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Supreme Court rules Pennsylvania’s gerrymandered maps unconstitutional

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania struck down the Republican-drawn congressional maps as unconstitutional and ordered that they be redrawn to fairly represent

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania struck down the Republican-drawn congressional maps as unconstitutional and ordered that they be redrawn to fairly represent Pennsylvanians.

Now the state legislature has until February 9th to draw a replacement map, and Governor Wolf has until February 15th to review that map and decide if it’s fair.

Read Governor Wolf’s op-ed on Daily Kos to hear more about his thoughts on redistricting →

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Ready to Provide Relief for Patients

Thanks to families that told their stories and advocated for long-awaited medical relief, Governor Wolf signed off on a bipartisan bill to legalize medical marijuana

Thanks to families that told their stories and advocated for long-awaited medical relief, Governor Wolf signed off on a bipartisan bill to legalize medical marijuana legalization on April 17, 2016.

Today this bipartisan legislative achievement is becoming a reality. A Bethlehem medical marijuana dispensary is the first in the state to earn final approval to begin serving patients. Lehigh Valley Live reports:

“Gov. Tom Wolf said Thursday that Keystone Canna Remedies will be able to sell medical marijuana to Pennsylvanians with medical marijuana identification cards once grower/processors begin distribution, sometime in the next four months.”

In announcing the approval of the dispensary, Governor Wolf remarked on how the opening of these dispensaries will benefit patients and improve their quality of life. “This is tremendous news for patients and the people who care for them,” he said. “We are one step closer to providing medical marijuana to patients with serious medical conditions who desperately need this medication.”

The success of the Medical Marijuana Program thus far demonstrates that what began as a bipartisan legislative achievement has won support from the medical community and general public for the relief and improved quality of life it will have for patients who so badly need it. Despite assaults from Washington on state’s rights to legalize marijuana, Governor Wolf remains steadfast in his commitment to protecting this access to health care for Pennsylvanians and standing up to the Trump administration.

Why Pennsylvania Needs a Severance Tax

Pennsylvania is the only natural gas producing state that does not impose a severance tax on oil and gas. As it stands, Pennsylvania gas is

Pennsylvania is the only natural gas producing state that does not impose a severance tax on oil and gas. As it stands, Pennsylvania gas is being used by citizens in other states tax free while Pennsylvanians have to pay taxes on gas from other states.

Beginning with his campaign for governor in 2014, Governor Wolf has repeatedly called for the legislature to pass this common sense tax that has been adopted in states such as Texas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. As The Morning Call describes:

“Every year since being in office, Wolf has proposed a severance tax on natural gas drillers who already pay an impact fee on wells.”

Republican opposition in Harrisburg is rooted in politics, not in the best interest of the state. Earlier this year, the Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that legislators have received over $60 million dollars from natural gas lobbyists.

Harrisburg Republicans have repeatedly thwarted the governor’s attempts of imposing a shale tax because they want to score political points. But Governor Wolf will not allow them to play games with the economic wellbeing of Pennsylvanians. This tax is common sense and would benefit Pennsylvanians while taxing big oil. In fact, the Independent Fiscal Office has said that 80% of the revenue raised by a severance tax would be paid by customers outside of Pennsylvania.

Unlike the Republicans, Governor Wolf would rather see Pennsylvania succeed than his opponents fail. A severance tax is the most reliable, common-sense means for balancing the state’s budget and putting more money into education. The Governor is devoted to continuing his fight for passing a severance tax.

Governor Wolf Puts More Money in the Pockets of Hardworking Pennsylvanians

Governor Wolf believes in a simple rule: you should be paid fairly for hard work. For far too long, workers in Pennsylvania have not been

Governor Wolf believes in a simple rule: you should be paid fairly for hard work.

For far too long, workers in Pennsylvania have not been getting paid fairly for working overtime. The state’s overtime pay rules haven’t been changed in 40 years. Governor Wolf changed that yesterday. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:

“Gov. Tom Wolf announced his administration will roll out new labor rules that will increase overtime pay for about 460,000 workers in Pennsylvania who currently make too much to qualify for the time-and-a-half pay for extra hours worked.”

Because the state’s overtime rules did not adjust with inflation, a salaried worker whose earnings were below the poverty line still might not have been eligible for overtime pay. This meant that employees could be working upwards of 50 and 60 hours a week without earning time-and-a-half. Governor Wolf recognizes that the people of Pennsylvania deserve to get paid fairly in exchange for their hard work, but these outdated laws made that impossible.

So the governor took matters into his own hands and announced yesterday at The Fresh Grocer of Grays Ferry in Philadelphia alongside legislators, local elected officials, store management, staff, and local workers that he will raise the salary level which determines overtime eligibility.

Over four years, 460,000 people will see a wage increase. The threshold will also continue to update automatically every three years to ensure that it is constantly adjusting to inflation and not leaving any workers behind.

In addition to directly improving the lives of Pennsylvania’s workers, the changes are also expected to generate more competitive salaries and reduce turnover, thus keeping more high quality, high paying jobs in the state.

Governor Wolf understands the tangible impact updating overtime pay rules will have on Pennsylvanian families.

“It’s simple, if you work overtime, then you should get paid fairly for it. This important step will put more money into the pockets of hardworking people and will help expand the middle class in Pennsylvania.”