LANCASTER – Lancaster County Reps. Ryan Aument and Mindy Fee, along with Berks County Rep. Mike Tobash, will host an informational town hall meeting focusing on Pennsylvania’s public pension crisis and the urgent need for reform on Monday, Sept. 29, at 6 p.m. The event, which is open to residents of the 41st and 37th districts, will take place in the Hoffer Auditorium at the Pleasant View Retirement Community, lat 544 Penryn Road, Manheim. Aument and Fee, who have been strong advocates for public pension reform, said they are hearing from many citizens with questions and concerns about the worsening state pension situation and proposed solutions. Tobash is the author of a leading pension reform plan actively under consideration in the House, which would enroll new state employees or public school employees in a combination of 401(k)-type and traditional pension plan. Benefits of current employees and retirees would not be affected under the Tobash “hybrid” plan.
HARRISBURG – A child protection bill was signed by the governor. Berks County Rep. David Maloney attended the ceremony for his House Bill 434. The bill, which is now Act 45 of 2014, mandates that school employees report suspected child abuse. Maloney authored the Act 45 revisions to state law in response to concerns he has had for years about the different legal standard between school employees and other professionals in the requirements to alert police to potential child abuse. He first became aware of the loophole in state law shortly after being elected to the Oley Valley School District Board of Directors in 2005. The new law closes the loophole by applying the same standards for reporting suspected child abuse to school employees as those that exist for other employees of other workplaces.
HARRISBURG – Legislation passed the state House Judiciary Committee that would require mandatory supervision of serious sex offenders after their sentence ends. House Bill 2465 requires a sentencing court to impose a mandatory three-year probation period consecutive to any sentence imposed by the court for a person convicted of a Tier III sex offense under Pennsylvania’s Adam Walsh Act. Tier III offenses are the most serious sex crimes that require lifetime registration of the offender. The purpose is to ensure that, following release, no serious sex offender “maxes out” his sentence and therefore is released without supervision. Bill sponsor, Dauphin County Rep. Ron Marsico said he authored the legislation to protect the public while these offenders are making the adjustment from incarceration to freedom. He added there have been too many incidences where a sex offender leaves prison and immediately commits the same or similar crime as the one he or she was convicted of previously. It’s a public safety issue, and he wants to do everything to prevent these heinous crimes from occurring.
SPRINGETTSBURY TOWNSHIP – Police in York County are searching for a suspect who robbed the PNC Bank at 2430 E. Market Street in Springettsbury Township yesterday afternoon. A white male about five nine with average build, wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans entered the bank around 3:55 p.m. and demanded cash. He fled with an undisclosed amount of money. No one was hurt. A picture of the suspect can be seen below. Anyone with information is asked to call Springettsbury Township Police at 717-757-3525.
HARRISBURG – Legislation that would eliminate school property taxes in Pennsylvania has passed the state Senate Finance Committee by a 6-5 vote. Schuylkill County Sen. David Argall, the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 76, the time to find a new way to fund schools is needed. The measure was authored through the combined efforts of more than 80 grassroots groups who are committed to the elimination of the property tax. The legislation would broaden the base of the state sales tax to include more services and products as well as increase the sales tax from 6 to 7%. The measure also increases the state’s personal income tax from 3.07 to 4.34% and allows an occupancy tax of 7% on hotel rooms in the state. The measure now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
HARRISBURG – The PA Senate Finance Committee has passed the Taxpayer Protection Act. Senate Bill 7 limits spending increases to the rate of inflation plus the state’s population growth and establishes a “Rainy Day Fund” that can be tapped to balance the budget during a recession. The limits could be exceeded with a two-thirds majority vote of both House and Senate.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania’s state treasurer says he’s loaning money to the state government’s main bank account after the balance hit a 10-year low. Treasurer Rob McCord said the $700 million transfer borrows from other state funds at a low interest rate. McCord and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, both Democrats, insist it is an alarming sign of the state’s deteriorating financial situation. Gov. Tom Corbett’s aides say the maneuver is a routine way to cover a short-term cash shortage and that Democrats are trying to use it as a political weapon against the Republican governor as he runs for re-election. PA House Speaker Mike Turzai called the press event by the treasurer and auditor general nothing more than political theater and an unnecessary waste of time. He said the truth is this agreement between the treasury and the administration is not uncommon. Ironically, the treasurer and auditor general did not see it important to have a similar press event when this same deal was made last year in a non-election year.
HARRISBURG – Teachers and other school employees in Pennsylvania could carry guns at work under a bill that’s before a state legislative committee. Indiana County Sen. Don White presented Senate Bill 1193 to the Senate Education Committee. He says the measure is an option worth considering in the aftermath of school shootings in other states. The bill would authorize school boards to permit teachers, administrators, and other staff members to arm themselves to protect students. They would have to be licensed to carry a concealed weapon and trained in the use of firearms. Some expressed concern to the committee that the bill would make guns in schools more common, raising serious risks of gun accidents.
HARRISBURG – A respiratory illness affecting thousands of children across the nation has Pennsylvania doctors, parents, and caregivers on alert. Experts say it’s important to know the symptoms and step up prevention of enterovirus D-68. Dr. Matt Davis with the Michigan Department of Community Health says many symptoms start out similar to a severe cold, but can take a much more serious turn. He says this strain is rare and can cause wheezing, difficulty breathing, fever, and a racing heart rate. He says this is not a vaccine preventable illness, but its spread can be prevented through good hygiene. People of all ages can be affected by enterovirus D68, but children, particularly those with asthma, are at higher risk for breathing problems. He says one third of the children hospitalized had no underlying health or breathing issues. The CDC says the virus has been reported in 12 states, including Pennsylvania.
PITTSBURGH (AP) – A Pennsylvania newspaper is asking a judge to prevent state agencies from deleting email five days after receiving it. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette filed a lawsuit Monday in Commonwealth Court asking that the correspondence be preserved for at least two years. Newspaper lawyers say the destruction violates the due process rights of anyone seeking public records under Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. The complaint noted acting Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq’s recent statement that she and other department employees “delete and cleanse” their email nightly. The complaint names as defendants the Governor’s Office of Administration and the state Department of Education.