Corman speaks at Lewistown town hall

Sentinel Photo by MEREDITH PEACHEY
State Senator Jake Corman speaks at his annual town hall meeting Tuesday morning at the Lewistown Country Club. Approximately 30 Mifflin County residents attended to discuss topics of concern throughout the state.

LEWISTOWN — The potential to legalize recreational marijuana and the current voting machine mandate were among a variety of topics discussed at state Senator Jake Corman’s annual town hall meeting Tuesday morning at the Lewistown Country Club.

After talking about the current status of the state government, Corman fielded questions from approximately 30 Mifflin County residents, several of whom expressed concern about legalizing recreational marijuana.

“I haven’t changed my position,” Corman said, adding that he is opposed to the legalization because marijuana is considered a gateway drug. He also expressed concern that legalizing recreational marijuana would have a negative impact on the workforce, due to the need for drug testing in certain industries and the fact that marijuana stays in a person’s system for 30 days. He also noted the legalization would have little impact on the justice system, as those charged and prosecuted for marijuana use are not generally sentenced to incarceration for those charges.

“I can’t think of a positive,” Corman said. “I respectfully disagree with the lieutenant governor.”

Later, Mifflin County Commissioner Rob Postal expressed concerns about the voting machine mandate. Corman said Governor Tom Wolf’s executive order was unnecessary, as there was no evidence supporting that any Pennsylvania voting machines were hacked in the last election, thereby negating the need to decertify existing machines. Corman said the state government committee recently passed legislation that would not allow Wolf to decertify existing voting machines without legislative and public approval. Corman said the bill still needs to go the floor for approval, but he anticipates a veto from the governor.

Additionally, Corman summarized how the state government structure has changed since the 2008 recession and that the state is ahead in revenue today, in part because of how governmental departments were stripped down to avoid changes in taxes.

“We got rid of everything that was the ‘like-to-haves’ and only went down to the ‘must-haves’,” Corman said.

Corman also remarked on how relations between the legislature and the governor have evolved. Corman said Wolf has proposed a more modest, non-controversial budget this year.

“He’s changed his ways over the last few years,” Corman stated.

Other topics discussed on Tuesday included energy resources, the Restore Pennsylvania initiative, raising minimum wage, the gas tax, property and school taxes, road construction, Corman’s position on sanctuary cities, his concerns about assisting retired people who have no retirement and the government’s plan to promote economic growth throughout the state.