This week Governor Tom Wolf announced he has treatable prostate cancer. Through a statement from his office he said that the cancer was detected early and there is a treatment plan in place. Treatment is slated to begin in a few weeks and the Governor says it will have no impact on his abilities to perform his duties as governor. He will take some time to be with family and encouraged all Pennsylvanians to get regular checkups.
Budget hearings with the Appropriations committees got under way this week. The Senate kicked off Monday by meeting with Budget Secretary Randy Albright. Albright was undoubtedly in the hot seat and was grilled by committee members. While the focus is supposed to be on the 2016-17 budget, questions and comments all around focused on the lack of the 2015-16 budget and frustration with the Wolf administration. Things were definitely off to a rocky start. Sen. Pat Vance noted that the current budget impasse is “embarrassing” and “difficult to explain”. Though, Vance also said she is surprised at the lack of outrage from constituents. Budget hearings continue through the next two weeks with the Senate having a slightly shorter budget hearing schedule than normal.
House Majority Leader, Dave Reed, R-Indiana, is planning on bringing the medical marijuana bill up for a vote next month. The House returns to session on March 14 and SB 3 has been put on the calendar. There are a large number of amendments to sift through and it’s likely the bill will ultimately see some changes. It will then have to go back to the Senate should it pass the House. Sen. Leach’s office noted that they do not have any intel on which amendments will be voted on or passed but are hopeful that the Majority Leader will stick to his word and bring the bill up for consideration. SB 3 passed the Senate last May by a vote of 40-7 and Governor Wolf has said he is supportive of the measure.