HARRISBURG (AP) – A bill to give groups like the NRA the legal standing to launch court challenges to local gun laws is on its way to Gov. Tom Corbett’s desk. The House voted by a comfortable margin Monday to approve the legislation to let membership organizations sue if any of its members is adversely affected by an illegal local gun ordinance. Opponents say its main targets are the dozens of local laws that require people to report to law enforcement whenever a gun is lost or stolen. The NRA supports the proposal. Another section of the bill requires the state police to send existing mental-health data to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System within 90 days so it can be used to check the background of people nationwide who are trying to acquire a firearm.
LANCASTER (AP) – A Lancaster County man who pleaded guilty in a drive-by shooting that killed a horse pulling a buggy with a family inside has been sentenced to one to two years behind bars. Last November, Timothy Diggs Jr. apologized for his behavior and attributed it to cough medicine abuse. LNP newspapers reports that the 21-year-old from Ronks pleaded guilty to cruelty to animals and reckless endangerment and also entered pleas in several unrelated cases.
STEVENS (AP) – Coroner has ruled the death of a Lancaster Co. man in a mobile home fire, a suicide. Fire crews were called to the East Cocalico Township mobile home park at about 8:15 p.m. Friday. An official with Reamstown Fire Company said flames were coming from all four sides of the home by the time crews arrived. Authorities said 66-year-old Natalio Delgado was found dead in the bedroom. Dr. Stephen Diamantoni told LNP newspapers following an autopsy Monday that he died of smoke inhalation and burns, and the “preponderance of evidence” led him to conclude that Delgado committed suicide. He declined to specify the evidence, referring questions to police. A firefighter injured in a flashover was treated and released.
STATE COLLEGE (AP) – Penn State’s board plans next week to discuss the Freeh Report, a document regarding the school’s response to the Jerry Sandusky scandal that has divided the university and its alumni since it was issued more than two years ago. The meeting in State College on Oct. 28 could lead to a vote on whether it should be accepted or rejected. The Freeh Report concluded that then-head coach Joe Paterno and other high-ranking university leaders concealed key facts about Sandusky’s abuse of children to avoid bad publicity.
PARADISE TOWNSHIP – A school bus accident this morning in Lancaster County has injured at least six people, four of them children. Authorities said the crash of a Pequea Valley School District bus carrying special needs students involved a dump truck. It happened just before 8:30 a.m. at the intersection of Route 741 and S. Vintage Road in Paradise Township after the truck rolled through a stop sign. The bus overturned on its side. Lancaster General Hospital spokeswoman Frieda Schmidt said four students and two adults were treated in the emergency room, but their injuries were not considered life-threatening. State Police are investigating the crash.
STEVENS (AP) – Authorities say a fire in a mobile home in Lancaster County that claimed the life of a man and slightly injured a firefighter is being investigated as a possible arson. Fire crews were called to an East Cocalico Township mobile home park at about 8:15 p.m. Friday. An official with Reamstown Fire Company said flames were coming from all four sides of the home by the time crews arrived. Officials said a man was found dead in the bedroom. They said the victim’s identity had not yet been established and an autopsy was planned to determine the cause of death. A firefighter, injured when the blaze flashed up as fire crews were trying to enter through a bedroom window, was treated at a hospital and then released.
HARRISBURG - PennDOT announced that a new partnership will help keep teen drivers safe and save Pennsylvania money in annual printing costs. The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program, developed by the Safe Roads Alliance, and sponsored by State Farm Insurance and Sheetz, provides parents with a printed handbook designed as a simple, easy-to-follow guide to help their teen become safe and responsible drivers. The program also provides a mobile app to help parents track their teen’s practice drive times and training progress. Booklets have been printed and distributed to driver license centers statewide and will be distributed to all teen drivers when a learner’s permit is issued. The booklet replaces an existing PennDOT publication. The new guide is underwritten by the sponsors, saving the Commonwealth $70,000 in annual printing costs. The announcement of the new program comes as Gov. Tom Corbett proclaimed Oct. 19-25 as Teen Driver Safety Week to coincide with the national observance.
HARRISBURG – Legislation that would make it a crime to willfully and maliciously kill dogs and cats for human consumption won approval in the state Senate last week and is scheduled to come back to the House for a concurrence vote today. The House gave the legislation its unanimous endorsement earlier in this legislative session. House Bill 1750 would close a loophole in the law that fails to protect domesticated animals from being slaughtered and eaten. It would prohibit the processing, sale, and serving for human consumption and impose strict penalties on those who violate the law. Violations would result in a misdemeanor carrying a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 and/or up to five years in prison. Subsequent violations would result in a felony of the third degree, carrying a fine of $2,500 to $15,000 and/or up to seven years in prison.
HARRISBURG – Legislation requiring tax collectors across Pennsylvania to complete an education program, and would mandate background checks for candidates for those offices, passed the state House. House Bill 1590 would require tax collectors to complete an education program through the Department of Community and Economic Development before being sworn into office. In addition, it would require all tax collectors to appoint a deputy in the event of a medical emergency. The bill also requires anyone who successfully petitions to appear on ballot to undergo a background check. This would prevent anyone who has been convicted of a financial crime from holding the office of tax collector. Since the bill previously passed in the Senate, it now goes to the governor for his signature.
GETTYSBURG (AP) – A Gettysburg museum featuring a model Confederate encampment and many Civil War artifacts is closing after more than half a century. Officials say the Soldiers National Museum will close its doors Nov. 2. An auction of museum materials will be held Nov. 21-22, days after the 151st anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. Matt Felty, president of Gettysburg Tours, Inc., which owns the museum and several other attractions, said visitors at Gettysburg are looking for more interactive displays than the museum provides. He said making it competitive with other attractions such as the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum Visitor Center would require an investment “well into six figures.” The collection includes Civil War artifacts, rare toy soldiers from various eras, a life-size nighttime Confederate encampment scene and several handmade dioramas.