HARRISBURG – State auditors will begin work Oct. 11 on a comprehensive performance audit of Manheim Township School District in Lancaster County. PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said his department received numerous complaints from residents regarding the financial and management operations of the district. The performance audit reviews areas that may include, but are not limited to administrator contract buyouts, school safety, hiring practices, and Sunshine Act and Ethics Act compliance. The audit will cover July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2016. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services was paying public assistance benefits to the accounts of dead people. State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said an audit shows from July 2013 to June 2014, DHS paid public assistance benefits to over 2,300 deceased holders of Electronic Benefits Transfer cards. The department changed its policy in August after receiving a draft of the audit. Caseworkers now take immediate action when notified of a death. DHS Secretary Ted Dallas contends the amount of improper payments made during the period is incorrect. The report says about $693,000 in erroneous payments were made; DHS says the amount was about $330,000.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania’s highest court will allow criminal defendants to sue counties over whether its public defender’s office is adequately funded to provide the constitutional right to an attorney. The ACLU called the ruling a victory, but not a final one. The state Supreme Court’s ruling overturned a lower appellate court decision. It means that criminal defendants now have an avenue to sue before their case is decided in an effort to force counties to adequately fund the public defender’s office. The case stemmed from a lawsuit filed in Luzerne County in 2012 alleging that funding and staffing were so low that defendants weren’t properly represented. The ACLU says Pennsylvania is the only state that leaves public defender funding entirely up to county governments.
HARRISBURG – Legislation that would provide early intervention services for infants and mothers when the mother is affected by post-partum depression received unanimous support from the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee. The state currently provides early intervention services to children with disabilities and developmental delays from birth to age five. Studies suggest that about 21,000 mothers a year in Pennsylvania are affected by post-partum depression. The condition can adversely affect a baby’s cognitive development, and carries an increased risk of abuse and neglect. Under Senate Bill 1269, mothers and infants referred by physicians would be included in the existing state program for services to at-risk children, including assessment, tracking, and assistive services.
HARRISBURG – Pet lovers rallied at the state Capitol in support of Libre’s Law, legislation to help prevent animal cruelty in Pennsylvania. Sen. Rich Alloway of Adams, Cumberland, & York Counties sponsored Senate Bill 1372 that would change the existing statute pertaining to animal cruelty to bring Pennsylvania in line with the majority of other states in the country by increasing penalties for certain crimes against animals. The bill was inspired by the story of Libre, a 4-month-old Boston terrier rescued in July from a Lancaster County farm after suffering from severe neglect. The case generated interest from animal advocates throughout the country. The Dillsburg Veterinary Center treated Libre for starvation, dehydration, and a variety of infections. He made a full recovery after several weeks of dedicated care, and has been adopted.
HARRISBURG – Three measures aimed to address Pennsylvania’s growing opioid addiction crisis were approved by the state Senate after Gov. Tom Wolf urged lawmakers for quick approval. Senate Bill 1367 would limit the amount of opioids that may be prescribed to minors. The bill includes exceptions for cases involving chronic pain, cancer treatment or for palliative care or hospice care. Senate Bill 1368 would implement the Safe Opioid Prescribing Curriculum in all of Pennsylvania’s medical schools. Additionally, Senate Bill 1212 would establish the School Aged Children Opioid Awareness Education Program. The bills are now before the House.
LANCASTER – A Lancaster County man is charged with reckless endangerment for leaving his loaded gun in his son’s book bag, which the boy took to Bear Creek School earlier this month. Police charged 28-year-old Jay Ellison of Elizabethtown with the misdemeanor count. Ellison told police he placed the handgun in the book bag for temporary storage, but forgot to remove it when he returned home. The 9-year-old boy took the book bag to school on Sept. 14. At least one student was shown the gun, which was loaded with a full magazine, while it was in the book bag. Police do not believe the gun was removed from the bag or there were any threats to use the gun. There is no indication Ellison had any criminal intent, whatsoever.
YORK/MANHEIM – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, will be making campaign stops in our region. Pence will visit Penn Waste in York this afternoon at 2:30. Trump will make a stop in Lancaster County on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Spooky Nook Sports, 75 Champ Blvd., Manheim.
You can register to attend Mike Pence’s visit by CLICKING HERE.
CLICK HERE to register to attend Donald Trump’s visit.
LANCASTER – PA Pastors Network is preparing for the “Vote Your Values Bus Tour” across the Commonwealth from October 3-5 with some of the nation’s top leaders on American and biblical values. Heading up the travel team are Network President Sam Rohrer; Bishop E. W. Jackson, founder of the S.T.A.N.D. (Staying True to America’s National Destiny) ministry, and Vision America Action President, Dr. Rick Scarborough. Pennsylvania is a key state in the upcoming election, and the tour will make six stops to meet with pastors and assistant pastors, along with their wives, as voters prepare to head to the polls on Nov. 8th. The tour stops include Greensburg, Altoona, Williamsport, Scranton, Lancaster, and Wayne. The Lancaster tour stop will be an October 5th breakfast at the Eden Resort & Suites from 8-10 a.m. The events, with meals included, are free for pastors and their wives to attend, but registration is required in advance. Registration can be made at www.papastors.net.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Legislation tightening rules on borrowing by Pennsylvania’s municipalities was approved by the state Senate in an effort to avoid a repeat of its capital city’s near-bankruptcy. Three bills passed unanimously and were sent to the House. The bills stemmed from 2012 hearings following the state government’s takeover of the city of Harrisburg. The takeover lasted over two years and was combined with hundreds of millions of dollars in deals designed to rescue Harrisburg’s finances from a sea of debt. The bills’ provisions include limiting a municipality’s guarantee of borrowing by one of its authorities, broadening state oversight over municipal borrowing, and requiring bonds to be secured.
HARRISBURG (AP) – The PA Supreme Court struck down the tax that casinos pay their host communities, potentially devastating local budgets around the state. The high court ruled that the effect of a “local share assessment” is unconstitutional because it treats the state’s 12 casinos unequally. A state Senate spokeswoman says the move could have “far-reaching” effects. The court is staying its decision for four months to give lawmakers time to come up with a solution. The PA Gaming Control Board says some $140 million was paid in the last fiscal year to counties and municipalities, including the $10 million host fee paid by some casinos.