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One-on-one with Gov. Tom Corbett, part two

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Gov. Tom Corbett (R) sat down with FOX43 earlier this week for a wide-ranging interview, including taking viewer questions submitted on our Facebook page about issues such as medical marijuana and same-sex marriage.

To see the first part of our interview with the governor, click here.

The push for medical marijuana has gained traction at the Capitol. Sen. Mike Folmer (R-48), who is a cancer survivor, has co-sponsored a bill along with Sen. Daylin Leach (D-17) to legalize it in Pennsylvania. The pair held a hearing on the issue last month. The bill has not been scheduled for a vote by the full Senate.

Carlos Morales asked, “When is medical weed going to come to PA?”

Corbett responded, “The agency to legalize it, or to approve it, is the (Food) and Drug Administration. Any action by state legislatures without that approval, to me would be illegal…until the federal government approves it, it’s not really legal for the states to do it.”

Several viewers also asked about Corbett’s position on taxing drilling companies.

Corbett pointed to the impact fee, which he says by April will have generated $600 million in less than three years, and the state’ corporate net income tax, which some other drilling states don’t have.

Supporters of a severance tax on drillers point out it would generate more money for the state than the impact fee. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Pennsylvania remains the largest natural gas-producing state without a severance tax.”

Several of the Democratic candidates for governor have made the severance tax a part of their platforms.

Some viewers shared frustration with Corbett’s support to lift the cap on the oil company franchise tax, which could impact gas prices at the pump, to fund road projects but not the severance tax.

Chris Heist Haffner asked, “Why did you raise the gas tax for your people in PA but won’t tax the companies for extracting natural gas?”

Corbett said, “The industry already pays taxes. The people who work in the industry already pay taxes…But, here’s the question, do we want to tax them to the point that they’re going to reduce their activity for a while, or do we want to have them continue their activity and continue to grow?”

Another topic popular among viewers was same-sex marriage.

Last week, the state filed a legal brief defending the ban on gay marriage. It was in response to a lawsuit brought by 28 couples who obtained marriage licenses last year from a court clerk in Montgomery County.

“We have a responsibility. As attorney general I had it. As governor I have it, to defend the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It’s that simple. We are continuing to do that. We are defending the laws,” said Corbett.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last summer in the DOMA case, judges have ruled against same-sex marriage bans, including this week in Texas and Kentucky.

Andrea Leed asked, “When will Pennsylvania get on the right side of history and recognize same-sex marriage?”

Corbett said he supports proposals in PA to ban discrimination against gay people, but that does not change his position on marriage.

“I do believe when it comes to housing and when it comes to accommodations you shouldn’t be treated differently. But, on the issue of marriage, we’re going to have to have the court decide that,” Corbett said.

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