Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Impact of civil forfeiture ruling/How is PA affected by AHCA

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | May 29, 2017 7:46 PM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, May 30, 2017:

In 2009, 65-year-old Elizabeth Young's Philadelphia home was seized under Pennsylvania's civil asset forfeiture law.  Young's son Donald had been arrested for selling marijuana at the home.  Donald Young acknowledged that his mother had no idea he was selling pot out of her home and Elizabeth Young was not charged with a crime.

Just last week, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ruled that the Philadelphia District Attorney's office went too far in confiscating the Young property. The decision will have an impact across the state

District Attorneys commonly use civil asset forfeiture to fight drug distribution and retain the money generated from a property that is sold.

On Tuesday's Smart Talk, we'll investigate what the court decision means with Republican State Senator Mike Folmer of Lebanon County, who has advocated for forfeiture reform, and Lebanon County District Attorney David Arnold, representing the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association.

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Pennsylvania State Senator Mike Folmer (R-48th) / Lebanon County District Attorney David Arnold

Also, President Trump's proposed budget and terms of the Republican-supported American Health Care Act have left many low-income Pennsylvanians worried about health care insurance.

Under the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, some 700,000 got their insurance through Medicaid.  That was on top of the 2.3 million who already used Medicaid.  Under proposed AHCA, the state's share of paying for Medicaid would increase 382%.

WITF's Transforming Health reporter Ben Allen joins us on Smart Talk to provide details.


Ben Allen - Reporter, Transforming Health


- Civil asset forfeiture is supposed to hurt the drug dealers and protect citizens from the predatory dealers. We are right in the middle of a heroin epidemic and the DA is making little old ladies homeless. My question is: How the hell does the DA sleep at night?                - Thomas

- Two points:

1. Wasn't civil asset forfeiture created to provide resources ($$) for defunded police services, thus creating incentive for property-snagging?

2. Why not acquire civil assets for child endangerment, abuse, domestic violence? Isn't it pro-social to "de-incentivise" these criminals by bringing them out of the shadows of their physical residences? The current costs for drug-dealing seem effective/popular (let's not mention the ongoing horrific opioid epidemic, right Ben Allen?) So let's up the game, if you have to abuse in public, well doesn't that change the chance of frequency?                    - Melanie

- My question is regarding the seizure of assets in regard to the 4th amendment. Doesn't this bill still violate the 4th?                     - Dave, Lancaster

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