, a proposed change must be passed in two consecutive sessions and then approved by a referendum vote by the citizens of the Commonwealth. Rep. Kauffman’s bill would reduce the current House from 203 members to an eventual 153 members. The decrease of ten members every ten years would begin in the year 2023 and continue through 2063.


Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.  The Winter Group will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday and will reopen at 8:30 AM on Tuesday, May 29.