Health Care - June 1, 2012

Candidates preparing for special election to fill Sen. Orie's seat

Recenlty, Lt. Governor Jim Cawley announced that special election would be held to fill Senator Jane Orie's Pittsburgh-area seat after she resigned in May.  The election will be held on August 7, 2012 in order to give residents from that area representation in the Senate.  Unlike Rep. Bill DeWeese's term, which is set to end this year, Orie's term expires in 2014.  If left unfilled those constituents would be unrepresented until the 2014 election.

The Pittsburgh Tribune reports that over the next few weeks, both the Republican and Democratic parties will choose candidates to run for the seat.  Both parties have noted that those interested in being considered for nomination will have to give a brief presentation and answer questions from party officials.  The Tribune also reports that while at least seven Republicans are interested in the seat, only one Democrat has openly expressed interest.  Ross Commissioner Dan DeMarco, lost to Orie in the 2010 election.


Bill protecting sevice animals moves through PA Legislature

A bill that would protect service dogs has passed the Senate and has been sent to the House for consideration.  The bill, House Bill 165, permits the authorities to charge an owner if their "animal attacks a service animal and they had knowledge fo the animal's agression, or if the animal had a history of attack."  The Governor's office has indicated that they are supportive of the bill.

Prime sponosor, Rep. John Evans, notes that Pennsylvania lacks in protection for service dogs; other states have made it a felony charge.  Opposers to the bill feel the bill goes too far, noting it would be difficult to prove that the owner had knowledge that the animal had a history of attacks.  The bill would impose a $15,000 fine for owners and any fees associated with the care of the service animal.