MYERSTOWN (AP) – Fire ripped through a Lebanon County tool company overnight, gutting the family-owned business. Officials say the fire broke out at A&H Industries in Myerstown around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. Fire companies from Lebanon and Berks counties responded. Officials say it took several hours to get the blaze under control. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.
STATE COLLEGE (AP) – Pennsylvania prosecutors are appealing a judge’s order that they review a man’s claims he was molested as a 16-year-old by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. The attorney general’s office filed a notice of appeal Tuesday, challenging an Oct. 28 decision by a county judge that the statute of limitations hasn’t expired on filing criminal charges. The judge’s order requires prosecutors to re-evaluate the case to see whether the allegations meet a minimum standard for filing charges. An office spokesman says prosecutors are confident they’ve properly analyzed the time limits for filing charges. The accuser, a 43-year-old Massachusetts man, initiated a private criminal complaint last year. He claims Sandusky sexually assaulted him during a 1988 football camp at the university. Sandusky’s lawyer has said the allegations are baseless.
WILMINGTON, DE (AP) – Delaware’s Human Relations Commission voted to urge Gov. Jack Markell and state lawmakers to issue a formal apology for slavery. The News Journal of Wilmington reports the 24-member commission voted unanimously during a special meeting Tuesday. The commission is a state panel charged with promoting positive relationships among racial and ethnic groups. Commissioners plan to send a letter to Markell urging him to sign a proclamation on Dec. 6 to mark the 150th anniversary of the final ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery. Markell has said he would consider the request. Still, a proclamation doesn’t appear likely before the General Assembly returns to Dover in January, with Markell spokesman Jonathon Dworkin saying the governor wants to work with state lawmakers on the issue.
HARRISBURG (AP) – The Pennsylvania Senate is advancing legislation to authorize ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft to operate statewide, even as regulators consider a record $50 million fine against Uber for operating without approval. Senators approved the bill Tuesday, 48-2, and sent it to the House of Representatives. Uber and Lyft currently operate in some parts of Pennsylvania under a temporary license granted by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. The bill wouldn’t force the Philadelphia Parking Authority to license Uber and Lyft, even though both services operate there anyway. The bill would set safety standards and insurance requirements for companies and drivers.It also would require companies to perform background checks on all driver applicants, and bar drivers with convictions for crimes including sexual offenses, fraud, theft or driving under the influence.
DOYLESTOWN (AP) – Elected officials in a suburban Philadelphia county have turned the tables on state government, withholding all tax payments owed to Pennsylvania because state lawmakers and the governor have failed to reach agreement on a budget. Officials in Bucks County say they will withhold between $4 million and $5 million in monthly taxes and fees meant for the state.
HARRISBURG (AP) – The body that investigates misconduct allegations against Pennsylvania judges says it’ll soon decide whether charges are warranted against state Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin. The Judicial Conduct Board on Tuesday told Eakin’s lawyer it was denying his request to stop its investigation and send the case directly to the Court of Judicial Discipline. Board member James Schwartzman says the request by Eakin probably isn’t allowed under the rules. Schwartzman says the board is required to investigate so it can determine if charges are warranted and then make the case to the court. Eakin is being investigated for his role in an explicit email ring that also involved other judges and the state attorney general’s office. He’s publicly apologized for what he’s described as insensitive and out of character emails.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania’s Senate leaders now say plans are off for a vote to override Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of a short-term spending bill, and they’ve agreed to keep working on a five-months-late budget deal. The announcement followed a two-day whirlwind in which Wolf accused Republicans of backing out of a two-week-old deal, and Republicans floated a veto override threat after they say Wolf backed out of a reconstructed agreement. Spokeswomen say the Senate’s Republican and Democratic floor leaders met with Wolf and agreed to continue working to finalize an agreement. Votes are possible next week. To get by without state aid, school districts, counties and social services organizations have laid off employees, delayed services, let bills pile up or taken out loans. Only Pennsylvania and Illinois are operating without state budgets.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania’s Senate Republicans say they may pursue a vote to override Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of a short-term spending bill after budget negotiations hit yet another wall. Republican senators said the chamber was being called back into session this evening for a possible vote. A successful override will require the cooperation of at least three Democrats, assuming all 31 Republican senators support the override. The move came after Wolf said GOP majority leaders backed out of a sales tax increase they had proposed to seal the deal on a five-months-late budget. Republicans contend the sides couldn’t agree on which school districts should benefit the most from $1.4 billion in school property tax rebates. To get by without state aid, school districts, counties and social services organizations have laid off employees, delayed services, put off paying bills or taken out loans.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf says the ball is in the court of Republican lawmakers after GOP majority leaders backed out of a sales tax increase they had proposed to seal the deal on a five-months-late budget. The Democrat governor told a Pittsburgh radio station today that there are too many Republican lawmakers who want to “blow things up.” Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman says the sides could not agree on which school districts should benefit the most from $1.4 billion in school property tax rebates. They were to be financed by a state sales tax increase from 6% to 7.25%. Wolf insists Republicans told him Friday they did not have the votes to support the sales tax increase. Wolf says he had preferred taxes on income and natural gas drilling.
HARRISBURG – PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards urged drivers to take steps now for a safe Thanksgiving holiday travel period and winter season. She announced a new tool on www.511PA.com that allows users to see how traffic speeds on the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2013 and 2014 compare to average traffic conditions. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 770 traffic cameras. 511PA is also available through a smartphone app for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1 or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website. The “Historic Holiday Traffic” player is currently only available on desktop computers or tablets that support Flash.