Raise The Wage Day Held Across PA

HARRISBURG – Supporters of raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour staged a “Raise the Wage” day of action. Berks County Sen. Judy Schwank spoke at the Capitol Rotunda at one of a dozen rallies held statewide. Schwank said she supports Senate Bill 1300 that would incrementally increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016 and tie future increases to inflation. Similar events were held in nine other Pennsylvania communities: Reading, Allentown, Altoona, Erie, Media, Morrisville, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and York. Ten states and Washington D.C. have raised their minimum wage rates this year to something higher than Pennsylvania’s $7.25 an hour. To date, 23 states and D.C. pay their front-line workers more than the federal minimum.

SEN. JUDY SCHWANK

SEN. JUDY SCHWANK

 

Top Judge Warns Of More Fallout From Porn E-Mails

HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald Castille is warning of additional fallout if it’s true that judges were among those who exchanged pornographic material by email with members of the attorney general’s office. The Commonwealth’s top judge says exchanging such material with government lawyers who appeared before them could represent a conflict of interest, in addition to being an ethics violation. The state attorney general reports that at least three dozen current and former employees sent or received pornographic material in office emails from 2008 to 2012. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the emails circulated among some top jurists. If judges were involved, Castille has asked the attorney general for their names.

CHIEF JUSTICE RONALD CASTILLE

CHIEF JUSTICE RONALD CASTILLE

Fatal Lancaster County Crash

EPHRATA – A Lancaster County man died after a crash yesterday in Ephrata Township. Police say around 11:40 a.m., 55-year-old Kevin Gress of Denver was southbound in the passing lane on Route 222, north of the Route 322 exit, when his SUV went out control and hit the Route 322 exit sign. The vehicle then rolled onto its side, skidded across the exit ramp, and flipped several times before coming to rest on an embankment. Gress was extricated from the vehicle and taken to Lancaster General Hospital where he died. The investigation into the crash continues.

PA Game Commission Wants Cameras For Officers

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough today urged the state Senate to act quickly to pass legislation that would allow Wildlife Conservation Officers working for the Game Commission and Waterways Conservation Officers working for the state Fish and Boat Commission to wear body cameras in performance of their official duties. The state House overwhelmingly has supported House Bill 2178. Hough urged the Senate to follow suit. He also said the fall hunting seasons are almost here, and officers already have begun ramping up patrols to stop poaching activity and other illegal practices. Mobile video-recording devices have been shown to make the jobs of law-enforcement officers safer, and a timely vote by Senators to allow Wildlife Conservation Officers to wear the cameras now, as they enter their busiest time of year, would have an immediate impact with measurable results.

PA County Courts Adopt Case Management Plan

HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania’s chief Supreme Court justice says county courts are adopting civil case management processes to help them wrap up cases within two years. He blames certain court rules that made it difficult for inactive cases to be purged. In other cases, he says, counties didn’t have case management systems or they had a culture that allowed lawyers to dictate the pace of litigation. Now, he says, each county has a case management plan and president judges know that cases shouldn’t go beyond two years.

Two PA Turnpike Defendants Could See Charges Dropped

HARRISBURG (AP) – Two defendants in the Pennsylvania Turnpike corruption case could see the charges against them dropped if a judge allows them to enter a diversion program. Dauphin County Judge Richard Lewis has slated a Tuesday hearing to consider whether Dennis Miller and Jeffrey Suzenski should enter the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program. Lawyers for Miller, a former executive for a turnpike vendor, and Suzenski, a consultant to another vendor, say prosecutors are expected to recommend the move. The attorney general’s office declined to comment. Under the program, the charges would be dropped if they complete two years of probation without problems. Defendants awaiting trial in the alleged “pay-to-play” case include former state Sen. Robert Mellow, who’s in federal prison on an unrelated corruption conviction, and Joseph Brimmeier, the turnpike commission’s ex-CEO.

PA Chief Justice Seeks Porn E-Mail Exchanges

HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court chief justice is asking the state attorney general’s office for the names of any judges involved in email exchanges containing pornography. However, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Kathleen Kane said that the emails weren’t collected in a way that allows the office to readily identify those who might have been involved by job description. Kane’s office says hundreds of inter-office pornographic emails sent or received between 2008 and 2012 were discovered during its review of the Jerry Sandusky prosecution. Her office says the exchanges involved current and former employees of the attorney general’s office, including two current members of Gov. Tom Corbett’s cabinet. Chief Justice Ronald Castille’s spokesman, Jim Koval, says he doesn’t know why Castille believes judges were involved.

CHIEF JUSTICE RONALD CASTILLE

CHIEF JUSTICE RONALD CASTILLE

York County Heroin Task Force To Hold Meeting

HARRISBURG – The PA General Assembly passed legislation that will help in the fight against heroin after a report examined the growing numbers of heroin and opioid-related deaths across the state. Senate Bill 1164 will prevent an individual from being charged or prosecuted in the event they obtain help for someone experiencing a drug overdose. In addition, the bill would provide emergency responders with access to naloxone, a life-saving treatment that can be administered to someone in the midst of a heroin overdose. The legislation, along with Senate Bill 1180 calling for a prescription drug database, are priorities for the York County Heroin Task Force. Sen. Jack Wagner joined the recently formed task force and said Baltimore is the heroin capitol of the world. He says the I-83 corridor from Baltimore to York County is a source of the county’s problem. The York County Heroin Task Force will hold a meeting tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the York County School of Technology. Wagner said we need to see senate Bill 1180 gets to the Governor’s desk as well.

SEN. SCOTT WAGNER

SEN. SCOTT WAGNER

Bail Bondsman Privatization Bill Advances

HARRISBURG – Legislation to privatize and regulate the bail bondsman industry is gaining momentum in Harrisburg. Senate Bill 1441 provides for the licensure of bail bondsmen by the Insurance Department and is intended to provide better regulation while enhancing overall liability coverage. The measure is supported by PA Bail Agents Association. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Rich Alloway applauded the association’s support of the overhaul. He said the legislation will provide uniform rules to regulate the system, allow for more appropriate consequences for failure to appear, and streamline the bond forfeiture process. The state Senate Banking & Insurance Committee held a public hearing on the measure last week.

SEN. RICH ALLOWAY

  SEN. RICH ALLOWAY

 

Reward For Information On Lancaster County Homicide

LANCASTER – Lancaster City/County Crime Stoppers has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of two suspects in a fatal home invasion case in Clay Township, Lancaster County. 23-year-old Brett Simmons was killed after two masked men entered a home in the 500 block of Clearview Road late Thursday night. His father, 44-year-old James Simmons, was injured and is hospitalized in critical condition. Authorities believe the suspects are white or light-skinned males. One suspect is described as being a young adult male, between five nine and five eleven, with an average to medium build. The second suspect is described as being a young adult male, about five nine, average to medium build with blonde hair and dark eyes. Anyone with information is asked to contact Sgt. David Burdis of Northern Lancaster County Regional Police at (717) 733-0965 or Lancaster City/County Crime Stoppers at 1- 800- 322-1913, or you can anonymously Text a Tip to Crime Stoppers by using your cell phone. Text LANCS plus your message to 847411. Callers may remain anonymous and do not have to give their names.

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