News & Brews August 23, 2022

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Court rules Wolf admin can’t hide medical marijuana info

Spotlight PA reports, “For more than a year, the Department of Health has fought to keep … secret” information on “how many medical marijuana patients have received approval from a doctor to use cannabis for opioid addiction treatment.” On Friday, a Commonwealth Court rejected the administration’s arguments for secrecy and ruled the Department of Health must release the information. That said, “It’s not clear whether the Department of Health will provide the data. The department could petition the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and ask for permission to appeal.”

Counties raise alarm over DOS proposal to combine voter registration & mail-in ballot request

Counties are pushing back over a proposal by the Pa. Department of State to combine onto a single form voter registration and a request for a mail-in ballot, Broad + Liberty reports. “According to the letters [from counties], combining the two elements into a single form would create confusion for the voter and election workers, and would almost certainly lead to lawsuits from various political campaigns.” Of particular note, registering to vote and requesting a mail-in ballot have different deadlines, so if the combined form is received after one deadline but before another, it’s unclear what counties would be expected to do. Read the story here.

Pa. Senator wants Fetterman to release info on health crisis

Pa. Senate State Government Committee Chair Dave Argall is pressing Lt. Gov. and Democrat U.S. Senate nominee John Fetterman to release information on the timing of when he shared his health crisis with Gov. Wolf as well as how he shared the information. The request comes as a follow-up to Argall’s similar request last month. PennLive reports that several attempts to contact Fetterman’s office were not successful.

Lawmaker says freezing legislators’ pay ‘is right thing to do’

Speaking to the Pennsylvania Press Club yesterday, House State Government Committee Chair Seth Grove (York County) said his committee had previously unanimously passed legislation that would temporarily suspend the automatic pay raise tied to inflation that lawmakers and some other public officials receive. Grove said, “I thought it was the right thing and still think it was the right [thing] to do at the time.” The topic arose at the press club event after recent reports that lawmakers are set to receive huge pay raises due to historic inflation. The legislation awaits consideration by the full House.

Is TV more to blame than social media for political polarization?

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, and Microsoft Research looked into the impact of TV news consumption on political polarization. They concluded that while much focus has gone toward social media as a driver of polarization, cable news has a bigger impact than social media. Read more about their conclusions.

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