High Profile Votes, Fights Preview Wolf’s Challenges

HARRISBURG (AP) – June is crunch time in the state Capitol and the challenges in front of Gov. Tom Wolf are becoming clearer in the Democrat’s first go-round with budget negotiations. In the last few days, his administration ruffled Republican feathers with a bare-fisted attack on the Senate Republicans’ public pension reform bill. Wolf also penned an open letter to business organizations that laid bare his frustration with their opposition to a natural gas production tax that Wolf is depending on to help increase public schools funding. In addition, philosophical divisions between the House and Senate Republican majorities could prove complicated. Those divisions became even clearer in recent days with several major votes that showed them to be lukewarm, at best, to the others priorities.

GOV. TOM WOLF

                GOV. TOM WOLF

Honoring Veterans License Plate For Motorcycles

HARRISBURG – The PA Senate approved a pair of bills that would create an “Honoring Our Veterans” license plate for motorcycles. Senate Bill 284 authorizes creation of the newest specialty plate. A similar plate for passenger vehicles was created through Act 194 of 2012, but did not include an option for motorcycle owners. A companion bill, Senate Bill 285, calls for $15 of the $35 license plate fee to be transferred to the Veterans Trust Fund, a state-run fund dedicated to helping needy veterans with food, utilities, mortgage or rent payments, health care, and other necessities of life. To date, $1.2 million has been raised for the fund from various sources. Both bills go to the House for consideration.

PennDOT Seeks Public Input On Transportation Priorities

HARRISBURG – PennDOT is asking for the public’s help to shape the state’s transportation future. The public is being asked to go to www.TalkPATransporation.com to provide their input on transportation priorities for the update of the Commonwealth’s Twelve Year Transportation Program before the survey closes on May 29th. Pennsylvanians can request a printed survey by calling 717-787-2913. To date, over 2,100 citizens have participated and identified almost 7,000 specific transportation needs across the state. According to the preliminary survey results, the top three priorities for transportation investment include preserving, replacing, and rebuilding aging bridges; reducing fatalities through safety and infrastructure improvements; and improving pavement quality and conditions.

PA Second Amendment Rally Spotlighted

HARRISBURG – Saturday afternoon’s Spotlight features some highlights from the 10th annual PA Second Amendment Action Day held on the state Capitol steps in Harrisburg. Numerous state lawmakers and pro gun groups rallied in support of the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. Some of the featured speakers include Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America; Rep. Rick Saccone from Allegheny & Washington Counties; and Kim Stolfer, President and Chairman of Firearms Owners Against Crime. Hear more from the 10th annual PA Second Amendment Action Day in Harrisburg on Saturday afternoon’s Spotlight at 12:30 on WDAC and at 2 p.m. on 1075Alive.fm. You can listen to the program online right now at wdac.com under our blog.

PA Unemployment Rate Unchanged

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was unchanged from March at 5.3%. The rate was one-tenth of a percentage point below the U.S. rate of 5.4%, which was down one-tenth of a percentage point in April. Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force increased by 19,000 to over 6.3 million in April. Total non-farm jobs were up 27,000 in April to a record high of over 5.8 million. Both the private and public sectors added jobs. Nine of the eleven super-sectors were up from March, with the largest increase in construction, up 10,000.

New Lancaster County EMS Station Groundbreaking

MANHEIM – A groundbreaking took place in Manheim, Lancaster County for a new EMS station. Northwest EMS kicked off a capital fund raising campaign with former Manheim Central head football coach Mike Williams as the capital campaign chairman. The new station will be built on West Colebrook Street on property formerly known as the Ammon K. Gibble American Legion Post 419. Currently, Northwest EMS operates from the old fire house at 26 East High Street. Operations are severely hampered by a lack of adequate space and the busy East High Street presents many challenges to ambulance drivers as they leave and return. Plans for the new station include bays for four vehicles and adequate space for crews, as well a first-floor meeting or training room that will be available to the community for meetings or other events. The campaign is seeking to raise $900,000 through five-year pledges from businesses, community institutions, and residents of its service area.

Arrest In Hanover Area Arson Fires

HANOVER – A Hanover, York County man was arrest for a series of arson fires. 20-year-old Derek Graham was arrested with the help of an alert citizen shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday. The citizen, 24- year-old David Dranbauer of Hanover spotted Graham acting suspiciously within an alley along the 400 block of Pleasant Street. Dranbauer confronted Graham who attempted to flee. Dranbauer held Graham at the scene after noticing smoke nearby. Officers arrived on the scene to find a car on fire that was parked under a carport attached to an occupied residence. Graham was arrested in connection to the fire and later confessed to starting other fires in the area. He was charged with criminal attempted homicide, reckless endangerment, arson, and related offenses. He is being held in York County Prison.