HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is giving its final approval to a measure to expand casino-style gambling to the internet and airports. The measure passed 114-85. It is part of a larger House plan to help balance a nearly $31.6 billion budget proposal that was awaiting a vote Tuesday in the chamber. Pennsylvania’s fiscal-year deadline is Friday. The bill’s prospects are unclear in the Senate and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s support isn’t guaranteed. Republicans say the gambling expansion would raise $270 million in license fees and taxes to help balance a deficit-plagued state budget. However, Democrats say a more realistic figure is $200 million. It also would regulate daily fantasy sports betting.
DOVER, DE (AP) – After months of warning that money is tight and even threatening funding cuts, members of the legislature’s budget committee have approved almost $46 million in grants to nonprofit groups, community agencies and volunteer fire companies. The proposed grant-in-aid budget approved Tuesday is $2 million higher than the current level of funding and Gov. Jack Markell’s recommendation. The grants package is one of three budget bills that must be approved by lawmakers each year.
LITITZ – Work is underway to determine a disaster response to those impacted by devastating flooding in West Virginia. A Mennonite Disaster Service investigation team is there assessing needs after the June 24 floods. The team arrived on Sunday in White Sulphur Springs. Flash floods from heavy rains swept through a five county area in eastern and southeastern West Virginia. Twenty five people were reportedly killed in the flooding. In addition to the investigation team, a group of ten Early Response Team volunteers from the MDS Virginia Shenandoah Valley Unit are doing muck out work in the area. Lodging has been a challenge as communities are without water and could be so for up to two weeks. MDS is seeking donations to help in the relief effort to West Virginia. You can make a monetary contribution to the West Virginia relief effort by CLICKING THIS LINK.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf says he’s concerned about budget legislation developing in the House, but says there’s still time to fix its flaws. Wolf said he hasn’t agreed to the House’s plan, and hopes the Senate will fix it, should it pass the House. A nearly $31.6 billion spending plan is nearing a vote in the Republican-controlled House. It would increase overall spending by 5% and K-12 public school spending by $200 million or 3%. Wolf had sought $250 million for schools. The House plan includes a package of tax increases on tobacco products, but Wolf says it doesn’t carry enough revenue to balance a deficit.
HARRISBURG (AP) – A legislative subcommittee investigating the possible impeachment of PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane is authorizing its chairman to issue subpoenas. The House Subcommittee on Courts voted today to give Montgomery County Rep. Todd Stephens the ability to demand documents and testimony. The vote also starts a process of seeking secret grand jury records and protecting possible witnesses against retaliation. Kane, a Democrat, is not seeking a second term in the November election. She’s been without a law license since October and awaits trial on criminal allegations she leaked grand jury information and lied about it under oath. A message seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned.
NEW HOLLAND – Charges were filed against a Lancaster County man in a church burglary. 27-year-old Travis Miller of New Holland was identified as the suspect in the June 13 burglary of Petra Church. Miller entered the church and then forced entry into numerous offices, where he stole cash. Damage to the church was estimated to be over $5,000. Miller was charged with burglary, theft, and institutional vandalism. The investigation is ongoing by New Holland Police in other church burglaries.
MILLERSVILLE – Police have charged two men with the May 24 robbery a Lancaster County bank. 26-year-old Dennison Wink of Brownstown and 26-year-old Christopher Benjamin, Jr of Millersville face robbery and conspiracy charges. Police say Wink drove Benjamin to the Santander Bank at 519 Leaman Avenue in Millersville where he stole cash and knocked down a bank teller. Both are being held in Lancaster County Prison.
WEST EARL TOWNSHIP – Authorities released a picture of the robber of a Turkey Hill at 14 N. State Street in West Earl Township, Lancaster County around 1:15 a.m. Monday. No weapon was seen. The robber got an undetermined amount of cash and fled on foot. The suspect’s picture can be seen below. The male suspect is approximately 6 feet tall with a medium build, wearing a hooded sweat shirt, a face covering, and dark colored jeans. Anyone with information is asked to contact West Earl Township Police at 859-1411.
HARRISBURG – Concerned citizens and families held a Defend My Privacy rally at the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg. Senate Bills 1307, 1316, 974 and House Bill 1510 – known as the Bathroom Bills – would force businesses, schools, and ministries to permit men to use women’s facilities. The bills are before the state Senate and House with support from Gov. Wolf and some lawmakers. A large crowd from all over the state filled the Rotunda to show opposition to the proposals. Current Pennsylvania law requires all elementary, secondary, and special education schools to have separate restrooms for boys and girls. But all that changes if the bills become law, making all public facilities accessible to anyone regardless of biological sex. It would also apply to religious entities that are open to the public, like Sunday morning church services, bathrooms in religious schools, Christian camps, daycare centers, and women’s shelters. For more information, go to www.DefendMyPrivacy.org.
HARRISBURG (AP) – A key legislative committee supported a $31.6 billion state budget proposal with a vote that leaves open the possibility of a full deal before the state’s new fiscal year begins on Friday. The House Appropriations Committee voted 36 to 1 late Monday for a plan assembled by the GOP majority. The proposal increases K-12 education spending by $200 million or about 3%, and provide money to address the state’s opioid drug crisis. The full House is expected to consider the budget proposal today. Wolf’s spokesman hopes all sides can reach an agreement that includes budget balance with sustainable revenue.