GLEN BURNIE, MD (AP) – A Republican candidate for Anne Arundel County Council says he won’t respond to calls to distance himself from a group called the League of the South. Michael Peroutka said at a news conference that the League is a “Christian, free-market group” that has been unfairly labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Law Center says the group supports secession of Southern states. Peroutka says his opponents are trying to smear him. Democratic candidates, including Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, have called on Republicans running for office to distance themselves from Peroutka’s candidacy because of his association with the league.
HERSHEY(AP) – The head of the Pennsylvania State Police says he hopes the U.S. Justice Department will withdraw a lawsuit that claims the agency’s physical fitness standards for recruits discriminates against women. Commissioner Frank Noonan spoke today, one day after the federal government filed the lawsuit describing what it calls a pattern of discrimination. The lawsuit says nearly all male recruits pass the initial physical fitness tests, while about 30 percent of women flunk it. The federal government says the tests aren’t job-related and aren’t “consistent with business necessity.” Noonan says the state police won’t “be bullied into changing and lowering our standards” and that it makes sense to have the same standards for women and men. The lawsuit asks a judge to order the department to hire women on an equal basis with men.
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Gov. Tom Corbett is in Pittsburgh today at a rally of coal industry supporters who oppose stricter EPA regulations for coal-fired power plants. Corbett told reporters before speaking to the crowd that a clean environment is important. But he said environmental regulations on coal-fired power plants have to strike a balance with the state’s energy needs. He added if the regulations lead to closure of too many power plants, there may not be enough electricity for residents of the state. The federal EPA is holding hearings Thursday and Friday on the proposed stricter regulations. Business and labor officials say the regulations will drive up electricity prices and cost jobs in the coal and energy industries. That resonates in Pennsylvania, the nation’s fourth-largest coal-producing state. Environmentalists say the rules will combat climate change and benefit the economy in the long run by producing jobs relating to more renewable, efficient energy sources.
HARRISBURG – Some area state lawmakers sent a letter to members of the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation to express their collective public safety concerns regarding the over 500 unaccompanied immigrant minors who are now being housed throughout Pennsylvania. Some are being housed in private homes and with religious organizations, while others are housed in two temporary centers – one in Bethlehem and one near Reading. Additional facilities may be brought online in the near future. The letter expressed concern that some of the minors could be affiliated with criminal gangs. The lawmakers also want the appropriate federal agencies to provide information to officials, law enforcement, and residents of communities in which the minors are housed, so that preparations can be made for any potential public safety threats. They also want the agencies to report back regarding processes and penalties that will apply to minors who leave the custody of their family, facility, shelter or home without permission as well as what steps will be taken to retrieve these individuals and to ensure that they do not escape again. Area lawmakers who signed the letter include Lancaster County Reps. Gordon Denlinger and Dave Hickernell, York County Reps. Ron Miller, Stan Saylor, and Will Tallman, Cumberland County Rep. Rob Kauffman, Berks County Reps. Jim Cox, Gary Day, and Jerry Knowles, and Adams County Rep. Dan Moul. You can read their letter by CLICKING HERE.
HARRISBURG – The PA House approved legislation authored by Rep. Dave Hickernell of Lancaster & Dauphin Counties which would require Responsible Alcohol Management Training for any seller or server of alcohol in the Commonwealth. Seven years ago, two young girls from Lancaster County coming home from a high school football game were killed when a 22-year-old female driver crashed into the car in which they were traveling. Subsequent investigation revealed that the 22-year-old had been served several drinks at a local establishment despite visible signs she had already had too much to drink. Pennsylvania’s Responsible Alcohol Management Training program has been proven to help licensees and their employees recognize and handle the signs of visible intoxication, and is currently required of owners and managers of liquor licensed establishments. In fact, many establishments already embrace the goal of Hickernell’s bill and require such training for all their workers as a condition of employment. House Bill 1769 is now pending consideration in the state Senate.
DOVER, DE (AP) – Delaware officials say competition from casinos in neighboring states continues to squeeze revenues at Delaware’s three casinos. Combined slot machine revenue for Delaware’s casinos was about $637 million in 2006, when the first Pennsylvania casino opened. It has declined every year since. Last year, Delaware slot machine revenue was $375 million and it is down nearly 10% for the first six months of 2014. Table games began in Delaware midway through 2010 and brought in $63.5 million in the first full year. But the number fell to $51.3 million last year and is down another 15.4% so far this year. Also, Delaware residents under age 18 soon will no longer be able to use tanning beds.Gov. Jack Markell signed into law a bill passed this year by the Delaware General Assembly. The law takes effect Jan. 1. Currently, those ages 14 to 18 can use tanning beds with parental permission.
NEW HOLLAND – Lancaster County authorities are investigating the death of a premature baby girl whose body was found in a trash bag in New Holland Sunday night. The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office is working with New Holland Police, who responded to a call involving a woman with an emotional issue Sunday night when they discovered the baby. An autopsy was conducted, but investigators are awaiting for test results. It is not known if the child was born alive or not. So far, no charges have yet been filed, but authorities do know the identity of the mother.
HARRISBURG (AP) – The Justice Department is suing Pennsylvania over physical fitness tests given to applicants for state trooper positions, saying the practice illegally discriminates against women. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Harrisburg, says the use of the tests to screen and select the applicants for the entry-level positions amounts to a pattern of employment discrimination. The lawsuit says much greater percentages of male applicants than female applicants passed the physical fitness tests going back to 2003. A state police spokeswoman says the agency has not seen the lawsuit and cannot comment on it. The Pennsylvania State Police has 4,677 sworn members.
HARRISBURG – Cumberland County Rep. Stephen Bloom has introduced legislation to force the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to notify the public whenever it spends taxpayer dollars on advertising that promotes increased alcohol consumption. Bloom said he finds it “especially troubling that the same governmental agency we entrust to enforce alcohol regulations and discourage abuse is simultaneously immersed in taxpayer-funded ad campaigns intended to promote more drinking.” The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently reported the PLCB spent about $5.8 million on advertising last year, up from about $4.7 million in 2011-12. House Bill 2426 would require all product advertising done by the PLCB to include the prominent statement: “THIS AD PAID FOR BY YOU, THE TAXPAYERS OF PA.” Bloom says this will create more awareness among Pennsylvanians about the ongoing spending of millions of tax dollars by the PLCB to fund its inherently conflicted marketing efforts. The bill, which has 12 co-sponsors, has been referred to a House committee for consideration.
LANCASTER – Several Lancaster County public school districts are offering students an elective that teaches the Bible to their children and shows them their unique value in Christ. It’s called Bible2School and Executive Director Kori Pennypacker says they’ve been around for over three decades. They have been involved with second, third, and fourth grades at Manheim Central and Manheim Township school districts as well as the School District of Lancaster. Section 1546 of the Pennsylvania School Code allows children with parental permission to be released from school for religious education. The law allows Bible 2 School to teach the Bible to public school children one hour weekly, during their school day. Volunteer Coordinator Alicia Binkley says they could use more volunteers to joyfully bring God’s Word to children who are hungering spiritually. If you would like to help or to find out more about Bible2School, you can call 717-615-2944 or go to www.Bible2School.com.