HARRISBURG (AP) – PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane says she hasn’t decided whether to prosecute anyone in a scandal over the email exchange of pornography by state government employees. Kane’s spokeswoman, Renee Martin, now says she misspoke when she said Wednesday that Kane had decided not to prosecute. Martin says Kane can’t elaborate on the scandal because of a court order in a separate case. Kane’s office is being investigated over whether it breached grand jury secrecy.
WASHINGTON, DC – Local lawmakers reacted to President Obama’s executive order on immigration policy. Area Congressman Joe Pitts said, “The President said repeatedly in the last few years that he was not a ‘king.’ However, tonight he took action outside the laws Congress set to govern immigration policy. This isn’t just going around Congress, it’s going around the American people, who just spoke in the 2014 elections. This isn’t a long-term solution and it puts up a substantial barrier to getting such an agreement during the President’s remaining years in office.”
Area Congressman Scott Perry said, “I do not support amnesty, which is blatantly unfair to the millions of individuals and families who waited – often for many years – to come here legally. I’ll continue to work towards a new legal immigration system that establishes verifiable enforcement measures that ensure visitors leave our country when they’re supposed to; provides our agricultural industries with the workers they need; requires immigrants to understand and speak basic English; and revises visa programs to attract and keep more entrepreneurs, investors and highly skilled workers in science, technology, engineering and math fields.”
Area Congressman Patrick Meehan said, “Our immigration system is broken-but by ignoring the laws on the books, the President is not moving toward solution. He’s compounding the problem. The Constitution’s separation of powers is clear. Congress passes the laws, and it’s the President’s job to execute them faithfully. No President, Republican or Democrat, can ignore Congress simply because they disagree with it. Today’s order is a total about-face from the President’s own views on the limits on his power.”
PA U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey said, “I strongly oppose the President’s latest overreach of his legal authority and his decision to dictate sweeping immigration policy changes without legislation. Regrettably, President Obama’s unilateral and legally unauthorized actions will do nothing to fix our broken system.”
ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – The Maryland Department of the Environment says it plans to deny a water-quality permit renewal application for the Conowingo hydroelectric dam on the Susquehanna River. The agency says owner Exelon Corp. hasn’t fully supported its contention that the dam’s reduced ability to trap sediment is harming the Chesapeake Bay, about 10 miles downstream. The agency will hold a hearing Jan. 7 before making a decision. Exelon said today it is working to address the agency’s concerns. During the recent election, Republican Gov.-elect Larry Hogan largely blamed the dam for bay pollution. He belittled state and federal efforts to reduce pollution by controlling runoff. The Army Corps of Engineers concluded last week that dredging the river upstream could cost billions of dollars and have relatively little effect on the bay.
HARRISBURG – The Department of Health joined almost 200 health care professionals at the Pennsylvania Primary Care Transformation Meeting in Harrisburg to share the lessons learned over the past eight years from the Chronic Care Initiative and recognize Patient-Centered Medical Home Day. Secretary of Health Michael Wolf says that Pennsylvania is a leader in the field of helping people who suffer from chronic health conditions. The gathering was kicked off by Secretary Wolf, who read a proclamation from Governor Tom Corbett declaring Nov. 20, 2014 as Patient-Centered Medical Home Day in Pennsylvania. The Chronic Care Initiative is a plan that helps implement policies that assist Pennsylvania residents who have long-term health needs. The initiative was created eight years ago to advance Pennsylvania’s informational, technological and reimbursement operations in the field of health care. For more information on the services and resources supported by the Department of Health, please visit www.health.state.pa.us.
WASHINGTON, DC (AP) – PA U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is criticizing President Barack Obama’s proposed climate change rules, urging revisions to a plan that he says imposes unfair costs and burdens on the state. In a letter sent to the Environmental Protection Agency, he makes clear he supports broad goals of combating global warming and agrees an EPA plan is necessary. But Casey says the carbon emissions target is unreasonably high and could lead to higher electricity prices. Republican U.S. Sen Pat Toomey, has already expressed strong opposition to the proposal. Under the EPA plan, Pennsylvania is required to reduce emissions from power plants by roughly 32 percent by 2030. The EPA is now hearing public comment, with a final plan expected by next June.
HARRISBURG – When lawmakers return to Harrisburg in January they will immediately be faced with a substantial hole in the state budget. Not only is PA’s Independent Fiscal Office projecting a budget deficit approaching $2 billion, but they are also predicting that over the next five years expenditures will grow at a faster rate than incoming revenues. Lehigh County Sen. Pat Browne, the new Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, knows that tough negotiations with the new governor will need to take place. He said they will work with the incoming Wolf Administration and insure that the budget is performance based. Browne added that now more than ever, Pennsylvania must remain fiscally conservative.
HARRISBURG (AP) – The PA Fish and Boat Commission is hoping more anglers will take the bait and buy a fishing license if it’s discounted by $1. The cost of an adult license will drop from $22.70 to $21.70 for the 2015 season. The commission is promoting the discount with the slogan “Catch the Value.” Commission CEO John Arway says the state loses between 8 to 10% of anglers every time the cost of a license goes up. So, the commission is trying to reverse that trend by offering the discount. Arway says, “We’ve got to change our business model for the good of the sport” and asks: “When, in your lifetime, has the government reduced the price of anything?”
LANDISVILLE – Lancaster County’s Hempfield High School suspended its diving coach following his arrest on child pornography charges. The district said 42-year-old Patrick Fatta would remain sidelined pending the outcome of the case. Police found child pornography images and videos on his computer, but did not believe any students were involved. Fatta was placed on house arrest with electronic monitoring following an arraignment. He coached at Hempfield for about four years. The school was sharing him with Manheim Township High School this season. Administrators say he passed background checks before being hired. The schools are inviting divers and parents to discuss the matter at a meeting today at 6 p.m. in the Large Group Instruction (LGI) Room at Hempfield High School.
LANCASTER – Shoebox collection for Operation Christmas Child runs now through next Monday. The outreach from Samaritan’s Purse has shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, non-liquid hygiene items, and accessories to be distributed to children around the world. Kat Prickett, Media Relations Coordinator for our region, tells us they hope to receive 40,000 shoeboxes from the Lancaster, York, and Lebanon region. Operation Christmas Child has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to over 113 million children in more than 100 countries and hope to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 10 million children. Shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, non-liquid hygiene items, and accessories can be dropped off at any of the 19 locations around our region. You can see the area drop off locations by CLICKING HERE. For more information about what goes into a shoebox, go to www.samaritanspurse.org or call 1-800-353-5949.
LANCASTER – The Lancaster Salvation Army held their annual Kettle Kickoff at Penn Square yesterday. Capt. Timothy Sheehan says over 30 kettles will be placed across Lancaster County to receive contributions from folks to make Christmas a joyous time for area needy families. He said they are getting more requests for help from families this year. Over the years, the Secret Saint has surprised the Army with placing valuable gold coins in their kettles. The Army can also use volunteers willing to ring the bells at their kettles around the county. Individuals and groups who want to ring the bell for the Lancaster Salvation Army can call them to schedule a day, time, and location at 717-397-7565.