Dan Frankel

Essential Pittsburgh: Pennsylvania's Push for Medical Marijuana

Jun 2, 2015
Mark / flickr

Legislation legalizing the use of cannabis extracts to address certain medical conditions has passed the state Senate by an overwhelming margin and is now being considered in the House of Representatives. Last year a similar measure passed the Senate but died in the House. Allegheny County representative Dan Frankel joins us to discuss where the legislation stands this year.  Also taking part in the conversation is  Vice President of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, Dr. Charles Cutler.

 In response to skeptics who claim not enough studies have been done to disprove negative health conditions, Representative Frankel cites the amount of studies done on an international level:

"We believe that there is great efficacy towards using medical marijuana to mitigate some of these conditions and relieve pain, and that that decision ought to be left between a doctor and a patient, as it has, in some form, in 23 states who have legalized it to some level." -Rep. Dan Frankel 

Dr. Cutler counters with the United States' lack of double-blind studies performed in order to ascertain medical marijuana's safety, claiming that the country's major medical institutions stand in favor of more research:

"We've seen over the years, a number of products that were quite helpful in terms of treating illnesses, but had such serious side effects that they were taken off the market... If the FDA, in their wisdom, would be willing to re-schedule marijuana to a category where research could be done...I think we could get the answer." -Dr. Charles Cutler 

Also, Theo Collins describes a new documentary highlighting the tragedy of veteran suicide, WESA Celebrates wooden streets with contributor Margaret J. Krauss and Rebecca Harris focuses in on the community of Crawford-Roberts.

Monday marks the end of summer’s legislative recess – but with elections in less than two months, can much be accomplished?

State Representative Dan Frankel (D – Allegheny) is not optimistic, saying he finds it “doubtful” they will be successful with getting any significant bill passed.

“I don’t think you’ll see any legislation that is ‘big idea’ legislation,” he said. “I think you’ll see mostly legislation that is not controversial – I’m hoping most of it won’t be controversial.”

The legislative calendar only shows 12 voting days remaining this session.

Passage is looking unlikely this year for a bill to prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pennsylvanians.

The measure would outlaw firing someone from his or her job, evicting someone from his or her home, or not seating people at a restaurant on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Gov. Tom Corbett supports it, as do a bipartisan group of state lawmakers.

Healthcare advocates, along with State Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny), unveiled an online ticker today, which tracks the amount of money they claim Pennsylvania is losing by rejecting Medicaid expansion.

As of today, the state has missed out on more than $640 million since the start of 2014, according to the ticker.

“It’s hard to turn your back against this when it addresses so many important issues facing the state at this time,” Frankel said.

A week before the Pennsylvania House Health Committee holds a hearing on legislation to force all not-for-profit health care insurers and care providers to open their services to all insurance holders, not just their own, UPMC launched a campaign to defeat the measures.

Mailers were sent to at least three legislative districts in western Pennsylvania and robocalls were received across the state asking recipients to urge their lawmakers to reject the legislation.

Confusion continues to swirl around the coming split of Highmark and UPMC, and a pair of western Pennsylvania state representatives is hoping to calm the fears of many in the region.

Reps. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) and Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) this week introduced a pair of bills (HB 1621 and HB 1622) that would force all not-for-profit health care insurers and health care providers to open their services to all insurance holders, not just their own.

Ending LGBT Discrimination in Pennsylvania

Aug 21, 2013
Michael Lokner / Flickr


Although protections exist in Pittsburgh and in Allegheny County, there is currently no comprehensive protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression throughout Pennsylvania. Democratic State Representative Dan Frankel aims to provide that protection to LGBT individuals at the state level. Frankel has authored a bipartisan bill with a record number of cosponsors to amend Pennsylvania’s Human Relations Act.

According to Frankel, there needs to be a uniform statute to provide protections across the commonwealth.

“It’s the last vestige of legalized discrimination that Pennsylvania still embraces,” says Frankel.

Under a new state bill, any Pennsylvania company contracted by the state that’s also investing in Iranian energy would be forced to make a choice.

Rep. Dan Frankel’s (D-Allegheny) legislation, which passed the state House Tuesday, would bar any company that invests more than $20 million in Iran’s energy sector from entering into a state contract worth more than $1 million through the Department of General Services (DGS).

Closing Pennsylvania's Gun Loophole

Apr 11, 2013
Don Shall / Flickr

As talks about gun legislation continue in the U.S. Senate, groups have descended on the state capitol in Harrisburg urging legislators to close a loophole in Pennsylvania's gun laws. State Reps. Steve Santarsiero and Dan Frankel join us to talk about balancing Second Amendment rights with public safety.